The thing about writing is that you can’t compare your journey to publication with anyones. And it sucks because you see people who are successful and doing what they love, and you seem stalled somewhere around second base. Maybe still on first.
I have talented friends who have good books but for whatever reason, they aren’t getting anywhere with it. I have friends that have written 15 manuscripts before ever getting an agent. It doesn’t mean that those other MS’s weren’t good or weren’t valuable, they just weren’t right for the time. Timing has a lot to do with everything in life, I’m learning.
I was not ready to be a writer at 23. It didn’t matter that I wrote stories anytime I had a free second. It didn’t matter that I would spend what little extra money I had on books, pens, and notebooks. I wanted to be an actor and that’s what I was going to do. I’m not sure I was ready to be a writer at 33 either. You have to be in the right place and time.
Because my former life was that of an actor I feel like I was a little more prepared for going through the querying process. I’d been pounding the literal pavement trying to get roles on stage for years. I’d been rejected, to my face, more times than I could count. I’d watched as directors stared at where my leg used to be for the entire time I was auditioning, completely forgetting that I was actually performing something. At least when I was querying I could read the pass Email and then move it into a folder so I never had to see it again. I also knew that I wasn’t being rejected simply because I had one leg.
And like every audition that didn’t get me cast in a role, it gave me time to work on my audition piece. To refine it, make the moments better, make the piece more enjoyable. And with each rejection I received I was able to refine my query and my MS. I was able to think about what was important and what did I need to let go of. And even after I did sign with my agent I had a ton MORE work to do. And when it gets published someday (I’m putting it out there, it will happen), I will have even MORE work. I think all of us that are neophytes to writing would agree that the publishing industry is a lot harder than we thought it would be. But, we’re not giving up. When you’re a writer, it’s in your blood. It’s in your bones and you just don’t feel complete until you get those stories out.
Writing is hard. Every time I try to tell myself that I’ve gotten it figured out or that I know what I’m doing, I’ll open my WIP and just stare at it and wonder who in the hell wrote that. It’s a journey, a long meandering one that you might find yourself needing to rest a while, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Try to enjoy the journey, the hard days included.