It has come to my attention that writing is like dating. In so many ways. This came to me on a week that was particularly hard. I was riding high on 4 requests of a partial and one agent that always asks for a partial, so having 5 agents look at my first three chapters is pretty damn exciting. And encouraging. Last week, I walked around with an air of "hey, look at me. I am a writer and I am so good, 5 agents want me. Take that J.K. Rowling." Then the inevitable happened. One of the agents I queried was an agent that I really believed would LOVE my manuscript. She was perfect. And immediately she responded by asking for the first three chapters. Perfect, I thought, this will lead to a full then an offer of rep and I will be on my way! Except that it didn't quite happen like that. Instead, she gave me a really nice rejection letter. And this led me to the realization that I was having a relationship whether I knew it or not.
It's like I am dating all over again, looking for the right person to just "get me". Obviously, she wasn't right. But I suddenly found myself going through emotional roller coasters asking myself the same questions over and over.
What did I do wrong?
Why wasn't it good enough?
How can I change to meet her needs? I can do it, I'll be different, just give me another chance!
Maybe if I beg.
Maybe if I send enough really nice notes, she'll see how great I am and want me back.
Maybe she'll change her mind and realize she was wrong!
It's like my college years all over again. But this time around, I am going through it in a different way. I am bucking up and moving on. I hurt for a day, then get over it. So, I have to pick myself up, dust myself off and go out there again. Make myself available and vulnerable.
When people say writing makes you have a tougher skin, this is what they are talking about. I realize all the dating foibles I made, and I am realizing how to get rejected less painfully.
I realized through this, that like my MC (who she was concerned was too negative) I am a little negative in my humor and outlook. But then I realized it is not just me. Most of my best friends are a bit on the cynical side. We are teachers after all. We see the real world day in and day out. We see dramas unfold by the minute, and we could tell you heartbreaking stories that would fill the pages of many books. Our humor can be dark and snarky, but hey, that's us. One of my beta readers called it pragmatic. Yeah, I like that.
For example, the old me would have cried and eaten a pint of chocolate Haagen Daaz. This time around, I had a glass of wine, read about more agents and decided maybe this one just wasn't for me. Although we shared a love for fairy tales, David Sedaris, and my character Aidan, perhaps we just didn't connect. I couldn't help but ask myself "what did I do wrong? If I would have done something different, would she still reject me?"
This is why most of my friends in high school were either like minded or boys. I wasn't a girly girl. I wear converse and flip flops (not at the same time) and I prefer jeans and a tank to anything else. I don't paint my nails (although I do like my toenails painted, but that is more just because toenails are friggin ugly). I play guitar and dont wear a ton of make-up. I am not a cheerleader. I am not the prom queen. I can drink tequila without gagging and I love the feel of snakes on my arms. I am pretty cool. And fun. I would hang out with me. In fact, I do. Every day.
So what is with the diatribe? Well, just like my MC, I have to find that agent that is like minded. A girly girl agent all love struck and puppies probably isn't going to see things the same way. Although, puppies are cute. I will have to find the one that is raw and isn't afraid of an F bomb or two. Someone gritty, who has had some shitty things happen to her. Because like me and my MC, they have to understand that life isn't pink tiaras and fuzzy boas.
In my world, there is room for cynicism. But there is always room for hope. So, part of me thinks "bah, I will not ever get published. My life just isn't that cool". But...I will keep trying. Searching for the "one"...Mrs. or Mr. Right. Because ultimately, I believe that this was what I was supposed to do with my life. This is where everything in my life has led me. And I have faith, I will get published.