Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My Missing Virtue

I am a lot of things, but something I am NOT is patient. I want everything yesterday. That's probably why I always feel like I'm in a hurry, even when I'm not. Life is so short to be waiting. 

Unfortunately, life is also made of many situations that require waiting. Right now the area of my life that has me waiting is hearing back from my agent about what editors think about my novel. She has been sending it out in batches to editors with an interest in something with which my work can align. Some are into diverse characters and authors. Others are into stories with strong female protagonists. There are editors who prefer sports stories, and those that like a gritty story with an urban edge. She made a list and started with those who had the most in common with my work. That was round one and so on.

While I love my work, it's not for everyone. It is going to require a special editor who loves it and sees its marketability. That takes time, and that is where this process drives me crazy. 

I trust my agent and her contacts in the publishing world. She's been there a long time, and from what I hear from others, she is highly respected in the field. She was an editor for many years, and she knows how they operate. Editors know that she has polished the work she sends them and that her clients' work doesn't require months and months of revising and editing, which makes their job easier. What is not easy, is waiting for their replies. 

Every few months my agent sends me an update on where she's sent my manuscript, what the response has been, and what her next steps are in relation to their feedback. Most of the feedback has been positive with many stating that they like my voice and style, but are not fans of the violence, or of the sport. Some have passed for reasons that have nothing to do with my writing, like they have all the titles their house can take on for now. While these replies aren't ideal, they aren't devastating. But, they do mean that I have to wait for the next step in the process. That's where I have to remember this:
Patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.
Those are not my words, they are from an article, but they capture the place I am on my road to publication. My agent tells me to keep writing and I am. So far I am about 23,000 words into a new novel, which is about the point when I start to stress over whether or not my novel is going anywhere, and answering that question certainly keeps me busy. 

However, that doesn't negate the fact that I suck at being patient. While I continue to work hard and dream about publication, I can't help but wonder why editors aren't liking what I poured my soul into for over 2 years. There are parts of me in that novel that the editors are not interested in, and it's difficult not to take that personally. Aside from all of life's regular hassles, I battle to keep positive and remind myself that their lack of interest is not a reflection of my talent, nor does it mean that I am not a writer. This mentality isn't easy to keep up, especially when I'm stumped on other work and wonder why I even bother when no one wants to read it anyway. That's a crappy attitude to have, and I battle it all the time, even as I am excited about the new story and characters. 

In the end, this process is like everything else in life - a lesson. If I'm smart I'll learn some more about patience that will apply to all other facets of my days. 

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