Monday, August 24, 2009

The Longest Journey

The path to author-dom has proven to be a long and winding one. Although this does not come as a surprise, even the most cursory look into the world of publishing reveals long deadlines and grueling response times. Still, as a hopeful newcomer, no amount of preparation seems to be enough to fully grasp the intensity of these waiting periods.

Queries go out, rejections come in. I have received a few myself. However, today one glimmer of hope appeared. An agent requesting a partial manuscript. In the back of my mind, I know that this will quite possibly amount to another rejection. Yet, I also realize that this is the farthest I have traveled on the author road at this point. It is nearly invigorating. I have peaked someone's curiosity. Even if it only adds to my list of rejections, it means I have inched forward.

I am no expert...yet. However, I have found keeping busy helps pass the time, just be careful to not over do it. They say as soon as you begin querying for one novel, you should start writing the next. Otherwise, the waiting and agonizing could prove fatal to your perseverance, and later, your writing career. I believe this to be true, but I also want to issue a word of warning. Make sure you are setting aside enough time to follow up and continue sending queries every so often, or your project may stagnate.

For a while now, I have been building up my freelance writing career. I currently handle a number of projects for a variety of clients. These pay, and I am very happy to have the work. The problem is, my long term goal is to become a published novelist. For a few weeks now, I allowed my paying jobs to eclipse my dream. This is a mistake I do not plan to repeat. Sure, the time passed by quickly. I have felt rather overwhelmed by the amount of work. Focus is important, though, and for a little while I lost mine. Today, I adjusted my sight so that my focus is back on track.

Perhaps the request for a partial was fate giving me a little hint. I started querying again, and within an hour I had a response that I had not received before. Even if it ends in a polite "no", I have found my motivation, which I had no idea I lost until today.

Hopefully, I will come to follow this road over and over again in the future. At that point, it may become routine. For now, I will enjoy the new excitement of it all. Something akin to going on your first date or moving into your first apartment. Eventually you will move, or date other people, and in this case, possibly write other books. The first time is special, though. I hope that one day I can look back and fondly remember my first clumsy steps that eventually carried me to where I want to be.
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