I was lying in bed (awake at some ridiculous hour because of invisible rag weed particles blowing through my open window and turning my nose into a faucet) and thinking that since I was already awake, and everyone else was still asleep, that it would be a great time to get up and write. So I came down to my office, read a million blog posts and emails, browsed Twitter, fed the cat, made tea, took an allergy pill then decided maybe I should write a blog post first.
Yes, I sometimes blog simply to procrastinate.
But this morning, while feeding the cat, I was thinking about what's different about writing this year vs. last year. Last year I was finishing up Ascendant and getting ready for my agent critique and pitch sessions at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference. Last year, I didn't have an agent.
This year, I do. But as I dumped the syrupy meat byproducts into my cat's dish, I realized there is nothing different between now and then when it comes to writing. I still have to find the time and motivation all by myself. I still have to force my brain to focus away from twitter's scrolling time line of instant gratification. I still have to sit alone in my office and actually DO the writing.
But here's what is different. Someone other than me, my husband and my mother believes in what I'm producing during all those hours alone. And, she believes in it enough to think she can sell it. She spent hours of her time, unpaid and with no guarantees, reading, making notes, rereading, making more notes because of the belief that, when we were done with revisions, she would find an editor who loves those 390 pages as much as she does.
That's what is different between writing and having an agent and all the years I spent writing before having her. There's still no guarantee the book will sell, right? I mean, even if she and I love it till the end of time that doesn't mean we aren't the only two people, besides my husband and mother, that will. But I'll say this, in case you're like me and didn't come ready equipped into this world with a storage house full of self assurance, having someone on the inside like what you're doing is like having a shiny coin in your pocket. Whenever you're sitting at you computer and having one of those, "I really suck at this," moments, you remember that coin in your pocket. You remember that Emma, who is not your mother, doesn't think you suck. And then you realize, while you're not there yet, you are closer than you were last year. And maybe it won't be this book, but it might be the next.
Because you are close. Or at least, closer.
But what if you don't have an agent yet? What did I do during those years of writing without some margin of professional assurance?
I had my critique partners. I attended conferences and met other writers. I read industry blogs and communicated through the comments. I connected as much as I could with that world I wanted to belong to. And let's not forget, I had my mother.
But I also wrote. Alone.
The same as I do now. The same as you do.