Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Float that Hope

I realized the other day that I started writing my first book in 2002. My God, ten years. Ten years with what to show for it?

Hope. Hope. More hope.

I'm still hoping for the same thing I hoped for back then--to one day see my (professionally published) books on a bookstore shelf.

Will that happen? Hell if I know. But still, I hope.

In those ten years, I've learned to love the small (and seemingly increasing) victories. Here's a break down for your personal amusement and my own personal perspective.

2002: I'm going to write a book!
2003: I'm still working on my book.
2004: Typing.
2005: Joined my first critique group.
2005: Someone not related to me said after reading my first 5 pages, "Wow, I wish I could do that." (I will never, ever forget that person...EVER)
2006: More writing.
2007: Finished my book that I started 5 years ago!
2007: Wrote a personal essay.
2007: Personal essay accepted for publication at university press.
2007: Attended my first conference.
2007: My first Pitch Session...and they requested the full MS!
2007: I receive my first (of many, many) rejections.
2007: I wrote a query!
2007: Queried 78 agents. (I don't actually remember the exact number, it's a rough estimate)
2008: I'm self publishing my book!
2009: Tattered Cover is going to carry my book!
2009: Tattered Cover put my book on the 'staff picks' shelf.
2009: Oh, I can't stop thinking about this new story.
2009: Writing next book.
2009: Making very serious goal like plans for a career in writing.
2010: Finished 2nd book.
2010: Attended 2nd conference.
2010: Agent asks to see 2nd book.
2010: I wrote a new query!
2010: Queried 21 agents. (this number I do remember)
2010: Four full requests.
2010: Agent offer!!! *died, dead, went to heaven*
2011: Submission to publishers.
2011: Made it to acquisitions.
2011: Requests to revise.
2012: I am rewriting and pushing myself, and this story, further than I have ever done before.
2012: Agent said, "love, love, love.
2012: Back out there.
2012: Major epiphany occurs...yesterday.    *see below

*there is no end. You just keep plugging along. And if you're a "real" writer, you one day recognize that, while you may flail around in non writing funks that can last for days, weeks, even months, you will eventually, one day, be washing the dishes, or taking a bath, or mowing the lawn and the smallest seed of an idea will float through your consciousness. It will embed itself somewhere deep within your cerebral cortex and take root. Yes, it's true that you swore off writing 6 months ago. Promised yourself you would never get caught up in this agonizing cycle of creation, submission, and rejection again.



But, I'll just jot down the main idea. Maybe a character sketch. A THEME! And here is the inciting incident, "oh, that's good."

itch, itch, itch
scratch, scratch, scratch

There is no end. There is no stopping. Eventually, your hope floats back. The ideas keep coming in spite of yourself, ideas that must be scratched. Yes, you're dying to share those words of yours in a public way, but not being there yet does not stop the root cause of the need.

Only the writing helps.



  1. "Only the writing helps." So, so true. Writing is the only way I've coped with the rest of it--querying, sub, etc. I hope you're feeling reinvigorated as you re-enter the fray!

    1. By the way...Congrats to you!! Can not wait to read your words.

  2. What an awesome post, Rebecca. Thanks for sharing.

    Success comes to those with patience and talent. It is clear you have both!

    1. Thanks Donnna! I mostly think I'm just persistent (but even that can get wobbly).

  3. "The ideas keep coming in spite of yourself, ideas that must be scratched." THIS. Just...yes. Every time I think another idea won't come, I get hit with more...and then I just have to write.

    Thanks for sharing a breakdown of what you've done! You've come so far!

    1. I'm happy to share. Hopefully it was helpful to others also on this journey.

  4. Love it! It always feels good to know that there's someone out there going through the same stuff that you are. Over and over...

  5. What a journey! Thanks for sharing it, and for your inspiring words. I'm routing for you! Best of luck.

    1. And I am cheering for you too lady! Someday, we will attend each others book signings.

  6. So glad Suzie. We go up and down and back up again...nice to know we are not riding alone.

  7. i'm a bit of an aspiring writer myself, but i've been going through some stuff and hope has been... well, itterly non-existent of late. but this is a post that has brought me some solace. writing is a "craft" but it's also a release, it's freedom, it's breathing, it can be everything or nothing. if someone takes a chance on your work, good things can come out of it. if you take a chance on your own work, great things might come of it.

    "never be afraid to let go of the good and go after the great". hope will let is do that