It’s A Process.
Yup, that’s what this writing stuff is. And, as with any process, s**t happens.
I’m writing because a couple of my writer friends have recently lost their agents. Their first agents. It’s a tough loss, for sure, and trust me, it certainly kept me up at night as the small fibers of doubt and worry wove their way into my body and head, creating all sorts of scenarios in which I lose my agent. (Yes, it is all about me sometimes, hahaha… heh…um…)
But you know what? Those guys are going on. Moving forward. Working on new books. And that’s exactly what they should be doing. What all of us should do, if we ever find ourselves in the same situation (God forbid, natch).
I’m currently at work on a new book. Second draft. I had separated it all out by chapters, each with a cover sheet attached that contained a few notes on what happened during that chapter. Then I went to work rearranging them all on the floor, putting down sheets of notebook paper where I knew I was going to introduce a new subplot that would reinforce the main plot and also show new sides to my protag, while hopefully also strengthening the overall theme of the story. I have to say, that I’ve not worked quite this way before, and I’ve really reaped bales and bales of benefits from using this new process. Now I’m back at it: editing, creating new chapters, etc.
However, I need to have this one done a lot sooner than I ever thought I would, as life has formed itself around me in such a way that it desires me to have this to show to the world quicker than I had planned. And that’s okay: I love a challenge, especially a writing challenge. I’m finding that I’m learning so much, with every new book, every new draft, every new left curve tossed my way.
Which is, wait for it…. part of the process.
Let me get back to that thing about my friends losing their agents. Not only have they lost their agents, but those manuscripts that got them signed?
Not going to go.
Have to be shelved.
That’s a tough pill to swallow, and it’s happened to me before, too. Lost Wings, my urban fantasy novel, never went anywhere, and I even queried Jimmy Hoffa’s corpse, the gods, and Elvis. I pledged my wine-soaked body to science if they would only get my book published. Nope. Nada. Thank god I was working on another book, which turned out to be the book that landed me my agent. And that’s what you always, always, always need to be doing:
Always be working on another book.
It’s another part of the process, and it makes all those little (or large) bumps and set backs a little easier to take.
Oh yeah, and try to remember: getting your agent is only the last step in getting repped but the first step towards publication and having a career. And, well, chances are you’ll have a few agents over the course of your career, and that book you love so much that you just know the world will fall in love with may not ever see publication. Like I said: it’s all part of the process. Remembering things like this helps keep it all perspective. It’s a process. Enjoy the process.
Now go and work on your book!