So often we get caught up in the race, you know the one, agents, deals, publishers, editors, and we forget what is most important. This isn’t about finding an agent or impressing a reader or even seeing your work in print. It’s about writing the best story possible.
What’s the most important aspect of our writing?
Us. We are. You, dear writer.
Our race is a marathon. Miles, months, continents long. It’s easy to lose ourselves—and our work—to the monotonous struggle of our feet pounding the pavement. Our journey becomes a push and pull of self-doubt and self-hatred. X agent tells us we’re not good enough. Y editor rejects our work. Or maybe you’re not that far yet, perhaps a beta reader tears your manuscript apart and drops the shreds into your lap.
What’s worse above all this, is finding your own work uninspiring. If it’s not the story, it’s the characters. One or the other is too vapid, too superficial, too uninformed. It could be better. The words don’t flow.
I’m not here to hold your hand or make you false promises. Will an agent finally love you? I don’t know. Will a big name publisher pick up your book? Who can say?
What I will tell you is to persevere.
Persevere, writer, for there will be a day when you love your story more than words. When your characters reach deep into your soul and pull forth something so exquisite you won’t believe it came from your fingertips.
You may not love it today, but tomorrow, when the sky is a little darker, the wind a little harsher, the words will speak to you. Today you doubt yourself. You discredit your talent, you deny your privilege to write. But tomorrow, tomorrow it will all fall into place.
Be a cheerleader for your own work. Give yourself credit for learning, for making it another mile. Haul out your old manuscripts and witness your growth. Bask in the rapture of knowing you can improve them. Find simple pleasure in stories pushed aside and forgotten. Make what is old new again. I’m certain you’ll find good in them.
Forget about the race, writer. Shove all thoughts of it to the back of your mind and pile over it with bricks. Close your eyes. The sun is on your skin and the wind is fingers through your hair. Your feet slap a monotonous tone, or is a rhythm? A rhythm, yes, a heartbeat. A pounding that pushes us forward, anxious for the next twist, for another moment of glory. Persevere, writer. The best is yet to come.
She is currently seeking agent representation.