With the brink of 2016 comes resolutions of all shapes in sizes. There are resolutions for writers (that’s me!), for fitness junkies, for the every day average joe, and more. I’ve got a few in mind for myself — how about you? Mainly, I’ve got two things I’d like to accomplish: compete in a bikini competition and receive a request for pages from an agent. Opposite ends of the spectrum, but equally challenging in their own right. Let’s digest that.
Resolutions for writers
Last night, I found myself restlessly tossing and turning in bed — in part because of a nagging sore throat, but also in part because of my recent decision to start querying again. In mid-November, I finished my third manuscript for an urban fantasy novel, and I couldn’t have been more excited. I immediately went out and found myself an editor, the lovely and talented Elizabeth Buege of MS Editors.
She. Was. Amazing. Seriously guys, if you’re in need of an editor hop on over to MS Editors. With her help, I found issues with my work that I was originally blind to. And after a month of reworking and a partial overhaul, I polished my baby and started working on query letters. While I was letting it sit before doing another read through, I tossed out a few pitches during a #SFFPit contest (for those of you who don’t know, this is a contest hosted by Dan Koboldt on Twitter).
And you know what? I got a couple bites from two separate agents and I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve already got a form rejection from one, but the other is still out and about. In addition, I sent out eight additional queries to bring my batch total up to ten.
And now I wait. This is usually the part where doubt starts to creep in. Like last night. I’ve put in so much time and effort to create something that I love, and while I know rejection is a part of the process, it still sucks to receive those emails. So I toss and turn, wondering if I’m even in the right career field, or if I’m talented enough to write in the first place.
And then I remember something — never before had I gotten a bite from agents during a Twitter contest. Contests like these have a lot to do with timing. Which brings me to an important point: if you’re frustrated because you don’t feel like you’re taglines are doing it, it might not be your taglines. There are hundreds of people participating in these contests, and whether or not an agent sees your tweet has a lot to do with timing. Sure, there’s marketability in there, too. But don’t get too down on yourself when a contest goes by without a nibble.
That’s what I told myself first. But then I have to touch on my resolution (you know, the resolutions for writers that involves getting an agent, finding a publishing house, finishing a novel, getting page requests — you name it). Try as I might, I can’t make an agent request pages for my work. I can only do what is within my control, and the second I fret about those factors that are beyond my reach, then I instantly make things more difficult for myself. Instead, I can take measured steps and sacrifices to do everything within my power to make my work as amazing as possible.
Success has a lot to do with what you’re willing to give up. Nephele Tempest, a literary agent with The Knight Agency, wrote a beautiful blog piece highlighting this struggle. It doesn’t matter what you’re planning on accomplishing; whether it’s getting in shape, writing a book, changing a diet — the choice is the same. You have to make compromises in order to succeed, so what are you willing to compromise? For me, that means taking constructive criticism, sending out queries in batches, and watching for feedback.
I won’t say that my resolution is out of reach — it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. But only if I do everything in my power to make that happen. For my fellow writers out there, keep at it. Work hard. Take criticism in stride. Put in the work and everything will fall into place — maybe not when you want it to, but it will nonetheless.