Have you ever had a gut feeling that was SO STRONG, you let it compel you to keep pushing forward, despite the pile of evidence against it?
I took a long drive alone recently (a rarity), and turned up the music. I jammed along, singing and bopping to the happy beats that pulsed through my speakers. It was just what I needed, a fill in an empty cavity of my soul that I had not a clue needed filling. A calm clarity came over my mind, Something that doesn't happen as often as it used to. In reality, I forgot how much I enjoy solo driving.
Since having children, my life--and writing--have taken a detour. I don't get to focus on things the way I used to, my brain constantly scattered (which if you knew me, you'd know how much that drives me crazy; I'm kind of a super organized control freak). My thoughts are secondary to the thoughts about my children and responsibilities. Writing always possesses a big space in the somewhat less-than-controlled chaos, but this drive made my goals somehow brighten. It was both enlightening and disconcerting.
You see, after my last post, I decided to pursue another dream of mine while I continue to work toward "the big dream"; traditional publishing. I've opened an online retail boutique (Shameless plug here: www.offnewbury.com). I have a long history in the retail world, and have been told I'm very "astute and business savvy", so putting my skills and affinity for shopping and business management to work seemed like a good idea for my family and our financial security.
Here's the thing. I am super duper excited about this new venture, thrilled to be able to actually do it after years of toying with the idea, but it's making me feel like I'm cheating on writing, somehow, giving up in a way. I now have to divide a precious little amount of time between the two. And since I'm known for being brutally honest and open here, I have to say the idea of dividing time and possibly moving further away from a career as an author is breaking my heart. I'm definitely not quitting, I'll never stop, but somehow, this makes me feel like that.
I'd hoped by now I'd have good news on the query front, but alas, I do not. Rejections have come, and I'm still waiting on a few responses (one being from my dream agent). Which is depressing; I was prepared for this, but it still bums me out big time. This is definitely a patience test. Overall, I feel like I'm failing because I haven't succeeded in this quest to sign. I know deep down I'm not, but still, it's tough to still not be agented, especially as those around me in the writing world move on in their careers. Without me. I worry they think I don't take it seriously enough, or that I'm not really worth the effort or time anymore. I'm not alone, though; there are many others who feel this same way, which as much as I hate that they're in the same position, makes me feel better that it's not just me.
Circling back around to my opening question, I know at this point I may need to consider moving on from the project I'm currently subbing, that clearly it may not be its time (if ever it will have that). I have other stories to pitch, stories I am passionate about. But my gut keeps arguing, saying "DON'T GIVE UP ON THIS ONE". (Which, coincidently, I wish I could say about myself to those who doubt me and this dream I hold so dearly) I can't imagine investing all this love, effort and energy into a story and just putting it away after years of working on it. Lexi and the gang have such an amazing story to follow, and I know if they're given the chance to tell it in whole, it'll be worth the time on an agent and/or editor's end. A lot to ask for, I know, given how busy both are. But I know in my heart that with the right agent to back and support this story, it could be incredible.
I just need an agent to believe that, too.
This is something that is commonly debated by many writers in this spot, some who've went on to publish other works after retiring an ms that they once believed to be "the one". Deciding to move on and start new submissions on the next project. It's just not spoken of often. It's one of the harder parts of this career choice--shutting the drawer on that beloved manuscript. The chances of landing an agent and a pub deal are actually a lot smaller than believed to be. We do have the option to self-publish now. I've mentioned before that I considered self-publishing SOURCE. And still am considering that. But self-publishing is publishing, and once it's done, it's done. It shifts the tides of my writing career and is not a decision to make without thought and consideration.
How about you? Have you ever shifted gears and swayed from the goal you truly, gut-wrenchingly love to pursue another you love in a different way? Retired a manuscript you adore? For me personally, this post has been cleansing. Let's have a therapy session in the comments and see if helps you feel cleansed, too.