Monday, November 24, 2008

A Great New Agent Blog

Rants and Ramblings is Rachel Gardner's blog about books, agenting, writing, and the literary world. She's fun and informative and there's a great crowd of commenters, too. Rachel posts on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. No weekends.

Here's a taste:
(This post on November 17th got 47 comments if you want to read the discussion.)

And heeeeere's Rachel . . .

I was having lunch with a writer friend of mine, and she didn’t seem like she was in the best place emotionally. “I’m starting to question whether this is really my calling,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because some days… it just isn’t fun.” (She said this with a straight face.)

“Hmm,” I said. “Is your marriage fun everyday?”

“Uh, no.”

“Every time it’s not fun, do you question the entire marriage? Do you consider divorce?” I asked.

“Of course not.” My friend rolled her eyes at me.

“Well, I think your calling as a writer is similar,” I told her. “Every time it gets hard, you certainly have to look at the issues and see if there’s something you’re doing wrong, but you don’t question the whole darn thing every single time. Every time you have an argument, the whole marriage doesn’t fall apart. Every time you have a bad day writing, you don’t have to question your entire calling.”

“But…” she argued, “I thought God is supposed to give us passion for the things He calls us to?”

“Are you passionate about your husband?” I asked.



She laughed. “No, not everyday. I get your point.”

Obviously my point was that your calling to be a writer is bigger than simply a “feeling” that shifts with the wind. Once you decide that you are indeed called, you have to avoid using every roadblock as a reason to question it. Instead, look at whether your calling is being confirmed.

Here are some ways to know you’re on the right track: You’re taking little baby steps toward possible publication. You know that your writing's improving. Someone important has given you encouragement. Rejection letters are getting nicer and more complimentary. Your critique group is saying good things and they know what they're talking about and you don't think they're blowing smoke. You've published something smaller like a magazine article or a contribution to a book. You’ve got an agent interested in your work. Any of these types of things can serve as confirmation of your calling.

Unless you have a total lack of anything resembling confirmation... stop questioning your calling and get to work!

My personal thoughts . . .

I think the marriage analogy describes the process well. Some days you just do not "feel the love", but you don't give up or get divorced at the first sign of trouble or a bad writing day. BUT I worked on my writing for years without much confirmation.

During those early years when you're just beginning to learn the craft of writing and story and trying to discover how the publishing business works, you do have to "feel the calling" and get your love out of the writing itself.

You have to love writing. You have to enjoy the process. You have to take joy. You have to WANT IT. And after you've done that for a few months/years, then you'll start getting your "confirmations" that will keep you going.


Kerri said...

It's interesting that you posted this. I'm working on my sequel while waiting for my agent to look over the revisions for Book I, and I feel uninspired at the moment. I keep wondering how I finished one book. It is so daunting to start over.

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Amen, sister. Even with all the novels I've written and rewritten over a couple of decades, I still need to be reminded of this, too. I was getting ready to give up the past year because it had been nearly 8 years since a sale.
Gosh, what if I had? I would have missed out on Scholastic completely. Give me a weird feeling.

Kerri said...

You are really motivating me. I have to push harder and once I'm past this, thing, I'll see the struggle was worth it, like it was for you. After I finish teaching tonight, I'm gonna come home, kiss my hubby and then write. Thanks!!!

Janette Rallison said...

Truth be told, even after publishing a dozen books and selling hundreds of thousands of copies there are a lot of days when writing isn't fun, and there are even days when it's about as far from fun as you can get.

Being published doesn't change all of that. So yeah, thanks for the analogy of a marriage because it's a good one. I love the writing and hate the marketing, but you've got to take one with the other.

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

So glad it's giving you a push, Kerri! Here's another one!

You mean life isn't full of roses and chocolate when you hit the big time? No fair! Hmmph.

I was at least hoping for a maid.

Katie said...

Great Post! Thanks!



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