The title of this post is appropriate for just about every aspect of my life right now. I’ve been waiting since I was a teen to get to this point in my life: finding time to write, seriously. About three years ago, the time finally came for me to do just that. I dove headlong into writing with a group of women (and men), taking the work of another beloved writer and putting our own spins on it. Then I immediately began waiting until the day when I could step out and write my very own.
Some years back when I was a young mother, juggling toddler boys eighteen months apart, and a princess of a daughter around aged ten, I thought I could write again, seriously. I began to spend every waking moment of my days sitting behind my desktop (laptops hadn’t caught on so much back then—and I’m totally telling my age, again), waiting for inspiration to hit me. Rather than succeeding in penning the great American novel, I managed to let my house become an utter wreck, and I’m sure my husband wondered more than once whether he’d made a mistake when he married me. Needless to say, I abandoned the “waiting game for inspiration” and shelved my writing desire once again (the first time I’d done so, I was seventeen and off to college).
Throughout my life, I have always found things I needed to do that were more important than my desire to write. It’s what a woman does, especially if she has a family. I’m convinced that the woman who is able to write through career, marriage and motherhood is an absolute saint. I couldn’t do it because I had tunnel vision when it came doing things. I had no talent for multi-tasking, which often manifested itself by some aspect of my life either generally lacking or suffering horribly. So writing became that thing I always gave up for other things, until about three years ago.
Today, I hold my writing time as sacrosanct, and woe to the person or persons who tries to rob me of it. Ask my husband who will attest to the fact that I can become positively rabid if you attempt to take away my sacred writing time. I have forsaken most of my other hobbies for this thing that has consumed me. No longer do I spend any significant time watching television, visiting friends, shopping, or child-rearing (thankfully, all my children are now past the age of needing my constant attention). My husband would argue that I don’t spend much time being a wife, either, but I don’t complain that golf has usurped my place in his life, so there you go.
I was thinking recently about the “waiting game” and what has taken the place of waiting until the right time to write, and I came to the conclusion that my quest to find an agent has become my new “waiting game.” As many of you know, I was contacted by an agent on behalf of his client a month and a half ago to inquire if he could consider one of my short short stories for an anthology. Of course, I quickly replied in the affirmative, because that was a no-brainer for me. I need exposure in any form I can get it, and being in an anthology with one of my favorite authors is beyond cool, and would increase my cachet just a bit in the writing world.
Just the validation alone of being asked made me feel great, but then he took it one step further and told me that he felt like I had the “talent to write a publishable novel,” and that sent my belief in my writing potential into the stratosphere. At that point I was like, even if this guy, a 35-year veteran in the publishing industry, rejects me it’s a huge boon to my writerly self-esteem that he would deem my writing publishable. So, yeah, I took his words to heart and prepared my 50-pager and synopsis to send to him.
Then, I hired an editor to help me get it submission-ready (that process in itself will require a blog of its own), and roughly two weeks ago, I sent it out to the agent. So now, I’m in the middle of the “waiting game to land an agent.” I’ve heard it can take up to ninety days to get a reply from an agent and only after that period of time is it proper etiquette to inquire about the status of your manuscript. Now, I’m trying to psyche myself into writing and forgetting that my manuscript is now in a pile on an agent’s desk in New York somewhere waiting for him to read it and decide whether I’m worthy of his representation.
Meanwhile, as I put everything else on hold (except my day job and the traveling I’ve been doing the end of this fiscal year) during the writing, editing, and preparing of this 50-pager, I haven’t blogged, I haven’t tweeted, I haven’t networked with other writers; I haven’t done anything except tweak, re-tweak, and re-tweak that 50-pager for submission to a man whom I would really love to represent me after finding out who his other clients were. Also, the fact that he’s an old-school kind of agent really intrigued me, too. He actually will roll up his sleeves and edit, if need be. So, to say that I will be disappointed if I don’t land him is an understatement. However, I won’t be devastated and stop writing, because this thing is so under my skin now, I couldn’t stop if I wanted to.
I’ve said all that to say, readers, please forgive me for not reaching out to you in the last couple of months. Thinking about the few of you I have—and hoping you won’t jump ship on me—I realized the new “waiting game” had begun in earnest. Once I hear back from this agent, I won’t give up. I’ll keep pushing until something I’ve written is published, even if I have to go the self-publishing route, which is looking more and more advantageous as I hear the success stories of some of my contemporaries. Therefore, fear not my gentle supporters, I’m still alive and writing!