Monday, February 14, 2011

What's LOVE Got to Do With It?

Are you in love? If so, Happy Valentine's Day. If not, Happy Valentine's Day anyway. I've been married to the love of my life for thirty years! Long enough to know that a lasting, meaningful, successful relationship is a process, not an event. Loving the ups and downs of that process is imperative if you're going to hold on during the tough times. My husband and I are in that comfortable place of a relationship where appreciating the little things we do for each other every day, accepting each other just as we are, and being at ease with silence is what makes it so real. And so deliciously sweet!

As writers, we need to have that same kind of relationship with our work. Stay at it long enough to grasp being in love with the process. And accept the fact that there will ALWAYS be ups and downs. After all, being a writer isn't as romantic as the Hallmark movies portray. You know, the poor starving artist who falls in love with the wealthy and famous author and they live happily ever after. Or better yet, the poor starving writer who owns the neighborhood vintage bookstore, meets a wealthy business man who believes in her work and puts her in touch with an agent crazy about the hopeful author's latest novel which becomes an instant New York Time's #1 title. No, no, it doesn't happen that way. Not even close! But it does happen when you're in love: In love with the hard work. In love with the fact that you never give up even when it's tough and it's not what you expected. In love with your daily efforts to improve your craft AND keep up with the fast-changing industry. In love with your own voice. Not in an arrogant way, just in an "I-believe-in-myself way", sort of way. Mostly, you must be madly--and I do mean insanely--in love with those moments you listen to the story in your heart, not just in your head. It's called passion--the elusive quality that keeps writers writing and married couples married.

Monday, February 7, 2011

K - Keep At It

Waiting to hear back from an agent can make a writer feel a bit Kooky-eyed! But a few days ago I received a very nice rejection from a big name literary agent. It was more than just a form letter and actually left me smiling. I appreciated the agent for her time and effort to read my query and partial manuscript submission in a timely manner (less than three weeks), and then to give me an honest and personal reply. I do my research well before I submit a query to an agent--I need to have a feel as to whether or not they might be a good match for me and my work. Likewise, I appreciate the agents who genuinely consider if a manuscript is a good match for them. Agents typically receive hundreds of query letters a week--a daunting task to find not only a well written story but a marketable story that stands out from all the others. Am I discouraged? Not at all. As far as finding the best agent to represent my work, I intend to KEEP AT IT until the right match is found. It'll happen.