Throughout the Christmas season I was feeling that surge of optimism that comes with that time of year. The bounce in my step seemed to say this is it. This is the year I will find an agent.
I may have been spurred on by the news that my short story was accepted by a great online journal just after the holiday, narrowly coming in as my only publication for the year. I can’t wait until it’s ready to share!
Dreams don’t work unless you do, though, so on January 2nd I took advantage of my break from teaching and sent out 25 query letters, a number that has since risen to 30. (If you know of any agents/agencies looking for realistic middle-grade that touches on growing up, environmentalism, and imagination, send them my way!) That’s way more “submissions” than I sent out in all of 2016!
This is great, I thought. Now all I have to do is sit back, relax… and wait.
Some writers talk about how the waiting drives them nuts. I have to say, I don’t mind the waiting. I’m great at convincing myself that no news is good news. It’s when the news comes and it’s not good that I have trouble staying in good spirits.
This isn’t to say that the news hasn’t been good. Out of the eleven responses I’ve received so far, I’ve had two nice personal rejections, an invitation to query again with a different manuscript, and two requests for full manuscripts (one of which just came back as a revise and resubmit). In all honesty, I was elated just to get those two requests. Something about my book is working. I’m doing something right. But sometimes I have to hang my head and laugh that I’m putting things like “personal rejections” on a list that I’m calling “good news.”
In all the lurking I did while looking for agents and learning how to write good queries, I found out about WriteOnCon, an online conference for children’s writers that was held this past weekend. An online conference consists of a lot of blog posts, vlogs, and live q&a videos, so I’ve spent the last week immersing myself in the world and the language and the energy of writing children’s books. It’s been a great boost to give me the motivation to really dig in to my new manuscript, a leg up that I’ve sorely missed since largely leaving the physical writing community after my graduation in May.
Unfortunately, things never come at all the right times. We’ve been installing laminate floors in our upstairs since November, and all that’s left is the small room where my books and desk live. We were all set to get it done last Saturday when, in the midst of tearing up the old carpet, we discovered the sub floor under the window was rotted through.
Fun times, right?
While we’re figuring that repair out, I’ve been relegated to the couch. And the dog putting her head both under the laptop, making it impossible to type, and on top of the laptop, causing it to type letters I don’t want. And the cat trying to bend the screen back until it breaks and trying to grab my hands while I type. And the two of them chasing each other throughout the house. And the two of them snuggling up beside me while I finish writing the first chapter I’ve written in nine months.
And you know what? I kind of like it.