Let’s be real here for a minute: writing is HARD. The act of creating something wholly new from the ether takes a lot of time, energy, and effort. What truly makes it difficult, however, is that once those resources have been expended…you still may not see the results you desire when you want to (if ever).
Like every writer querying to literary agents, I know how personally challenging this can be. You follow the steps, make critical edits, get outside impressions, and more, but there’s still no guarantee that an agent will respond to it positively. When those (form) rejection letters come in, it can be soul crushing. You and the people around you know that the writing is good, why don’t the agents see that?
If you’ve felt/thought anything like the above in recent weeks, welcome to the club! You are a writer striving to make a way in the world for your words when millions of others are trying to do the same.
To sum up: it’s difficult.
When faced with these situations, there are many things you can (and will be told to) do:
- Go through and edit more carefully
- Get more beta readers for impressions
- Work with an editorial group to brainstorm
- Be patient
Honestly, those things are and can be very important in the process of getting an agent on the way to a hopeful career as a creative writer. I think they miss the most important thing you need to do, though, so I’m going to devote the rest of this short post to that:
(In before anyone says I sound like a cat poster.)
Above and beyond any other consideration, you must first believe in yourself and the work you’re doing. Believe in the words, the ideas, the plot, the characters, the thoughts, the feelings, and the person that put it together. Meaning YOU.
Going from person who authored a novel to person who authored a published novel can grind at the emotional anchors that hold us together. The strain can drag on relationships, push at your buttons, and make you question if what you’re doing has any value at all.
I’m here to tell you that IT DOES HAVE VALUE. Even if you don’t have an agent yet. Even if you haven’t gotten a single positive reaction from an agent yet. Even if you haven’t queried anyone and aren’t sure if you ever will, your writing has value because you made it.
Don’t let the world’s material considerations take away from what you’ve accomplished. No one else can claim to have told the story you have, so hold your head high, and keep fighting.
Nothing worth doing is easy.
And writing is always worth doing.
This doesn’t mean you’re absolved from continuing to improve your skills and stories, oh no. You need to push hard at those personal barriers, strengthening those abilities along the way. It does mean, however, that you don’t need to be glum, downtrodden, and perpetually hurt. I know it’s easy to be, sometimes you almost want to give into the negativity because it seems like that’s all the world wants to show you. Don’t. Feel the sad, anxiety, and hurt. Then get back on your feet, pen in hand, keys under fingers, brain hard at work. Push, strive, try.
And know that millions of writers, myself included, are right there next to you, encouraging you, bolstering you, and wanting you to know that you can do this.
Even if it takes forever, we will write our way forward.
I believe in you. Believe in you, too.
And if you can’t, well, believe in the me that believes in you.
I leave you with motivational gifs:
Let me know how your journey’s going in the comments or on Twitter. For more content (and encouragement) pop over HERE.
You can do it. See you soon!