Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wanting “it” now or not?

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A few weeks ago, I was talking with a co-worker about writing. During the conversation she asked me: “Are you the type of person that wants it to happen now?” Meaning: want to see my book in print.

Many days I feel like I am that person, but often those days are proceeded with something like:

  • When I tell someone I “also write,” and some random person responds by asking me: “So where can I find your stuff?” or “Do you have a book published, yet?”

  • My family/one of my friends/co-workers, etc asking me: “So where can I find your stuff?” or “Do you have a book published, yet?,” which is followed by me responding “no,” then a sad/"oh poor her” look on their faces, followed by a “haven’t you been writing for, like, 2 years?” followed by a sympathetic, “I’m sure it will happen soon.”

  • When non-writing people feel they are being helpful by giving me unasked-for advice, such as: “Man, I just heard of this author who got published really fast. It was with this publishing company called Lulu. Maybe you should try them.”

  • Or when I get a rejection.

Those are the days when I like to eat excess Moose Tracks Ice Cream and really want it to happen quickly, and the days I constantly convince myself that I shouldn’t tell anyone else “I write.” The days when I feel ashamed to even say, “I’m a writer,” despite the fact I want to tell people, since it is a large part of my life. And those are the days when I yearn to be able to officially tell people, “I AM A WRITER,” with a traditional publishing contract in hand, and not feel bad that I’m still working on publication.

But most days when I’m alone writing or talking with writing friends—the people that actually get this business—those are the days when I realize that everything I’m writing is helping me to publication. I might not be moving fast, but I’m definitely moving forward.

And frankly, I’d much rather have a book worth reading than a sub-par book that’s not.

So, to answer the above question: “Yes, I want it to happen. And happen now. But not if that means my current work-in-progress isn’t ready to be published, yet.”

How about all of you also waiting on a contract, a finished deal, an agent, or anything else. Are you the type of person that wants it to happen now?

--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent


DeenaML said...

Now I DO want it to happen "now" with STAFF ROAD. I also wanted it to happen "now" with my first book, and THANK GOD IT NEVER SAW THE LIGHT OF SOMEONE ELSE'S EYES! There is definitely something to growing as a writer, being patient, and trusting that publication will happen when your work is strong enough as long as the writer persists.

Emily Marshall said...

Exactly, Deena. And I think the entire world is much happy that I didn't subject them to my first novel as-is.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

I'm right there with you, all the way, Em. It's so close, now, I can taste it. But I would not have been ready earlier. I thought I was--oh yeah, right now, let's see it in print. But thank dog I was rejected. I have learned so much.

Something funny about those rejections: After so many, that dreadful feeling of failure somehow transforms into a new confidence, as long as you keep writing through it all. Or maybe that's just my psychotic break--I've lost track!

Kristina Springer said...

I wanted it "now" as soon as I wrote the first page of the first book. I just didn't tell anyone. Nobody outside of dh even knew I was writing. I didn't tell my family and a few friends until I started querying agents. And the comments you get from people are so funny Em! Here was my favorite from a friend. I queried for almost 9 months, got an agent, then sold 3 weeks later. That is when I told more people that I was writing. This friend said at the news: "Oh thank God you finally sold your book! We've all been feeling so sorry for you." I was like, wth? I didn't remember ever even telling her I was writing. And who was "we all"? Like people were sitting around fretting for me? Crazy! And I have to say, when she e-mailed that her dh got a promotion shortly after it took an insane amount of restraint to not respond, "Oh thank God! We've all been feeling so sorry for him!" :-)

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

That's a hoot, tina! Yes, another reason why after 6 years, my family still has no idea I write.

Emily Marshall said...

Tina, I do remember that story and thought it was hilarious. Good thing we know the truth. I actually didn't tell that many people at first, except my mom and husband. My mom just happens to have a big mouth. And in terms of work it only came up because people kept asking me what I do, since I was meeting new people with jobs. So it's really hard to remove it from the conversation since that's a good portion of what I do when not working. It would have been easier if I hadn't moved states in the mean time, I think.

Ghost girl, and I'm glad you are ready now. We'll be waiting to celebrate with you. And hopefully my confidence will come soon.