I loved this article by Julie Anne Long and her agent, Steven Axelrod. The studies about randomness and “herd” tendencies of humans were interesting, but the best part for me personally was the story about the man and his one prized horse.
I always set extremely high expectations on myself and events.
- If I don’t final and get this project in front of Editor, then I’ll never draw this Editor’s attention.
- If I do final and Editor doesn’t request material, then I’ll never have another chance with this Editor.
- If I can’t get an Agent on this project, and I know it’s my best work yet, then I’ll never get an Agent.
- If Publisher doesn’t accept this project that I love sooooo much, then I’ll never sell it.
- I’ll never sell anything again.
For years, I studied the markets. I bought all the debuts published by my target lines. I haunted industry blogs. I stalked editors and entered every contest they even thought about judging. I feverishly researched agents and queried left and right.
And my one prized horse kept running away.
I studied why I thought my fence kept busting. I listened to my sympathetic neighbors who insisted I needed to write something different and safer. And I found myself in the darkest hour of night and the Valley of Doubt.
I did finally come to the conclusion that nothing matters. Everything is random. I might as well be HAPPY with what I write and write what I please, instead of wandering around in the doom and gloom of the industry, because I know the stress and worries will only get worse after that first big NY contract. If I can’t live my dream and be happy, then it’s not much of a dream, is it?
And so Dream Agent rejects my latest project. Maybe I’ll get a different agent who’s an even better match for me. Maybe not. Maybe the next project will be right for her. Maybe not. Maybe my next big project will be a hit. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll sell this project. Maybe not.
But I’ll always write what I love and I’ll never feel badly about it again.