Friday, August 3, 2012

Staying on My Feet in Query Trenches

I have loved to write since I could write, and before that I just passed stories on to my stuffed animal friends by word of mouth, like my ancestors (the word of mouth part, not the stuffed animal part).
So because I have been writing so long, I thought I was a good writer. I won awards in high school, I did amazingly well in English classes (you'd never guess, now, judging by my spelling capabilities). I majored in English and even worked at a publishing company for four years.
And then I wrote Feudlings. After being awake for nine months straight with my new baby, and spending a lot of time in my own head, I had the whole story bouncing around my brain. I wrote it because the story was in my head and I loved to write. I did NOT write it with any intention of getting it published. 
And then I let family read it. And I let friends read it. And they loved it. They encouraged me, because they are good friends and family. And I decided, after much terror and tears and whining, that I would try to get it published.
It was exciting, at first, before I knew what I was doing. I went to conferences and there was so much to learn.
But now I've been at it for a while. I don't like rejections, I never have, but especially rejections on my writing, which is the only thing I'm good at! I'm tired of querying and being told no. I'm becoming jaded. I see bitterness in the future.
The worst thing is that, for a while, I didn't want to write. I didn't see the point, if I couldn't get Feudlings published, why keep writing? It took my nine-year-old to remind me that I write because I love it, and not because someone else should love it.
So. I took a deep breath. I started writing again. I started to feel better. I kept querying, but I sought professional opinions on my work (I was going to say professional help, but I know what ya'll would be thinking).
I still don't love querying. Of course I still long to have someone say yes, to say they love my writing as much as, say, my sisters or niece or husband do. But I think the most important thing when querying is to remember that all those "no's" do NOT define your writing or who you are. When you start writing for someone else, you lose miss out on the true gift of writing, which is the ability to bring to life the stories in your head. Whether or not the world ever sees those words, it's a gift you give to yourself.

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