Don’t look so down
Give it some time
You don’t have to be
So hard on yourself
I know the world can be a brutal place
Please don’t let it steal your smile away
‘Cause when the sky is darkest
You can see the stars
And when you fall the hardest
You’ll find how strong you are…
~Jordin Sparks, “Faith”
I’m beginning to think that the word “wait” is synonymous with some kind of tormentation (which, yes, I’m completely aware isn’t actually a word … but it fit well here, so I went with it anyway). Either that or some form of cruel and unusual punishment. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Believe it or not, I really do understand that patience is a virtue, and it’s one I’d like to think I’m doing a good job at learning to possess. After all, I’ve gone from checking my email every five minutes after querying an agent to checking it just a couple times a day. That’s progress, right? I understand that something like this takes time. I understand that agents get hundreds – if not thousands – of queries every month (and some every week), and that it takes time to read through them all. I understand that there’s a multitude of aspiring authors, all with a story to tell. I whole-heartedly believe that if you want something so badly, if you believe in it with all your heart, then it’s worth waiting for. It’s worth fighting for no matter how long it takes. But when you’re waiting and waiting and waiting, it can take a toll.
I’ve had a tough few days this past week. I don’t really know why. I can’t pinpoint one exact moment that upset me. All I know is that I couldn’t help but feel a bit discouraged. I couldn’t help but feel more than a bit discouraged. It’s hard when people ask how the book is going and I don’t really have anything I can tell them. I hate feeling like a disappointment and a failure. I hate feeling like I’m letting people down. And I hate letting that impact my outlook on things when I KNOW that it shouldn’t. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. I’m angry with myself for letting those clouds hang over my head and make me wonder about this whole thing. That’s where I’ve been this week – and it hasn’t been fun. What it has been, though, is a learning experience. It’s hard to put yourself out there for people sometimes. It’s hard to make your life – pardon the pun – an open book. For me, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing in this quest to get my novels published. Every time I put a part of the book (whether it’s a synopsis, sample chapters, or the entire novel) out there for someone to read, it’s like putting myself out there. It’s gotten easier with time, but I have to admit, it’s still a little scary. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that just shows how much it means to me. I’ve been told that I’m my own worst critic, and you won’t hear any argument from me there. I’ve always been incredibly hard on myself. It comes with my perfectionist nature, and it’s a hard habit to break. In fact, it’s probably an impossible habit to break, as I found out this week. But if there’s one thing this book journey has taught me so far it’s that there’s no such thing as perfection – there’s only the best we can be.
This quest to get my books published has been one of the most meaningful of my life, without a shadow of a doubt. When I look back at who I was at the start of this and compare it to who I am now, I see changes. I see a lot of changes, and I realize all over again how much this experience has helped me to grow not only as a writer, but as a person. It’s enriched my life in more ways that I can count. It’s shown me that I don’t just want to write. I don’t just love to write. I need to write. And when it comes down to it, that’s what is important. That’s what I need to focus on. I need to stop second-guessing myself, stop questioning myself, and stop getting caught up in the discouragement. I need to get back to what, for me, is the heart of this journey — the writing. And, with the help of some amazing people who have given me some incredible advice, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m not going to sit down at the computer and worry about whether what I’m writing is good enough. I’m not going to let the waiting game of this whole thing discourage me. I’m not going to let anything steal my smile away, and I am certainly not going to let anything – most importantly, myself – keep me from pursuing the dream that I am determined to make a reality. I’m going to do what I love. I’m going to write. And I’m going to keep on writing forever, no matter what.
So yes, there were a tough few days this past week … and I’m sure there will be more as I continue along this journey. But the next time, I won’t let them get me down. I won’t let them make me fall like I did this week – because what I learned is that I’m stronger than I thought I was. Would I have been at the start of this journey? I don’t know. But that’s why this is a journey, and that’s why no matter what happens in the future, it’s already been more worthwhile than I can express. I’m making a conscious choice not to get caught up in the discouragement from now on. I’m going to do my very best not to be so hard on myself. I’m going to keep on writing and keep on sending query letters until I get the response I’m praying for. I’m going to be as patient as I need to be and I’m going to continue to remind myself that nothing worth having ever comes easily. I’m going to remind myself that the journey to reach a goal only makes it that much more special when it happens.
I’m going to remind myself that the word “wait” doesn’t have to be synonymous with some kind of tormentation – that it can instead be synonymous with dedication and perseverance. I’m going to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. I’m going to remind myself that when the sky is darkest, you can see the stars. I’m going to remind myself to have a little faith.