Thursday, April 15, 2010

5 Confidence and Being a Writer

For the past two days, I have been kicking myself for accidentally sending out several query letters with typos. There's a long, boring story about how this happened, but the story doesn't matter. I feel unprofessional and horrible about wasting the time of the agents who received the letters. But then I came across a couple of wonderful posts this morning where writers talked about confidence (or lack thereof) and whether they wanted to keep writing if they couldn't get an agent interested in their work.


For me, seeing these posts came at the perfect time. They made me remember this is a process, and I'm going to make mistakes even though I try not to. I'm not writing to become a best-selling author, although if I can possibly achieve that, I will. For all the stories out there like Stephanie Meyer and her six month journey to stardom, there are lots of quiet journeys that start with two or even a dozen books that never went anywhere. For those writers, each misstep resulted in knowledge, growth, and the ability to see more in the world around them. I know I pay more attention to the quirks and coincidences of life because I write fiction, and I definitely think more deeply about the people I meet. I consider and study my craft, and I become much more humble every day discovering the bottomless ocean of things I do not know.

I make mistakes. I'm not perfect. And that's okay.

I gave up writing fiction for a while because I started a business. Putting in seventeen-hour days trying to make that work while simultaneously raising kids and juggling the house, the husband, the pets, and the other things we all do made me think there wasn't time to write. But as I read those posts this morning, I realized I'd been growing as a reader and a writer all that time. So I'm not going to angst about what might have been or what is or isn't selling now. I've got three exciting book ideas stacked up after my current YA WIP, and I have to write those just to get to know the characters.

Should you quit writing if you aren't getting love from agents?

Are you working on something new? Are you excited about an idea for something new?

Worry less about the past. Get writing! If  you're writing, you are a writer.

Good luck and keep the faith,



  1. I understand how you feel about making typos when communicating with professionals. Soon after joining Twitter, I responded to a publishing VIP's tweet with something I was sure was witty and insightful and would make her want to publish my book based on my Tweet alone. A couple hours later, I realized my Tweet had a typo- I spelled "routing" instead of "rooting". I was so embarrassed that I deleted my Tweet, and I eventually stopped following her, because my embarrassment returned every time I saw her name. Unfollowing her was probably too extreme, but I am a very sensitive person.

    Anyway, back to the point of your post: I think what's holding me back from finishing my query letter is the fear that a pile of rejection letters will suck all the joy I get from writing. I just have to remind myself that first and foremost, I am writing for myself, because it makes me happy.

  2. Don't worry. Submitting will definitely toughen you up! I couldn't do all of #YALITCHAT last night, but I stayed long enough to catch a couple of posts from writers who sent out 100 queries before getting published. Wish I knew whether that was for one book. But still. Someone brilliant pointed out that after a while it gets so that you start looking forward to the rejections as a sort of badge of courage. I love that idea. Go forth and query. But keep writing in the meantime!

  3. We've all done it ... well, at least I have! I'm such a perfectionist, and sent a letter on a day that I had such a horrible headache and somehow made a very simple, silly error ... I was mortified. I love your words of wisdom ... they're very positive and uplifting!

  4. Thanks, Kelly! Headaches are awful, aren't they? Here's to staying positive!

  5. We are human, and vulnerable. Putting our stuff out there makes us crazy nervous. But if we don't send it out, our changes of publication become zero! And boy, do we learn by our mistakes.


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