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,