Well, it's been a full year since I got on the agent train; a full year of gaining an agent, losing an agent and then gaining another agent. It's a bit crazy, I know, but along with all of the stress came some insight that I thought I would share. I'm going to set this up as a chain and tag three other writer's who in turn can tag three more...let's pool all of our collective learning experiences and share what we've gained this year.
1. Patience is going to be hard to master: I learned a few things about myself during this year of waiting, primarily that I go a little crazy and can't handle it for too long! I reach a breaking point at a ridiculously short interval and decide that the worst case scenario must be happening to me so I panic. That's when I start making stupid phone calls or sending dumb sounding emails. Luckily, I've learned that the first phone call I should make is to my friend Karen, at which point I also read her my dumb sounding email. She talks me through it and calms me down and then I'm good for another week at least ;)
2. Always trust your gut: I had two very strong gut reactions this year both dealing with my first agent. I won't go into specifics but needless to say my instincts had been right and I although I ignored my gut reaction the first time, I didn't the second, took a giant leap of faith, and ended up in a much better place.
3. Asking for help leads to many great things: There are a lot of very great people out there in the writing world, many of whom will do wonderful things for you if you ask them to. I'm not saying you should exploit your contacts but sometimes asking is the first step in getting what you want or need. I've gotten a lot of great advice and support, as well as unexpected bonuses and favors over the past year that have truly made my year memorable in a good way.
4. Showing up is the key to success: I'm not a social butterfly but once in a while I take a chance and go somewhere that I wouldn't normally go and more times then not, it pays off. For example, I went to an author event which eventually led to me getting my new agent.
5. Writer's Block is not what I thought it was: Okay, so I've always been a strong advocate that writer's block does not exist. Up until a few weeks ago, I didn't have any difficulties getting words down. I'd set my quota for the week and get to work, no problem. But then I did a major rewrite for my agent and worked day and night on it and kind of got burned out and for two straight weeks couldn't bear the thought of writing a word. It was torture and sent me into more than one panic attack about my future as a writer. It only lasted for two weeks and in that time I realized that although I didn't have a problem with the ideas, I did, for the first time in my life, have a problem with motivation. So writer's block has taken on a new meaning for me. To me it means lack of motivation. For those two weeks I was feeling really down and dejected (physically ill as well) and it was getting to me more than I would have guessed it could. And I don't rightly know how I snapped out of it, but I did, and I'm back to normal now which feels great. So I guess writer's block does exist, just not the way I thought it did and now I know that I need to pace myself a little better so that I don't burn out and trigger it in the future.
So that's it for me, the three people I'm going to tag to continue with the learning experiences are: Selestial, Danica Avet and Michelle Muto. What did you ladies learn this year?