pep talks

So you’re waiting! Maybe you’re waiting on query responses, or maybe you’re on sub waiting for an editor to make an offer. This is one of the most difficult times for a writer, so I thought some at-the-ready peps talks might help!

  • It’s no secret that querying and submitting is hard. They have always reminded me of Mr. Burns’ desk in The Simpsons. You know what I mean, where he sits there with his finger on the button and if he doesn’t like you, he pushes the button and whoosh, you fall through the hole in the floor. The reality is, rejection is inevitable. And most agents are much nicer! Think of them as necessarily evils, which means you’re playing the game. And playing the game is your goal.
  • Perspective is key. Remember, it’s just a book. There are much bigger problems in the world, and if querying or waiting to hear from editors is near the top of your list, you’re doing okay! If you find yourself getting down, try to do something nice for someone else. It sounds cheesy, but being generous (instead of snarky, for example), will serve you a lot better in the end. Recommend a great book to someone, tweet cheer your writer friends, walk a dog, compliment someone, anything.
  • Another cheesy but true line: be good to yourself! It’s normal to get a little… off kilter when you’re querying or subbing. Remember how you made time to write? Now is the time to make time for you. No excuses! It is harder for your brain to regulate your mood when you’re eating garbage, so try to eat as healthy you can. I’m not saying cut out ALL the junk, but moderation is key, right? It is also hard to feel good when you’re dehydrated, which about 75% of people are ALL THE TIME. You have to give yourself your best shot at feeling balanced, and eating right and moving a bit will do wonders.
  • Don’t stop writing! The first thing I was recommended to do while on sub was write another book. Was it super hard because I was distracted by the near-constant WHAT IF? Of course! But you are a book warrior and a little worry isn’t going to stop you! And you never know when a lovely editor may ask you, ‘I love this, what else do you have?’
  • Rejection isn’t inherently bad. Sure, it hurts. But it also shows you that you’re moving forward. To me, success has always been ‘doing the next thing’. Let yourself feel bad for a bit, and then let it go. It only takes one yes!
  • Rejection is protection. Seriously. Do you really want an agent to say “Hmm.. well, I’m not in love with this writing. But, I’m sort of low on clients, so maybe I’ll give it a whirl for jollies…. meh.” Of course you don’t! You don’t want an agent or editor to be doing a crummy, inattentive job because they’re not really into your work. You want the one who adores you, who will fight for you when you need it, and who will pick you up when you’re feeling down! Agents and editors are sort of like significant others in this respect; if they don’t LOVE you, you probably don’t want to waste your time in a one-sided relationship. Wait for the ones who appreciate/jive with your talent.
  • One final tip: as soon as you find yourself thinking “I’ll be happy just as soon as X”, stop yourself. For example, “I’ll be happy just as soon as my book sells,” or “I’ll be happy just as soon as an agent signs me!” Are those things going to contribute to your happiness? BIG YES. But should they be the WHOLE REASON for your happiness? No. You are a whole person with a whole life. Writing and publishing a book is an amazing privilege we have, but use whatever resources you need to keep yourself balanced during this process. If you fall for the “I’ll be happy when I’m published’ brain trick, it will just continue for the next part of the process. Get a handle on it early!

Do you need a pep talk in your writing journey? Pop me an email and I will do my best. I’m happy to send good vibes!

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