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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Eliot

The Waiting Game

Over the 4th of July weekend, I took a HUGE step in my writing efforts. It wasn't finishing a WIP, it wasn't editing an existing manuscript, it wasn't even figuring out plot fixes to the three pieces I'm slogging through. It was actually getting my work out there. I queried 6 agents.

For years as a writer, I've adored the creative process and loathed the selling myself portion of the job. Some kind of Catholic-upbringing-meets-a-desire-to-not-be-a-braggy-douche thing inside me has always been too shy about pursuing next steps to get produced or published. Add to that a healthy bit of laziness and you get a laptop full of (what I hope are) brilliant works that no one will ever see.

I started writing romance when I was on maternity leave with my son. That first piece isn't finished and likely never will be but it sparked an addiction to writing and I spend every night working on more and more content. I have the same dreams that folks who write have of releasing great works with beautiful covers that sell like hotcakes, but the road between where I am and where that dream lies always seems like such a mystery. But to be real, I know the steps. I've always known them, and I've been blocked on moving forward for a long time. My son is about to turn 6.

I'd attend my local RWA chapter meetings and look on at all the authors who have lots of books out there with envy. I would tell myself "all in good time" and then go home and still send nothing out. A couple of meetings ago, I finally entered the goals raffle they have at every meeting. You set a goal and put in a dollar. If you make your goal by the next meeting, you're eligible to stay in the drawing for all the dollars. I spoke to one of the more experienced authors about my block and how high to set my goal. She was great! "Just do it!" was basically her advice and I set my goal to query 4 agents.

I'm so thrilled to go to the meeting in August and proudly say I did it. And the actual sending out of the queries felt great too. I'm concerned that the first work is a bit trope-y and doesn't have a really compelling hook, but I decided to let the agents tell me that instead of deciding it on my own and letting that keep me from submitting in the first place.

The only problem now is that the system for most is basically "if you don't hear from us in 6-8 weeks, it's a no". So I sit and sit and check my email, knowing I won't hear anything. But that's okay. I sent it out. I started the journey. And Lord knows that after two and a half decades as an actor, I can handle the rejection, if it ever comes. The main thing is, I'm no longer wondering why I can't seem to get started, because I already have.

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