Monday, July 9, 2012

Thoughts for a Monday Morning

Querying and submitting aren't exactly alike--the biggest difference, of course, is that you have an agent in your corner when you're on submission, someone whose expertise you get to borrow, someone who believes in you--but they're enough alike that I've been reflecting on both experiences lately. It's nice not to be on the front lines anymore, but because I'm not, I have a lot more time to ponder. Here are a few of the thoughts I've had:

As it turns out, Twitter was right--the waiting never ends. No matter where we are on the path to publication, we will have to wait (and wait and wait and wait, in all likelihood). I've blogged about waiting before, but it seems to be one of those perpetual issues in this industry:) And the waiting doesn't get easier, which means there's no time like the present to learn how to master it. (I'm still learning, by the way...)

No matter where we are on the path to publication, we're always in the middle. A recent article by Dieter F. Uchtdorf totally changed my perspective on the path to publication. If we're always in the middle, then we'll never be too inexperienced--or even too seasoned--to take the next step. I especially liked how he wrapped things up:

"Being always in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final. For no matter where we are or what our circumstances, an eternity of beginnings and an eternity of endings stretch out before us."

How's that for boundless optimism? :)

Real success takes time. I heard an awesome gardening analogy yesterday that totally made me think of writing. The speaker mentioned that her dad was an expert gardener and had been from the time that she was a little girl. When she was young, her favorite things to grow were radishes because they matured so quickly. At twenty-one days from planting to harvest, they are the garden-plot equivalent of instant gratification.

Then there's the watermelon. You wait weeks to see the seedlings sprout, then baby the young plants along through the heat of summer, then hope and pray the fruit reaches maturity before the first frost hits. In other words, they're much more labor-intensive and require months and months of effort. But they also taste a heck of a lot better than radishes.

Now I don't know what your watermelon-like success looks like, and I'm certainly not saying that all of us should be shooting for the same thing. What I am saying is that, whatever our watermelon is, that's what we should be shooting for. I mean, who wants to settle for radishes when there are watermelons on the table?

And with that, I think I'll go and find a snack...

17 comments:

Rachel said...

Well put! This writing journey has humbled me in a MAJOR way. In the beginning, I thought I was special because I had a "gift" of story-telling. Now, three years later and working on my third manuscript while still unagented, I see that it isn't the ability to tell stories that makes us special, so much as the perseverance to keep telling and polishing them.

Mina Lobo said...

Mmm, watermelons! Way tastier (and prettier) than radishes, for sure. And I agree with you and Tom Petty: the waiting is the hardest part.
Some Dark Romantic

Kristen Wixted said...

My watermelons never make it. I'll stick with writing--it's easier to do when the weather turns cold than gardening. ;)
I do grow a nice radish, onion, and tomato, though.

Melodie Wright said...

Mmmm. Watermelons.
But I hafta say, birthing a book should take less time than creating a human, right? Bc it's a human after all.
But no...
*resumes pacing*

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Great post Krista. My fingers are crossed for you that you get very good news sooner rather than later.

jamieayres.com said...

Wow, that quote gave me goosebumps!! I want a piece of that watermelon:-)

Leslie S. Rose said...

Yay for watermelons. It made me think of planting bulbs too. You have to wait half a year until you know if they "took." If only querying and being on submission only took half a year...

Jennie Bailey said...

Love this post! The garden analogy is really good. I'd much prefer watermelon over radishes! I was just telling a friend who is now waiting on notes from her editor on her second book that it seems the waiting never stops, nor do the nerves. It just ups the ante at every step! Crazy!!

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Yep, still plugging away for my watermelon! Love this analogy. :D

Farmer friends of ours lost their entire crop of cherries, blueberries and apples this year to FOUR MINUTES of hail. Now there's an analogy we could use in the publishing world!

Liesl Shurtliff said...

Very good thoughts and advice. It's kind of depressing to get an agent, even a book deal, and realize that you're pretty much in a business of waiting at every turn. But it's also good. Gives us time for more ideas to develop.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Rachel, you sound like me. So many people told me as I was growing up that I was a talented writer, so I foolishly assumed that that was all it took. I had to query four times before I landed an agent, but it did happen, and I have to believe it will happen for you if you just stay the course.

Mina, I think if I can master waiting, I will have mastered all:)

Kristen, we've tried onions a few seasons, but they've never turned out (even though we're supposed to live in prime onion-growing country). I think our soil gets too packed and the onions don't have room to expand. Oh, well. There's always next year...

Melodie, so true! Once you hit that nine-month mark, you should automatically get an agent/book deal/what have you:)

Kimberly, you're so sweet. Happy thoughts and good-news vibes right back at you!

Jamie, it's a good quote, isn't it? And don't tell anyone, but I don't really like watermelon. But since I'm, like, the only person on the planet who doesn't, I figured the analogy would work:)

No kidding, Leslie! As Melodie mentioned, it seems like books shouldn't take as long to birth as, you know, living things...

Great point, Jennie. Not only does the waiting never end, but the stakes just keep getting bigger. Maybe it's a good thing that this process takes so long; it gives us time to master the virtues we'll need to make it at the next level.

Oh, Amy, what a heartbreaking turn of events for your friends. Are they going to be all right?

Liesl, that's a great way to look at it, since so much of writing is thinking and thinking takes time.

Martin Willoughby said...

Writers need more patience than a doctor's surgery. (works better when you say it)

Kelly Bryson said...

YOU DON'T LIKE WATERMELON??? I'll have to think about that and figure out if there's a way we can still be friends!

Great quote- I'll have to read that whole talk when I'm feeling sorry for myself:)

And Amy- that's awful. I can't even imagine. I think I would cry for weeks.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Nice pun, Martin:)

Think of it this way, Kelly--if we ever get together to eat watermelon, you'll get to eat my share. So I'm actually a great friend to have around:)

Deana said...

Such a great quote! Having just started the submissions process (in the summer no less) I have a feeling that the waiting game will be something I need to get used to. Yes, it is way better than having to query, but still, I think your analogy and quote was exactly what I needed to hear:)

erica and christy said...

Lovely quotes. It's always nice to read inspirational posts and to find those analogies from life that fit a writer's journey! Best of luck to you on submission! christy

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Good luck with your submissions, Deana! So far, I've found that editors take even longer to respond than agents...

Thanks, Christy! And I like finding those analogies, too:)