I was starting to really psych myself out over starting my next Silver Creek book. I’ve only written one book that length, did I have enough conflict to sustain it? Would I enjoy it, or would I hate the experience?
As the deadline for that book gets closer (March) and the need to get going on it LOOMS (like a doubt crow) those sorts of fears were starting to get really, really big in my mind. And it’s silly, because I haven’t written more than 1K on that book and I’m turning it into a demon beast before it even has a chance to…at least evolve into that organically.
This got me thinking about our tendency to do that in…a lot of areas of life. I’ve done it to myself repeatedly with different projects over the years, or even with publishing in general.
I used to be afraid to finish a project. Because if I finished one, I’d have to submit it. And if I submitted it, I would have to suffer through the first of what would surely be fifty rejections, because that’s what EVERY writer has to go through, right? And I wasn’t ready for that.
So I didn’t write more than twenty pages of a book. Ever. Because it kept me safe from those rejections.
And what I didn’t realize was that I was rejecting myself. I was making the decision FOR all of those editors.
I finally got the courage to write a book. And I sent it in. And HOLY COW the publisher wanted to buy it. So I happily went along writing Presents because I had contracts there and it made me happy (still do! Still does!) But inevitably, the topic of venturing into Single Title romance would come up with people. Was I going to do it? When? Did I want to meet their agent?
Uh…no. No no. No no no. Because if I did that. I would have to get rejections. It would never work. Don’t you know contemporary romance is a REALLY hard sell??
I’ve told the story before, but I met my agent in Florida at RWA and had breakfast with her and one of her other clients. Single title came up. I said I wasn’t ready yet (my first book hadn’t been released at that point) I thanked her for meeting with me. She asked me to query her if I ever had an idea for ST.
When I was finally ready to entertain the idea of a doing a single title I got another breakfast meeting with the same agent at RWA in NY (facilitated, again, by Lisa Hendrix, who is good at pushing me into things) And I was so nervous before the breakfast. I was going…I don’t want to do this! I don’t think I *can* do this.
But I went. I pitched the idea. I gave her my partial. The next thing I knew she wanted to submit it places! So I had to finish it.
I sort of went terrified and trembling into the whole process, never quite ready to be doing it. And you know what? I got rejections. LOTS. It was hard.
But I sold the series. And I learned a lot. And it’s opened up a ton of new opportunities for me.
I have so many writer friends who do this same thing. They decide from the get go something will go wrong with a book, so they don’t write it. Or they don’t submit it. Or they don’t query the agent. Or they don’t pitch the book.
When we do things like that, we’re rejecting ourselves. We’re limiting ourselves. We’re putting a cap on our dreams and saying, gosh I really want that! But not enough to try and fail!
Looking back on my history, I’m so glad I had people pushing me through. People saying, stop being a whiny kiddie baby whiner, Maisey and just TRY it. If you fail, so what? Try again.
So I’m going to do that for you, right now, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. That thing you want that you think you can’t have? Go after it. Try. Push yourself. Risk rejection. Because risking rejection is so much better than stopping before you ever get out of the gate. Or up to the gate. Or even to the races.
If you don’t try, you’ll never know how far you could go.
If I would have listened to my fear, I wouldn’t have submitted to Harlequin. If I had listened to fear after that, I wouldn’t have signed with my agent. And I wouldn’t have done my single title and gotten a book deal with Berkley.
More things were possible than I believed. Blind faith, or rather just a willingness to ignore terror, were essential.
If you try and you fail, at least you gave it everything. If you don’t try, you still fail. And you might not have had to.
So…go on. Get out there. YOU CAN DO EEEET.
(And I will be repeating that as I get going on my second Silver Creek book. Because I’m going to take my own advice!!!)