Let’s be honest: I’m a newbie. A noob. A young’un. A squirt.
The bulk of my first-ever queries went out 3 and a half weeks ago, and I’m climbing the walls. My husband has to deal with me crying for no reason and refusing to do the laundry because I have a compulsive need to check my e-mail every 5 minutes.
Here are ways I’ve found of validating my existence while waiting on literary agents (as you can see, they work tenuously at best):
1) Obsess over something else. Like a blog, maybe. Not that I obsess over my blog or anything. Not like I proudly say, “Hey mom, I have 11 subscribers that I don’t know at all. 11!” Not like I tell my husband, “Did you know that if you search the words ‘done,’ ‘hunger games,’ and ‘what,’ my blog is one of the first to come up?” Not like I analyze and re-analyze my stats so I know to post this thing today, not tomorrow, because Fridays have notoriously low numbers. But you can obsess over whatever you want. Like cute kitten videos. Probably much healthier.
2) Join a reading group on goodreads. I love my Addicted to YA reading group. We rock my socks off. It’s fun to watch boring adults (like me!) hawk their books and see teen girls gush over hotties on cover art and discuss why they liked or didn’t like certain plots or characters. I even play the word association game every once in awhile! I take 15 minutes to craft a comment and think, “Is this the right blend of fun and thoughtfulness? Do they know I’m 28? Do I care if they know I’m 28? Why can’t I be 17 again…?” but it’s fun to stay connected and teens are way more discerning and opinionated than you may think.
3) Make a pen-pal. So, I systematically friended a few people my own age from the YA reading group in order to more easily read their reviews and comments, and one actually wrote me an e-mail! So I wrote her back. And she wrote me back. And this awesome pen-palness started! Now, I have a short, pleasant e-mail to look forward to, and then I can write her back without dissecting every sentence. It’s… relaxing. 🙂
4) Read lots of books and try not to hyperventilate or cry (unless it’s a sad book. Then you can cry). Look up the authors. Realize that they’re people, too. And then love them a little bit even though they’re published and you’re not. Encourage them because, face it, their books are good and worthy of publishing! Then dream about the day you’re all best friends and in a writing group together because that is the inevitable conclusion of your life… *dreamy sigh*
5) Set a date to start the next book. Let everybody know it. Gulp. Think about changing the date. Sweat until fingers make little sticky marks on the keyboard. Do other things wildly until that date flies unbidden into your head. Gulp again. Repeat until the date arrives. Then crank up the Pandora, light a candle, grab some coffee, and write like crazy.
(My date is April 9th.)