Thursday, 8 December 2011
Represented (an announcement)
I have some good news.
I’m a represented writer. As in, I have a literary agent. YOU GUYS. I can’t even believe I’m typing that. It feels … not real. Amazing. Incredible! And I’ve also found a way to feel angst. Let me explain.
A few months ago, I met Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She read an excerpt of my book, said she loved it (!), we hit it off and I felt really good about her and our potential together. She is warm and kind, is a published author herself, and has tons of experience. After sending her my full manuscript-in-process, our schedules finally aligned last week, she said all the right things (amazing things!) to me and then officially offered representation.
I accepted (duh). (Then because the baby was sleeping, I may have gone out my front door, squealed at no one in particular (we’re the only house on a dead-end street, thank you baby Jesus), did some breathing exercises to calm down, thanked Jesus for real, texted my husband, messaged a couple friends who knew about it, then floated around my house for the rest of the day.)
I’ve been holding it close for a while, I know. There are a few reasons.
At first, I thought for sure she had made a mistake and I wouldn’t really be getting the contract in the mail, that she’d cancel once she realized her error. And then when I got it, I held on to that for a few days, too, trying to wrap my head around it. (I know. Neurotic much? I’m already sorry, Wendy.)
To be honest (because that’s what I am, friends), I think that keeping it quiet, holding it close and letting it sit on my desk also had to do with a deep, nagging whisper, a shame and fear of failure that is so close to my bones that sometimes I can’t even find where it starts. It was my inner critic, taunting me with messages of unworthiness. Some of your very favorite writers and bloggers are also Books & Such clients, she sneered, and you’re not good enough to be in that club. You don’t have the same following, the same admiration. (Even if I did, something tells me the critic would still be the loudest voice in my head.)
I felt amazing for about two days after talking with Wendy, and after that I’ve been battling with myself, fighting fear and failure — and believing that failure is more painful when someone’s watching. (And when I finally get that down, say it straight, I realize that’s a lie, too. Failing with someone at your side is always way better.)
It’s all about being enough — again.
And so even when I was hearing Wendy’s affirmation, when I was holding the contract in my hands, I didn’t believe it could be true. You don’t deserve that, the critic pipes in again. You’re not good enough for it.
Isn’t it amazing — and astounding, and infuriating! — that those same fears and lies that keep us from trying are the same ones that are there when we actually succeed at something? Are you embarrassed when you do well and are recognized for it? That could be a clue that you’re walking this road with me, friend.
But then in the midst of a scattered afternoon this week, even when it didn’t feel like the perfect moment, I said Self, it’s time to let go and dive deep, stand up to fear, fall back in trust and hit that critic square in the mouth. I read through the contract, then signed, dated and mailed it.
I’m now officially represented, and damn. I think that means I’m writing a book.