Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Well, I’ve finished up the very last touches on the revisions for the agent and I’m pretty sure it’s ready to be sent off.

And yet, I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it.

I’m terrified.

The truth is, once I ‘hit send’- that’s it.  The agent probably won’t get back to me about it for awhile but once she does, it could very well be the end of a fantastic experience.

Or the beginning of a new one.

I’ve been disappointed before. Very disappointed.-So disappointed that I’ve actually had to ask myself the question:

 ‘Should I stay or should I go?’

I know I’ve said that just staying in the game is an accomplishment but sometimes— after three years, four manuscripts, and countless rejections- it just doesn’t feel like enough.

Sometimes I feel like I’ll never ever make it- no matter what I do, how hard I try, or how many years I give this. 

So what’s the point?  Why keep doing this to myself? Would anyone really care if I just dropped out of the running? Or went with self publishing like so many frustrated writers are doing now a’days?

This moment is the closest I’ve ever come to that next step. The closest I’ve ever come to achieving my dream.

And once I ‘hit send’ the ball is no longer in my court. No control over what happens next.  And sometimes I hate that fact - that I can keep writing, and keep trying to do better, but in the end, it’s not only up to me whether or not I become a traditionally published author.

It’s up to fate, and to a multitude of individuals that I have yet to meet.

I almost feel like when I ‘hit send’, I’ll be giving up in some way.  Because I’m just not sure I’ll be able to bounce back from this one like I did with the others, you guys.  If a detailed rejection on a full could have me questioning my place here- what’s going to happen if I fail when things count the most?

Ever feel like self doubt and fear is keeping you from moving forward?


Tonja said...

I think we all feel this way, but it would be silly to write a novel and do all the work to edit it and never press the send button. Just do it.

Old Kitty said...

Hit send! Hit that button!! Don't let nasty fear and doubt stop you!!

You go girl!! Believe in yourself!!

Hit. Send. :-)

Take care

DL Hammons said...

You already know my answer to that question. Hit that send button, and we'll all hope for the best. You are a writer, and although you haven't found the right formula yet, it will come! It could be at your finger tips right now.

Let 'er RIP! :)

Unknown said...

I think you're passing the anxiety baton around. Stop that! *giggles*

I know this feeling all to well. I was just going through the 'what if's' this morning, and it's not healthy.

Yesterday I started querying my manuscript again. This time I have a few published short stories under my belt (ebook style) so I feel slightly more confident, but it's a tough world out there. All we want is for our book to be loved, us to be loved, hell, anything to be loved. Will it happen? We don't know unless we take the chance...

Hit Send. You're good enough.

Laura Pauling said...

If you feel you've done everything you can and even taken a break from it, then send it off. I agree, it's hard when it's out of our control!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome that you've gotten so far. I know what you mean about hitting the send button.

I agree with Laura's advice. But if you have any doubts have a writer friend do a beta read before you hit the send button so you're absolutely sure you've done what you can. And then recognize that some of the decision is based on the subjective opinion of the agent and doesn't mean your book is any less good if they say no. Hope you have exciting news soon!

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie. I feel so ill-equipped and unqualified to comment that I almost didn't. And then....the only thing that seems to be really important is do you still have the passion and the fire in your belly that leads you to sit down and write. If the answer to that is yes....then maybe nothing else is as important than that. Please don't think I am discounting the importance and emotional investment in the other aspects of the process....I probably would have self-combusted a long time ago if I had gone through even a portion of what you've described. What really comes to mind is Jackson Browne's Stay (Just a little bit longer). I'm pretty sure there's not a line about pressing send in this classic....however...Say you will, say you will.

Slamdunk said...

I am cheering for you CQG. I can see where that would be a difficult send.

In answer to your question--everyday. I really have to yell at myself to make those lousy feelings go away.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Okay, sure, if you hit send, it may not be accepted.

But if you don't, it will never be accepted.

Take the leap.

Tracey Joseph said...

I felt this way not too long ago, but then something changed and I pulled myself out of it.

You never know what will happen unless you try. Good luck. :)

Tracy Jo said...

You CAN do it!!! Hit that send button. Things happen at certain times for a reason. Those other rejections were only there to make you stronger. Have faith and with all of us behind you...kick fear to the side! :-)

Linda Kage said...

Well, one thing's for sure, if you don't hit send it will definitely be the end because the agent won't be able to go anywhere with it since she'll never receive it.

You can do it! Hit that button. Pound it!

Besides, you have such great voice in your blog, I really can't see your writing being that awful. You'll do fine!

Also, there are more fishes--I mean, agents!--in the sea. Even a rejection from one wouldn't be the end.

Lots of hugs and good lucks your way!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

I recently hit "send" on my revised MS, full of confidence that it was near-perfect. It took about two days for it to sink in that IF it's not right, I might not land that agent I really want! But I'm trying not to panic. And neither should you! The more time/work you've put into that MS, the better it's going to be. Hope you've sent it!

Kelly Polark said...

Do it!!! (and good luck!!!) :)

Susan R. Mills said...

I've been there too many times to mention. Best of luck with your submission. HIT SEND! Not hitting send is giving up.

Scarlett said...

Hey there, Creepy Query Girl!
Do Your Thing! Creep!

If you wake up every morning wanting to write, then you are a writer. Don't put off today, what you will beat yourself up for later (when you're my age!).

No writer wants to hear, Nope. Never. Not in a million. Writers write because they have something to say! You'll find your audience, but only if you keep creeping!

Just look how many readers are drawn to your creepiness! We love you! There's an agent out there who WILL see it too, when the time is right. *This is me, patting you on the shoulder, whispering how awesome you are.*

B.E. Sanderson said...

First off... :HUGS:

I totally empathize. I just started my 8th year of writing. I also just finished like my 12th first draft. And I'll be hitting the query trail for a different book sometime next month. We ought to start a support group, because, yeah, it's hard work to keep trying after all that work with nothing to show for it but a pile of rejection letters.

But we have to keep trying. Hang in there, and send that query letter out. Who knows - this could be the one that gets accepted. =o)

Cherie Reich said...

Hit send. Seriously.

Some writers sell their first book. Some writers have ten other manuscripts in the "drawer" before they sell a book. We each have our different journeys, but if you give up, then it will never happen.

Don't give up.

LTM said...

oh, now stop it! C'mon, Katie! Stop being ME--LOL! No, this is NOT the end, and the "That's it! I'm quitting!" Well, I was feeling that way in January, and remember ole Joan--You don't know when you're lucky!

First, hit send. Second, get back to that other MS you were writing *wink* or doing those crits. (i.e., fughitaboutit). Third, go zen.

So what if she comes back with a pass? What you have now is an even MORE polished MS to query with, and the knowledge that if one agent was that interested in your book, another definitely will be!

Also, the more you swim, the stronger you get. ugh!

((BIGGEST)) of all ((BIG HUGS)). Now hit SEND! :o) You can do it! <3

vic caswell said...

wow! how scary and exciting!
man, i wish i had something encouraging to say...
all i can think of is this:
if you write anything like you blog, i think you'll do great. you have a great voice, natural pacing, and a strong command over the english language.
i wish you all the best!

Connie Keller said...

I know how scary it is. I've been in your shoes--once having done two R&Rs on a novel for an agent. I ended up getting an R without a reason. I asked a friend who's been in the business for 30 years. She said that sometimes even when the R&R is done right, an agent still don't sign a writer--a lot of times it goes to an agency committee. (where it will be evaluated on writing, marketability, what editors are currently looking for, whether something similar has just sold, etc.) The agent just wanted the R&Rs to make the manuscript as clean as possible before subbing it to committee. All this say, that working on it more won't necessarily make a difference. If it's the best it can be, send it and start work on something new. There's nothing more you can do.

Good Luck! I hope you'll be celebrating soon.

Matthew MacNish said...

I completely understand. It is so much harder after you've come so far, and you feel like you've put so much into it, you just don't know if you can keep going. It's like "if this isn't good enough, I must not have what it takes."

I don't know that there's an answer, but eventually you have to send it.

Nicole Zoltack said...

It's a leap of faith. You have to believe in yourself. If you never send, you'll never know what could have happened. If you never submit, you'll never get an agent, you'll never get published. That's what I tell myself when it's time to press send. Yes it's scary, but you can do it.

Meredith said...

I know exactly how you feel. Letting your manuscript go out to someone who'll judge it is one of the most gut-twisting experiences I've ever had. But if you don't, you'll never know what could have happened.

Now hit send!

Kathryn Rose said...

All. The. Time.

I totally understand the feeling of wondering if you'll ever make it. It can paralyze you, but that's when I just decide that even if I never make a nickel out of this whole writing thing, I would still actively do it, if for no other reason than to make myself happy.

If you give up, the answer is NO 100%. If you don't give up, the answer could be a YES.

Keep going, girl. Congrats on those revisions!

Angela McCallister said...

The insecurity sucks. Somehow, knowing we all go through these feelings doesn't seem to make it go away. Regardless, you have the talent and the skills to get published. I haven't read your ms, but I know this because you've made it further than most already. Just getting a request for full is beating amazing odds (have you seen the agents' stats???), but getting yet a further request for revision is like winning a lottery. You've made it out the gates. No matter what comes of the submission, you have the tools to get where you want to be. All you have to do is hang in there in moments like these when the self-doubt, discouragement, and worry get to you. It will come and go no matter where you are in the publishing journey. Even pubbed authors go through this. You've got enough mettle to finish four manuscripts complete with edits (which is torture enough), you can do this :)

Dawn Ius said...

Deep breath. Hit send.
You deserve to be out of limbo. Because while in limbo, you can't do ANYTHING. You're stuck.
So take a deep breath. Hit send. Pour a glass of wine.
And think positive thoughts.
I'll think them with you. xo

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You just posted for the IWSG and you didn't even realize it.
It will be out of your control once you hit send. But that's the good part. If we can't control it, why worry? Once you hit send, no more worry!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Ummm ... since I've READ your revised manuscript, I can tell you with utmost confidence that you are in NO WAY allowed to give up now.


IF you don't get good news, then you need to dust yourself off, thank that agent for all her input and feedback, and take the manuscript elsewhere. It has only gotten better for her feedback and your revision work. It's a stronger story now, and ready to go meet other people.

But I have a sneaky feeling it won't come to that. ;)

REINHARDT! said...

Absolutely is self doubt a monster. Even worse, you can't hit it or banish it into a vortex or expose it to sunlight to get rid of it.

But you have to see it from another angle. Despite all the time it's taken to get from when you started to right here, you still care enough about the story to be afraid for it. That's a great thing to have, that fear. It means that the story is still relevant to you, and is probably relevant to others out there.

So send it on and then freak out. But send it on first.


Tasha Seegmiller said...

Hit send. Freak out. Eat ice cream.

And when it's my turn, tell me to do the same thing :)

You can do it. It will be awesome!

Nancy Thompson said...


Anonymous said... Read this post. It is brutal, but in the long term it will help. Agents take on just 2% of what they ask for revisions on. It is a heartbreaking statistic, but better be informed. I went through this for 9 months last year. I vowed I would write for myself from hereon in and I am a MUCH happier writer for it.

Botanist said...

You don't know what will happen if you hit "send". But you know EXACTLY what will happen if you don't.

Can you live with that? Yeah, thought not :)

So hit the button, and hold your head high!

Oh...and GOOD LUCK!!!

Tracy said...

As someone who's got some requests out there and actually feels relieved when there are no agent emails in my inbox. (No email = no passes) -- I totally feel where you're coming from.

I kinda feel the same way right now too. "Can I bounce back if I hit another brick wall?" The bottom line is, you'll never find out whether or not you'll have to answer that question if you don't "hit send".

Good luck, chicy!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I think the words of Nike apply here: Just do it. You won't know until you do it, and honestly, the little changes you probably could make to improve it at this point are probably not going to be the tipping point one way or the other. This is what I always told myself anyway. If it's as perfect as possible, take a deep breath and press SEND.

Best of luck, my friend!

Helena said...

I've got my fingers crossed for you. Heck, I've got my whole body in a pretzel trying to send you good vibes. And just remember that The Help (biggest freakin' bestseller of the last decade) was rejected by at least 48 publishers, which obviously was no reflection on the quality of the book and the talent of the writer. So remember -- you've got what it takes too and you'll make it.

K M Kelly said...

Just do it :-) You know you must!

Jennifer said...

I feel your do a lot of writers so just do it! Press that button and then start on the next project. If self publishing is the next step then do that just keep writing!

Maria Mainero said...

Hit send. Only one ball is out of your court now. The good news is, you can start creating a whole new ball while that agent is bouncing this one around.
What you do with the words you love, is always ultimately up to YOU.

Steven E. Belanger said...

I didn't write at all for almost 8 years because of excessive self-doubt (and an agent scammer). Don't let that kind of thing happen to. I want those years back. So then I wrote again, sporadically, and before I got even a short story purchased, I'd received rejection notices for a total of maybe 18 years--without one YES. Now, suddenly, I've sold 3 pieces in the last 6 weeks. I'm confident again, and I don't know what the sudden difference is, except I'm writing what I like, being honest, and sending them out to the right places, using Duotrope and a few other things. Now I expect the stuff to sell. What's the difference? Time. Just time. So stick with it. It'll come.


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