In January, I told myself that I would be agented by April 2019 and to be honest, I think it was a problematic mindset to have. Personal deadlines can be great because oftentimes they prevent procrastination and can be a source of drive and determination. In many ways, a lot of us set deadlines for ourselves by making daily to-do lists or five-year plans. However, creativity sometimes takes more time than you think, and with art—whether writing, visual or other—more time spent redrafting, rethinking and re-planning changes everything.
My deadline propelled me to send my first submission in a rush, meaning that a week later, I realised that I had accidentally sent a dream agent an old draft with spelling errors on the first page, and the draft version of my synopsis (it actually cut off mid-sentence, mid-page. the end never coming to light. I was mortified when I realised). Even when I sent the email, my heart was hammering and I was scared; I just wasn’t in the right mental state to do something so huge. Afterwards, the next three agents I submitted to were treated to a very embarrassing cover letter that was sickeningly personal (talking about my writing experiences in primary school, can you imagine!) and the most recent batch all received very boring synopses of The Novel, and I anticipate rejections from all of them. Just last week, after wracking my head for why my synopsis just seemed kinda dull, I found an article by Jane Friedman that was invaluable: it totally changed how I wrote it, and I was so disappointed in myself for wasting ten agents and possibly ruining my reputation and writing career.
So, I took a step back. I needed to breathe. I got in touch with a beta reader on twitter, and asked my best friend, avid reader and fellow writer to critique my work. I had done this previously, but not properly, neglecting to ask for proper, tangible critique. Already, I feel so much lighter and excited to get feedback that will help me put everything into perspective again, just like Jane Friedman’s article.
A need for breathing space was the motivation for this website. I desired a creative outlet, an audience (no matter how anonymously quiet) to write to, and also a space for me to see my own progress, test new ideas, and just enjoy the process of writing, without deadlines or pointless pressures. My rush to meet my April 2019 deadline caused me to make silly, rookie mistakes, and set traps that I never thought I would fall into, seeing as though I’ve been reading and researching this whole writing and submitting thing for several years, even purchased the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook in 2012, all the while scoffing at the accounts of agents who had received submissions that were unfinished and not ready—and here I was, doing it all.
I’m going to give more love to this site. I love this blog, and I’m so happy I took the plunge to start writing on it. Sometimes I take my writing for granted, and I forget that all important things need time, and when the time is right, rewards are guaranteed. I would never rush into a marriage, or a business, or anything else—why would I rush the thing that means the most to me? I owe it to myself to enjoy this time of renewal, and to give agents my absolute best—why would I sell myself short?