Confession: The problem with querying is that I never stop thinking about rejection.
I think I may be masochistic. And maybe a little bit twisted. Because here’s another confession:
The rejections make me feel kind of good.
Not really, really good (hell, no, they sting like a mo-fo). But a teensy bit good, because I can’t help but feel that every rejection I get is a small symbol of my efforts to succeed at the thing I want the most… even if that attempt failed. It means I’m trying. And you can’t get rejected unless you put yourself out there.
And oh boy, am I putting myself out there.
Writing about my rejections (somewhat gleefully, I might add) is my way of reminding myself that I wrote a novel and that I don’t think it’s terrible. Good enough to get published? No idea. But I definitely don’t believe it’s terrible, and that’s something. Just by having written it, I get to cross something off my bucket list.
But there’s a flip side, too.
As I watch the rejections for CREEP trickle in, I can feel myself getting a bit more cynical. A bit more jaded. A bit more anxious. And definitely more aware of the very likely possibility that This. May. Never. Happen.
In fact, it’s all I think about.
What I should be doing instead is writing the hell out of my next novel. There’s no reason not to. CREEP is finished, and MAGNOLIA is waiting for me. It’s outlined to the end, I’m 29k in, and I know the characters so well, I don’t think I’ll have to stress too much over the first draft. The story’s all there, it’s just a matter of writing it.
And I am writing it. Well, sorta. Little spurts here and there, but with nowhere near the aggression and inspired fury with which I wrote CREEP.
And why is this? Why am I not cranking out 1,000 edited words a day (which is my usual first draft quota)?
I. Can’t. Move.
I feel like I’m holding my breath all the time. Since this query process started (October 22), all I can think about is querying. Who to query, when to query, how to format the query. I’m constantly talking about the query. I’m checking my email ten times more than I normally would, and I jump every time I see a new message in my inbox. I wake up wondering who’s rejected me today, and I go to sleep wondering who’ll reject me tomorrow.
And it’s awful, awful, awful.
There is nothing healthy about this at all. I know better than to obsess about queries. I know obsessing about them won’t increase my chances of getting published. It most definitely won’t make me a better writer.
But yet I do obsess. I do I do I do. Querying has made me an obsessive FREAK, and any intention I had to be as cool as a cucumber during this process has been blown to smithereens.
I am the opposite of cool. I am so decidedly uncool that I’m embarrassed for anybody who knows me right now. You know the girl at your work who only talks about herself and her problems, so much so that when you see her coming, you hide?
I AM THAT GIRL! Run, people! Run!
I need to stop this obsession now. Because while I wait, holding my breath for something to happen, my life is passing me by. Precious time that could be spent improving my craft is being wasted on obsessive email-checking and researching agents I’ve already spent hours researching. I’m half-listening when Steve is talking to me. I’m checking my BlackBerry during dinner. I’m thinking about queries when I should be watching Grey’s Anatomy and fantasizing about McDreamy.
I need to snap out of it.
Somebody slap me, please.