satisfaction, ever elusive

I want to mention something that just popped into my over-worked brain that writers and agents have in common. Good writers and good agents, that is.

We are never satisfied.

I have a lot of those kinds of writers on my list. They actively work to hone the craft side of their writing. And work. And work. Each book has to be better than the last one. They have forward-thinking goals. They think big. They dream big. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword: everything is always about the next sale. Plateaus are hell. I have that in common with them too. And it’s something to watch out for as one traverses an industry so full of pitfalls. That drive needs to be tempered on every level. Otherwise one doesn’t appreciate what one has already accomplished. Which I suppose is a lesson that applies to more than just writers and agents. I should count my blessings. So, when I’m frustrated because a book I love hasn’t sold yet (and why the *##!@& not!) or I’m antsy for the next offer or the submissions are a mountain that makes Kilimanjaro look more attainable or I feel (after reading a giant pile of queries where nothing clicked) that I am running in place, I need to dial that back. I should try to remember when I hadn’t sold any books yet, or when the pile of paper on the floor was much, much higher (once upon a time it was). It’s so easy to get stuck on these things. There are so many of those aforementioned pitfalls especially on the writer side… but on the agent one too…

5 responses to “satisfaction, ever elusive

  1. Otherwise one doesn’t appreciate what one has already accomplished.
    This happened to me. I would advise against it.

  2. It’s probably better than “Hey, I’ve reached the point where I can do this in my sleep.”
    A number of writers whose early work I like reached that point.

  3. It’s nice to know we’re not alone in the drive, the urge and perpetual submission to need.

  4. Thanks
    I, too, remember when I had sold no books – not overly difficult, since it’s now…
    As you say, this business is full of pitfalls on the writing side, not the least of which is the little death we all die when we receive those sensitively-crafted ‘not-for-you’ notices agents send out (we just call them *##!@& rejections)when you haven’t fallen in love with our Work.
    Writers always refer to the outpouring of their souls as The Work, because, as I’m sure you know, we all have an ego the size of Jupiter. We can’t imagine why any, or all agents don’t chase us down the street waving contracts; this is The Work we are talking about, after all. The Next Great American Novel, or whatever.
    We collect these rejections as badges of honor, scars received in battle, and display them proudly to one another in writer’s forums, where we congratulate one another on the receipt of yet another in the long list of heartbreaks (No, this agent didn’t love The Work, either…).
    Depressing.
    But one phrase keeps cropping up when agents talk baout their jobs, and you used it in this particular blog, when you talked about a ‘book you loved’. I thank you for using it; as a first-time novelist, I know it will be be difficult(!) to attract an agent and an acquisitions editor. But, since I believe my Work is good enough to be published (ever met a writer that didn’t?), I keep on looking for that one agent who will ‘fall in love’ with it. They are out there somewhere. Maybe in Montana.
    So, thanks for the encouragement. I wish I could return the favor, but I don’t honestly think the pile of paper on your desk is going to get smaller. Sorry…
    Zonk

  5. Had to share this:
    From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: those
    who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and those who bleed
    copiously and secretly at any bad review.
    -Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)
    Thought you and your crew would appreciate!

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