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I’ve been on the writing roller coaster for quite some time now, having started the draft of my very first book in Spring of 2010. After a cross-country move and a third kid, I picked things back up in 2013 and since then have enjoyed the highs of signing with an agent, the lows of deciding to part ways and realizing just how brutal the query trenches can be, getting into Pitchwars in 2015 (with that very first book no less, though there were a few written in between!), not getting an agent with that project, winning reputable contests with a couple different manuscripts, but still finding that perfect agent match to be quite the elusive beast. I’ve had dozens of manuscript requests, a healthy smattering of revise and resubmits, and more rejections than I care to admit. But that’s all part of the game. And that’s what I’m talking about today.

Controlling what you can. Your writing.

I’ve been at this long enough to know that sometimes it feels like The Day will never come. Whether you’re waiting for an offer of representation or an offer from a publisher on your project, it often feels like the stars are aligning for everyone else and the Universe has somehow misplaced the memo about the hard work you’ve done to level up your writing and hone your craft. And those thoughts can drag you down into the depths of despair (ok, being a little melodramatic here, but some days it really DOES feel that way!).

That’s when you have to shift your focus to the ONE THING you can control. Your writing. All along this path to publication, and even after your babies are out in the world, there will be ups and downs. Your revisions aren’t quite there yet and there will be no offer of rep. Your agent moves to a new agency and has to trim his/her list, leaving you behind. Your editor leaves and your project is suddenly homeless. Your sales aren’t strong and a particular house may not want your next project. At every turn, there’s the possibility for setbacks.

One of my dearest CPs always says to me, this is a lifestyle choice. You have to take the good and the bad and focus on what you can control. Put your heart on the page and tell the best story you can. And keep doing that until YOUR stars align. Eventually, they will.

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