I’m currently being battered in the query trenches. I’ve sent 32 queries, had three requests for more material, am waiting for 6 more responses, and been rejected by the rest. These are low numbers compared to my previous system of throwing out 80+queries per book and seeing what sticks, but the punches are hitting harder this time. I am tired.
Odds of landing an agent are low, which I talked about in this previous post, but it also feels like everything is a dumpster fire. Writer Twitter is in a meltdown right now. There have been reports of literary agencies mistreating their clients, even dropping writers via email while their books are out on submission. Harper Collins workers were on a months-long strike. There is a screenwriters strike happening as I type this. If I hadn’t started down this path so many years ago, would I look at this industry right now and think, yeah, I should do this…?
Truth is, I just really really really love books. And deep down, I know I was always meant to be a writer. If I’m feeling battered but have no plans to walk away, it just means I need to get stronger.
My mental fortitude is almost inseparable from my physicality. If I feel strong, I am strong. A lot of this message ties back to athletic identity and pressure cultivating my self-worth from a young age, and it probably isn’t the best way of handling the emotional turmoil of the writing world, but I’m doing what I can. A person’s body is not their worth, OBVIOUSLY. I’m just referring to my own coping mechanisms when I’m feeling fragile. Out of my control: the market, an agent’s client load, an editor’s pre-existing bad mood the morning my book crosses their desk. Within my control: how much weight I can squat.
Consequently, I’ve been upping my workouts while pitching this book, and that progress is helping me through this career stagnancy. My burning muscles remind me that I can do hard things. I am strong enough to keep going.