January 2-8 is official “Someday We’ll Laugh About This” week. In honor of the occasion, here’s something I look back on with gratitude:
In 2004 I decided to get serious about writing. I finished my first manuscript and submitted it to a writing competition. Although I didn’t win, the manuscript placed in the finals – which earned me 3 requests from agents who wanted to see the entire manuscript.
Six weeks later I received a telephone call from one of the agents who requested the novel.
It was THE CALL!! I could barely contain my excitement.
Except … it wasn’t THE CALL. The agent actually called to say she’d decided not to sign me. The manuscript wasn’t ready for publication. However, this agent (I won’t mention her name) had decided to call me anyway, to explain where my writing needed improvement.
Our phone call lasted 90 minutes. She was kind, but also completely honest – which meant I heard some very difficult things. Things like “your characters are one-dimensional,” and “you need to pay more attention to the details of your historical setting.”
I hung up the phone with my dreams in a thousand pieces but my hopes very much alive. A publishing professional had seen enough potential in me to offer help. I resolved to prove that her time and effort had not been wasted.
Nine years, five hundred thousand words and five manuscripts later, I look back on that call and smile.
Sometimes life hands out hard lessons. The question is whether or not you’re stubborn enough to keep pushing through.
Because if you are, no matter how hard the lesson, eventually you’ll get where you’re going – and smile.