Querying and submitting aren't exactly alike--the biggest difference, of course, is that you have an agent in your corner when you're on submission, someone whose expertise you get to borrow, someone who believes in you--but they're enough alike that I've been reflecting on both experiences lately. It's nice not to be on the front lines anymore, but because I'm not, I have a lot more time to ponder. Here are a few of the thoughts I've had:
As it turns out, Twitter was right--the waiting never ends. No matter where we are on the path to publication, we will have to wait (and wait and wait and wait, in all likelihood). I've blogged about waiting before, but it seems to be one of those perpetual issues in this industry:) And the waiting doesn't get easier, which means there's no time like the present to learn how to master it. (I'm still learning, by the way...)
No matter where we are on the path to publication, we're always in the middle. A recent article by Dieter F. Uchtdorf totally changed my perspective on the path to publication. If we're always in the middle, then we'll never be too inexperienced--or even too seasoned--to take the next step. I especially liked how he wrapped things up:
"Being always in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final. For no matter where we are or what our circumstances, an eternity of beginnings and an eternity of endings stretch out before us."
How's that for boundless optimism? :)
Real success takes time. I heard an awesome gardening analogy yesterday that totally made me think of writing. The speaker mentioned that her dad was an expert gardener and had been from the time that she was a little girl. When she was young, her favorite things to grow were radishes because they matured so quickly. At twenty-one days from planting to harvest, they are the garden-plot equivalent of instant gratification.
Then there's the watermelon. You wait weeks to see the seedlings sprout, then baby the young plants along through the heat of summer, then hope and pray the fruit reaches maturity before the first frost hits. In other words, they're much more labor-intensive and require months and months of effort. But they also taste a heck of a lot better than radishes.
Now I don't know what your watermelon-like success looks like, and I'm certainly not saying that all of us should be shooting for the same thing. What I am saying is that, whatever our watermelon is, that's what we should be shooting for. I mean, who wants to settle for radishes when there are watermelons on the table?
And with that, I think I'll go and find a snack...