So in a truly surprising twist – I have some good news. And even before I type I’m wondering how best to downplay it, but we’ll get to that later, so here it is:
An agent has asked for my full manuscript.
For those who are like, ‘…what?’, I’m sorry to say that an agent asking for my full manuscript does not mean my book will be available in Waterstones by next Tuesday. BUT, it is a very hard to achieve first step down a road I have been trying to throw myself onto for ten years – so this is, without question, a VERY GOOD THING.
My initial reaction, in fact, was to click on the email I was fully expecting to be Rejection #2, see the words ‘full manuscript’ and be like:
I called my boyfriend and shrieked down the phone, realising when he asked me what the email said that I was so overcome with manic excitement I hadn’t even read it yet. I then called and sent messages to a motley collection of other people, and about two hours after I’d seen the email, suddenly had a thought:
‘What if I have to call all these people back in two weeks and tell them nothing came of it?’
And that – after a very ramble-y introduction – is the theme of this week’s post. How do you balance feeling overwhelmingly excited, self-satisfied, expectant and immensely hopeful with the knowledge that there is a very good chance this agent will email me back with the rejection I was expecting the first time?
If you’ve continued reading for an answer to that question, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you. I am treading new and volatile ground over a mental cesspit I’ve only just crawled out of, and my instinct is telling me to jump up and down.
So far my reaction to the news (which I received just under a week ago, at the time of writing) has been – shall we say – mixed. I spent a not-insignificant part of the evening following the email hysterically weeping for literally no reason, as if my body had released ten years worth of ‘mild success’ hormones.
Since then I’ve just sort of…carried on. It’s in the back of my mind all the time, but in the meanwhile there’s not much I can do except continue, and hope. And I don’t even know how much hope is good for me! Whenever I’ve told someone what’s happened and they’ve been kind and happy and excited back at me, my reflex is to tell them that this might mean nothing. But then I stomped to work, furious that I hadn’t been able to immediately quit and embark on the lifestyle to which I would like to become accustomed.
I imagine this post itself reads like the wordy ramblings of the Hulk. Are you angry / happy or not?!
And I really, really hope this post hasn’t sounded ungrateful. I am very happy – but I’m also acutely aware of the fact that my happiness on this matter is totally and completely outside of my control. I know that by the time you’re even reading this post, I could have taken another enormous step down that road I’ve so coveted – or I could be back at square one. I have no way of knowing, and I’m so scared of this ray of hope being snatched away from me that I’m kind of hiding it from myself; like if I don’t look at it too hard, maybe nobody will notice I have it and just leave it with me.
So, yeah. Apologies for the rambling this week – as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been having a hard enough time trying to corral my thoughts into any kind of sensible formation, never mind structuring a blog post around them! Ultimately what I’m trying to focus on is that even if I do end up back at square one, at least I know now that I’m not wasting my time. Even if only one agent at one time thought my story might be worth looking into – that is definitely progress, whatever the outcome, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
So after all that, I will leave you with an elegant explanation of my hope for the future:
Next Week’s Post: Backing gently away from unchecked emotion and towards actual productivity and usefulness, I’m going to expand on something I mentioned in my Rejection post and explain why I think working on something new at the same time as submitting something old is a top-notch way to cling grimly onto that sanity you’re so precious about.
Submissions Last Week
None at all, as I’ve given the agent who asked for my manuscript an exclusive look for a couple of weeks! And if you think I’m horrifically lazy enough to be thrilled at this accidental break…you would be exactly right.
Current Rejection Tally: 1