Posted by: Dennie | August 10, 2013

The Business of Writing

Writing is like starting a business. It takes guts, fortitude, patience, commitment, passion and most of all, love.

When my husband and I started a business a number of years ago, he had all those attributes, I had not one. Well, maybe guts.  I was the persuader.  He was hesitant to “jump” while I pushed to take the plunge.  The business barely got off the ground when he suffered some serious health issues that ultimately forced us to close. He’s doing well now, and is sure that we would have made it had his physical condition remained stable. But I’m not so convinced.  The business entailed food and as his partner, I lacked the enthusiasm and passion he has for preparation, creation and presentation.  “Feed the eye before you feed the palate,” he always says.  I say, just feed me.

I’m realizing more each day the importance of having all of the above traits to get this writing thing off the ground. I need to remain vigilant, and write every day, or as close to that goal as possible. It’s work. It’s preparation, creation and presentation. And sometimes it falls flat.

Last week I spent hours writing, rewriting, and editing a query for the magazine submission.   Nerve wracking, sweat dripping labor. When I thought it was the best it could be, I emailed it to the literary agent,  who I’ll refer to as “S.” I held my breath and waited. This time her response took two days.  And my stomach dropped.

“Dear Dennie,  This query needs to be rewritten….”  She continued with three additional sentences and four directives. But all I saw was the first. “This query needs to be rewritten.” I felt like I was going to throw up. She hates it. I suck. Why am I doing this? The competition out there is ridiculous. I’ll never…I won’t …I can’t.

I moped. I sulked. I felt sorry for myself. And then I got in touch with my friend Laurie. I sent her a copy of the email, telling her I was on a mental nose dive. And my good friend Laurie, who never minces words, replied, “She made some very good points! You have to develop a thick skin and be open to suggestions.” She then continued to give me a few more verbal kicks in the ass including “Get back to writing that letter. No one said it was going to be smooth sailing. You’re going to hit a big wave now and then. This is not a problem. It’s an adjustment of your sails.”

I love that woman.

So I stopped lamenting, reset the tapes inside my head and got back to work.

More nerve wracking, sweat dripping labor. Why do I love this so?  Because when I’m finished, it feels good. No, it feels great. Check that–sometimes it’s awesome. I’ve never loved work so much.

So next time I get knocked on my butt,  and I will, I need to remember this and just get right back up. Working on that thick skin thing.

Oh. And the outcome of my revised query to S?

“Somewhat better so get it out there.”

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