Ever have one of those days when all of your planning and preparation and hard work seem to go up in smoke? A day when it's much, much easier to just throw your hands up in submission and resign to try again another day? I liken these particular days to preparing a much-anticipated recipe that goes horribly wrong. You've got your instructions, you've gathered your ingredients, you've weighed and measured your necessary portions and you've got the oven set to the proper pre-heated temperature. What could possibly go wrong? Read more after the break.
One thing. That's all it takes is one thing. It could be dyslexia causing you to set the wrong oven temperature, or mistaking a teaspoon for a tablespoon or melting a stick of butter in the microwave only to forget to add it to your batch of cookie dough (ahem). The point is, all your hard work and good intentions can be derailed by one little thing that may or may not be under your control. So what do you do about it?
Breathe. Shake it off. Move on. Save your fight for another day. It's all right to admit that "today's just not my day" and tackle it another time. Today is that day for me. Last time, I mentioned that I was entering two of my books into Miss Snark's First Victim's 2012 Baker's Dozen Auction. I know, it's a mouthful. Basically, authors submit a portion of either their adult or YA/MG manuscript (or both, like I did) and, if chosen, their writing will be inspected by a number of established literary agents who will then bid on how much of a particular manuscript they would like to read. Sounds great, right? The only issue is making it past the gatekeepers of the process who weed through the hundreds of submissions to narrow it down to only 60. Three guesses on which pile my submissions ended up in.
There are two ways to react to this: I could be all bitter and gnash my teeth and stomp around raging about the unfairness of this highly subjective process and the fact that submitting costs money and blah blah blah. Or I can take it as a lesson, to remember that attracting the attention of a literary agent is a subjective process itself and they're scanning through hundreds of submissions a day for something to catch their eye. If my projects weren't enticing enough to be selected for a 1 in 10 chance, then perhaps they're simply not strong enough to survive a 1 in 100 or more pool. (The flip side of this is that for one agent out there in the ether, my particular project might just happen to be exactly what they're looking for, ie the definition of subjectivity.)
While it's crappy that I'll be participating in the Baker's Dozen Auction from the outside rather than the inside (and oh man am I going to be extra critical on those entries that made it in), it's all a part of the process. Everything is a learning experience, it's just that some are more pleasant than others. But I've always been the type to fight harder for something I'm told I can't do; whether that's a strength or a detriment remains to be seen. All I know is, with the holidays coming up, just remember to keep your patience, prepare yourselves as best you can and double-check the oven temperature:
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!