A few years ago, I heard Madeline Hunter speak at a conference about the dangers of being "almost there." She warned that sometimes, authors find themselves on the brink of publication, so close and yet not quite there yet, those aspiring authors who place or win contests, who final in the Golden Heart, or have their full manuscripts repeatedly requested by agents or publishers only to eventually receive the final rejection letter. She even knew a woman who won the Golden Heart twice and then stopped writing altogether when she still had trouble publishing.
I thought, what a great problem to have! At least winning contests or having your ms. requested means you have talent and you're doing something right. Right?
Well, now I understand the frustration of being "almost there." I finally put together a website for myself, and one page I devoted to the 3 ms. I've finished since 2001 and the agents/houses who had requested full ms. In total, over 10. Great! But every one ended in a rejection. Hmm. Not so great, after all.
My yoga teacher tells our class we should be happy with where we are and not worry about where we're trying to get. That may be fine when you're talking about touching your knees while reaching for your toes, but what about capturing that elusive first sale? Impatient overachiever that I am, I want to reach my toes. I want to reach beyond them! I want to sell that first ms. I want an agent request to end with a phone call rather than a form letter.
Almost there...it's a frustrating place to be. I guess I have to remind myself that the journey is part of the process too, and that the learning curve can sometimes be much, much longer that we expect it to be.