I don’t know if I can really explain all the thoughts swirling through my mind, so I apologize in advance if this just sounds like a mess.
As you may have seen, I turned 30 recently. This birthday called for some self-reflection, but even before the new decade I was starting to notice differences in myself. Some of which scare me a little and I am not entirely sure how to process.
First off, I have spent the past few years working on a novel that I want to be the novel I start my young adult writing career with. I recently queried four agents and one editor for said novel, and after two quick no’s (one which gave detailed feedback) and receiving feedback from the most recent SCBWI Midsouth conference, I realized it wasn’t quite as ready as I thought it was. Still. After so much time. I went back to the drawing board.
Yet life has interrupted a lot. I mean, yes, there are definitely times I could have sat down and edited and I didn’t. I won’t promise I have used all of my time efficiently, but I also can’t deny that I have legitimately been a lot more busy lately with responsibilities that currently take precedence over writing.
My reading time has suffered too. I’ve read hardly any outside my lunch hour at work, and even that reading has been truncated with errands or going out to eat or catching up with work. Oh, and then let’s not talk about the fact that I’m suddenly feeling kind of worn out on YA, which feels kind of problematic when that’s when I want to write. I’m not sure what has caused this exactly, but sometimes I wonder if it’s that number 30. I have always firmly believed that you can read YA until you’re 100 if you want to, so why these sudden feelings?
But maybe it is just burn-out. Because then today I went to Barnes and Noble to explore not my typical YA section, but the children’s section. I browsed all the picture books to find the perfect ones to get for my friends’ daughter’s upcoming birthday and it was just wonderful. I knew it wasn’t literature geared for me, but seeing just the delightful concepts and the art and the creativity was a breath of fresh air.
And really my whole day was like that, doing things outside my routine. Going out for breakfast. Going to a local coffee shop. Things like that. All in a cooler temp we haven’t gotten much of lately. It’s been a refreshing day overall. (Except when I came home and opened boxes I’ve neglected for months and remembered how much crap I have that I need to get rid of. HA.)
Back to my novel though, I’ve been worried lately that I’m not going to make it work. But I don’t want to give up before querying more because I have only queried 5 freaking people and I haven’t even heard back from 3 of them (though with the amount of time that has passed that’s not promising). There is still a chance. But I’ve already been hit with self-doubt. They aren’t kidding when they talk about perseverance being the key to getting published. If I lose hope that quickly it’s not going to happen. I do have to keep going.
But I think it’s OK to step back sometimes and do things outside the norm. Maybe I should spend a little time on a new story, read something other than YA, and just do different life things in general. Earthbound will still be there when I’m ready for it. It really is OK if I don’t get an agent this year or next year, and I have to remember that. It’s even OK if I change my mind (if I do it FOR REAL and not because I’m scared… but after changing all my social media names to have YA in them I would kind of like to stick to that, ha ha). Sometimes priorities change and that’s OK so long as you’re not neglecting the most important things, like family.
So no, I don’t know where I’m going exactly. But I know that the not-knowing is not something to be scared about. It’s important to hustle, but it’s also extremely important to rest. So for now, I just may need to reset.