You start writing.
You start writing, and you keep writing until, one day, you realize you actually did it.
You wrote a novel.
You wrote a novel, which you suspect might be good because the people who read it–smart people, maybe other writers; or bright, savvy people whom you trust implicitly–they read it and tell you, This is good.
And if you’re really lucky, those smart, generous people give you suggestions on how to make your good novel better. And if you’re smart, you consider those suggestions, consider the hell out those suggestions.
If you’re really, really smart, you act on those suggestions, take a deep breath and then, do the work; whatever it takes to mold and hone your novel into something better than good. Maybe really good.
You query, and you don’t stop querying, not after that 10th rejection, or the 25th, or 50th because people are telling you–really smart, talented people who’ve got your back, who love the way you write, who fell in love with your novel and your characters–those people are telling you not to give up, to keep trying to find that one agent who will fall in love with your little novel, and take a chance, take it on. . .
You find that one agent.
Sometimes, as in this writer’s case, luck and serendipity come into play. Maybe, in your case, serendipity had something to do with it, serendipity and luck and perseverance and all that other good stuff. And if it actually happens–if it really, really happens–you thank your lucky stars that you didn’t give up, that you made it this far, that he is taking a chance on you and your novel and you know, you know, you’re one step closer because you have an agent now.
You have an agent. And your smart and savvy agent reads your novel again, and then again, and then he offers suggestions on how to make your good novel even better and you know you have to seriously look at your beloved little novel without love this time; but rather, with cold objectivity . . . you know you need to do that.
You do that, and send it back.
And then, you wait.
Whilst I wait, I am thinking about process and product. In this writing business, they go hand-in-hand. And the former won’t end unless, or until, the latter is a reality. A thing. Something to hold and cherish. Something maybe others will love as much as you loved it, as much as your betas loved it, and your agent, and your beloved husband and your mom and sisters and your dear, dear friends–
Process and product, dancing. A beautiful, awful dance. When it works, nothing is better. When it doesn’t, nothing is worse. Such is the writer’s mantra. Suffer the former, hope for the latter. Open your laptop, take a deep breath and