Showing posts with label Inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inspiration. Show all posts

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Pitch Wars Inspiration Story

When the Pitch Wars mentor picks went live, I was sitting on my couch frantically refreshing my browser along with the rest of the mentee hopefuls who had (naturally) broken Brenda's site the moment she hinted at posting the list. My husband very calmly asked me what the website was and proceeded to look it up on his iPad.

Me: "C'MON! LOAD!"
Husband: "Honey, I've got the list."
Me: "I've almost got it! It's loading!"
Husband: "HONEY, I'VE GOT THE LIST."

As soon as I looked up and saw his face, I knew what he was going to say next. (Although it took me a whole heck of a lot longer to really believe it.)

"Your name is on it!"

And thus began two of the coolest, craziest months ever. They've gone something like this...



I've learned so much from my mentor, Kara Seal. (Seriously, you guys, she's the BEST EVER.) And I've gained the most incredible community of writers, ready and willing to lend encouragement and support every step of the way. This experience is something I will never forget, and I know I will continue to reap the benefits of what I've learned and the people I've connected with for years to come. 

On Tuesday (which, by the way, also happens to be my 30th birthday) all our super-shiny, newly polished novels will get their first peek at the world when our pitches and excerpts go live on Brenda's blog. To distract ourselves from the looming agent-round jitters, some of us mentees are doing a blog-hop to share our experiences and the inspirations behind our novels. In my middle grade novel, FOLLOW ME, twelve-year-old Alivia Hart searches the woods for her missing mother and finds a family tree full of secrets that lead to a place called Wonderland. And here's how it started...

The idea for FOLLOW ME began with a setting. I had just finished watching the movie EPIC with my kids and as the credits rolled, I couldn't stop thinking about the magical world inside the forest, where good battled evil and a darkness threatened to destroy everything from the inside out. I knew I wanted to write a book with a setting like that--dark and mysterious, with just a bit of creepiness around the edges. When I'm planning a novel, flashes of scenes play in my mind, like clips from a movie trailer. I kept picturing a girl, standing in front of an open window, shivering in the cold while she waited for something...

A wind from the woods. 

Carrying a voice. 

A mother's voice. Whispering, "Follow me..."

When I first started plotting the book, I had no intention of connecting my story to Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. But then I had an idea for a scene that required my main character, Alivia, to have the same first initial as her mother. The first A name that popped into my head was Alice. And then I thought...

"What if her mother is THE Alice?"

I love Alice's adventures--they were the start of my classic children's books phase as a preteen--so it was easy to get excited about the direction that idea took me. And the rest of the pieces fell into place from there! (Okay, so there was a lot of hard work and crying and pleading and it felt more like forcefully jamming the pieces into place at times, but it's all good now and if I've gone a little mad in the process it's okay, because all the best people are, right?) 

So that's the story behind my story! You can find links to some of the other mentees' posts here

To all my fellow mentees: You guys are an amazing group of crazy talented people and I can't wait to have a whole bookcase full of your stories! I'll be cheering on each and every one of you in the agent round!

More Pitch Wars:



Monday, August 18, 2014

A New Day

In my last post I talked about the joys of waiting...  

You send your manuscript, finally complete after months and months of grueling labor, to a magazine/publisher/agent...and then you wait. But...there are no guarantees. Sure, you could be waiting for that hallelujah-angel-chorus moment of acceptance. But you could also end up with that heartbreaking, pass-the-tissues-and-the-Ben-&-Jerry's-please rejection.

On Friday I was on my way out the door to run errands with a car full of kids and had just picked up my cell phone when I heard that adrenaline-inducing, new-email chime. I looked at the screen, saw the sender's address and my heart skipped a beat as I opened it and got my answer...



I haven't posted many details about this particular part of my writing journey which has been happening over the last few months, because in my opinion (and in the general opinion of writers and writerly professionals everywhere, if I'm not mistaken) it's not in good taste to kiss and tell, as it were, when querying. My writer's group, of course, knows all the nitty gritty details, but the long and short of it is this: I had a nibble on my novel query, sent an agent my manuscript, and after one phone call and several emails, sat back and waited to find out whether or not said agent would sign me.

In the end it was a no. A very sweet, very complimentary no, but a no nonetheless.

Honestly, I expected to feel crushed. Maybe even cry a little. Instead I found myself remarkably non-hysterical. In fact--dare I say it?--I felt relieved. Through this whole process I've grown and learned so much and received some invaluable encouragement and advice. Now I had my answer, and while it wasn't the answer I would have preferred, at least I knew that door was closed and the time had come to go knockin' on some new ones. So, I allowed myself the Ben and Jerry's (because you don't pass up the perfect excuse for indulging in tiramisu flavored ice-cream) and a good 20 minutes of pursuing the latest issue of Glamour (because Olivia Wilde) and then proceeded to stay up til almost midnight submitting my manuscript to Pitch Wars. And you know what? I think it's the most triumphant I've ever felt hitting "send".

After all, a dream isn't a very good dream if it's not worth fighting for, no?

Earlier last week, I bookmarked this quote for a future Picture Quote Monday and I think it's perfect for today. (Thank you to my friend Jacqui of Simply Jacqui Photography for the use of her photo). Here's hoping for some of that magic.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Slow and Steady

My new novel is coming along, slowly but surely. I've been trying to remember that whether I end the day with 500 or 2000 words, any amount is progress and I should be proud of that. This week the ever-so-lovely Kelli Trontel (one of the coolest, most inspiring ladies I know) released her monthly collaboration with Thorn +Sparrow, and this month's desktop/iPhone wallpaper was exactly what I needed to help inspire me as I continue pushing through my first draft. It's the perfect reminder to take things one day at a time, and that all these little chapters will eventually come together to make something awesome.

So for this week's Picture Quote Monday, head on over to Kelli's blog and snag some of that inspiration for yourself!




Monday, January 27, 2014

Picture Quote Monday {It Couldn't Be Done}

I missed putting up a picture quote last week because the entire family decided to come down with a nasty head cold ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It's bad enough when the kids are sick, but when both parents are feeling miserable on top of it...double the not so fun. But thankfully, after much pitiful lounging about on the couch and the disinfecting of all surfaces, we are on the mend and here I am, up way too late on a Sunday night to bring you your picture quote.

Recently I was having an email conversation with someone, discussing the difficulty in selling pirate-themed picture books and picture books in rhyme. Then she said it didn't surprise her that I was attempting to write the impossible - a trio of rhyming pirate picture books. To which she said: BRING THEM ON! And she wrote it just like that, in all caps. It made me exceedingly happy.

I'd like to think that there's a little of the White Queen in all of us, if only we, too, would dare to believe in six impossible things before breakfast. When I came across this jaunty poem, I knew I had to share it. It can't be done? Psh. Do it anyway. Because the only thing that's sure to fail is the thing that's left undone.

Did that make any sense? I think I need to go to bed.






Monday, January 6, 2014

Whatever

I don't know about you, but when it comes to the daily to-do list, I have a tendency to focus on all the things I haven't accomplished, rather than all the things I have.

For instance, I spent a good portion of this morning worrying over the fact that I haven't posted anything on the blog in two weeks. I mean, that's terrible blog etiquette. I missed a prime opportunity to start off the new year with a blogging bang. I really should be more prepared with these things. Maybe I need to add "be more organized" to my list of New Year's Resolutions Goals.

But then I looked at the quote that I meant to post last week (but of course never got around to) and I was reminded of one of things I actually do want to be better at this year.


In the last 14 days I've celebrated Christmas and rung in a new year, visited with family, learned how to play Farkle, worked on several graphic design projects, spent time with good friends, scored an awesome pair of shoes on clearance, watched my husband and son put together over a thousand Lego bricks, discussed wedding plans with my future sister-in-law, played about twenty games of Sorry! with my kids, and wrote and/or edited almost every single day. The house has been moderately clean, the bills have been paid, the laundry has been washed (if not put away), and all persons and cats have been fed.

That's a lot of awesome. The fact that I didn't put up a blog post doesn't seem like that big of a deal when compared with all the things I did do.

With 2014 ahead of us, all shiny and new and ripe with possibility, it's good to remember that one year is made up of 365 days. In the midst of setting goals and making resolutions, let's have grace with ourselves and our days--especially when they don't go as planned. Because there really is more to life than what makes it on the to-do list.



Monday, November 18, 2013

The Day I Almost Quit

It's noon and I still haven't put up today's blog post. Why?

Because I almost quit last night.

The last two weeks have been filled with some serious ups and downs. This year's NaNoWriMo project is not going easy on me. Some days the words have flowed well, but most days it's been an uphill struggle to keep moving forward. Not necessarily because the story isn't there, but because I'm not meeting my own expectations. Last year, I averaged 2,300 words a day and I was in love with my story. I knew exactly where I was going next, and the snags were few. This year, I'm lucky to meet the required daily 1,667 by midnight each night, I have no idea what to do in my next scene, and my entire story seems like one gigantic tangled mess.

I was hoping that last year's finished novel would be some sort of magical line in my writing career. Beyond this line, everything would be easier. Every first draft would be gold. Every story and character would be loved and cherished through the entire process.

Or something like that.

Instead: Reality. In all honesty, I knew it would be hard. No dream is ever easy to reach. No passion ever really reaches perfection. There's always more learning and growing and hard work to be done, even after harvest. But I was completely unprepared for how difficult this month would be. It seems my fifth NaNoWriMo is shaping up to be my most difficult. Last night, after ignoring my novel for as long as I could (it's only 36 days 'til Christmas--I HAD to finish crocheting that stocking), I finally sat down at 10:30pm and coughed up 1,000 words before giving up an hour later.

And then I tried to convince myself of all the reasons why it was okay if I gave up completely.

After all, I've chalked up four NaNoWriMo wins--that's not too shabby. We're all allowed to have an unfinished year, right? Why should I waste my time on a story I'm not enjoying? A story that will probably end up in the trash bin anyway.

And there was the truth. Or, should I say, the lies.

The story isn't good enough. 
I'm not good enough.
I'm wasting my time.

I went to bed discouraged and defeated--and while we're being real--with a soggy pillow.

But thankfully, dark nights are often followed by mornings of clarity. I was reading some sample chapters of an upcoming novel from one of my favorite authors (I'll be sharing those pages with you in a couple weeks, so stayed tuned for more info on that!) and I had a thought. It's a thought I've had many times before that has always given me new life when I'm in the writing dumps.

This book is made of words. Simple, everyday words put into sentences, put into paragraphs, put into chapters to make a book. The story is beautiful, well written, intricate. But it all begins with just...words.

I like words. I can handle that. I can do that.

So I sat at my computer and wrote 300 more words this morning. They might not be perfect, they might get thrown to the cutting room floor come December. But if I want to be a writer, I must be willing to risk the imperfect first draft. The messed up timeline. The characters who aren't sure who they are yet. The villains who seem undefeatable.

Because I don't want to be the person who missed out on a great story because she quit in the first draft. I don't want to be the person who misses out on future possibilities because I focused on present difficulties. My story might not make it to 50,000 words (it is a children's book after all, and I'm focused on the 35K-45K range) but I don't want to stop before THE END.


So, as a reminder for myself and anyone else who needs it, here's today's picture quote.




Monday, August 26, 2013

Picture Quote Monday {Learning}

In honor of back-to-school week in our house, a reminder to never stop learning.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Picture Quote Monday {Say}

I've come across the same bit of advice several times from different sources over the last couple of weeks. In my own words, the advice is this: Don't write the book you think will sell. Write the book you want to write; the book that's longing to be written. Because my book isn't in the vein of current trends, I've struggled with the fear that it's too hard of a sell and that I'll never find an agent/publisher who will catch my vision and want to take it on. But at the end of the day, I have to remind myself that I wrote a book that came from my heart. I wrote the book I was supposed to write. It wasn't a waste of time and it wasn't a foolish decision. And I hope - and believe - that somewhere out there is an agent (and a publisher) who is going to fall in love with it.

So for those of you struggling with the idea of writing outside the box, or wondering where you fit in this writing world, be encouraged. Say what you have to say.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Own It

Last week someone said to me, "So you're an author?" It threw me for a second because most people who ask about this ask if I'm a writer. I'd never had someone ask me if I was an author. I mustered up all the courage I owned and forced a hesitant-yet-hopefully-confident "yeah" through my lips. Then I promptly chickened out and backtracked. "Well, I haven't published a book yet. Right now I'm in the process of trying to get an agent for my children's book." My gaze darted to the door where I was sure the writing police were about to burst through, ticket for false identification in hand. I squeaked out a quick defense of my earlier affirmation: "But I have had some short stories published in a few magazines!" So much for confidence.

After having conversations with other writers and reading blog posts and Twitter feed comments, I've come to realize I'm not the only one who has a hard time labeling who I am as a writer. In fact, there seems to be a trend--a pattern to the words we use to describe ourselves, depending on our level of confidence and/or perceived accomplishments.

When we first venture into the writing world we tend to define ourselves as "aspiring writers". This is the newbie level. We walk by the exclusive Writer's Club and we can see the bright lights and smell the freshly published books and hear whispers of 5-star reviews. We cast longing glances toward the line of people waiting to get through the door and say to ourselves, "Someday..."

Fast forward a few short stories and a couple of NaNoWriMos later, and we get brave, drop the "aspiring" and move up to just "writer". Writing is something we love doing, and we do it often enough to be (somewhat) comfortable allowing ourselves the title. At last we feel like we've reached a high enough word count and taken enough classes or read enough craft books to sneak to the back of the line. But then panic sets in because suddenly there's a rumor cascading down the queue that only authors are allowed through the door and you don't know if you're an author yet and you can only shuffle closer and closer to the door with anxious pulse and sweating hands and hope your name's on the bouncer's ultra secret clip board because who really knows where the point is that you cross the threshold from "writer" to "author" and who makes that decision anyway? And the closer you get to the door, the more you convince yourself that you should just step out of the line and wait until your name graces the cover of a book inside a real Barnes and Noble and you can bring it along as proof that you really are what you consider yourself to be deep down inside.

*deep breath and...exhale*

Here's the reality: There's no difference between being a writer and being an author. Merriam-Webster's definition of author is this:
1 :one that originates or creates
2 : the writer of a literary work 
By definition, you are the author of anything you have written. Therefore, I am an author. And I'm hoping the more I repeat that to myself, the easier it will be to simply answer, "yes" the next time someone asks. (So if you see me mumbling to myself, don't worry, it's just a confidence building exercise.)

Now some of you may hesitate to even go so far as to call yourself a writer, much less an author. As if you have to be published (aka getting paid) in order to lay claim to that title. But I say, NAY! I became a mother the moment my first child entered the world. I don't have to put in 10 quality years of child rearing, or wait until my daughter successfully graduates from college in order to earn the title of Mom. (And last time I checked, I'm not getting a paycheck.) The moment you wrote down that first idea, that first line--the moment you birthed your story--you became a writer.

Own it.

Because the bouncer isn't there to check if someone else put you on the list. He's there to see if you'll put yourself on the list. He's there to ask one question.

Are you a writer? Are you an author?

Whether or not you get in is entirely up to you.
  


Check out these great posts for more encouragement on owning your writer/author label:

Don’t Eat the Butt–Lies that Can Poison Our Writing Career #1 - Kristen Lamb (one of my favorite bloggers)

When Should You Start Calling Yourself an Author?

- See more at: http://authoritypublishing.com/book-publishing/when-should-you-start-calling-yourself-an-author/#sthash.LsW6Zk8o.dpuf

When Should You Start Calling Yourself an Author?

When Should You Start Calling Yourself an Author?

- See more at: http://authoritypublishing.com/book-publishing/when-should-you-start-calling-yourself-an-author/#sthash.LsW6Zk8o.dpuf



Monday, August 12, 2013

Picture Quote Monday {Courage}

And we're back! After a refreshing family vacation, I'm (almost) ready for the craziness of the fast approaching school year to begin. I can sense adventure on the horizon, and I'm ready to move ahead with courage and excitement. Hope this gives you some inspiration for your week!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Picture Quote Monday {Striking Out}

I love this quote from Babe Ruth. A good rule of thumb to live by. 
Step up to the plate and take a swing this week. You might just knock it out of the park.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Oh Hello, Irony

There are times when the truth slaps you with a load of irony.

It goes something like this: First you're like, "whoa", and then there's this awkward moment when you realize you're going to have to admit you were wrong, and then you do and you feel SO much better.

At least, that's been my experience.

You may recall a post I wrote a couple weeks ago involving unicorns and writer's block. Well, the reason I was so desperate to overcome my creatively stuck position, was because something awesome was about to start and I had made a goal--a goal which I had shared with a major author and a couple thousand people.

Let's flashback a bit and this will make more sense...

Earlier this month, I responded to a blog post by Jon Acuff, in which he gave a Safety Not Guaranteed-esque call to those willing to go on an unspecified adventure. If you were willing to embark on said adventure, without knowing any details, you were to email him your name and mailing address. And in true clandestine fashion, the blog post was set to self-destruct in 24 hours.

Thus began the Start Experiment. A group of individuals from all over the world, taking a chance and ultimately being grouped together to encourage and assist one another in the pursuit of a dream or a goal, punching fear in the face in the process. One of the first things we were asked was what we were each willing to risk--what would our goal (to be moved toward over the course of 24 days) be? I immediately knew what mine would be: To write the first draft of my second novel.

Hence the need to be able to actually write.

The entire foundation of Jon's experiment, and the theme of his latest book, START, is that fear needs to be overcome in order for you to move toward your goal. So I was going to overcome the fear of stalling out, the fear of not being able to write, the fear of running out of ideas. Fear was going down!

And then a funny thing happened on the way to the fear smack-down. After coming out of the first week of the experiment with a super lame word-count, I had an epiphany. I suddenly realized that my risk was actually driven by fear. 

Helloooo, Irony.

You see, I finished editing and polishing my first children's novel in May, and queried my first agent the beginning of June. And instead of taking time to celebrate my accomplishment and focus on getting an agent/getting published, I immediately put a huge bunch of pressure on myself to write a second book. I convinced myself that one book wasn't enough to make an agent feel I was worth his/her time, that I needed to at least have a second one started to prove I was a real author and not a one-hit wonder. 

And then I wondered why I felt stressed-out, overwhelmed, uninspired and generally unhappy with my writing.

And so, after a jolly good laugh, irony and I parted ways and I took a new path. Now my risk is pursuing my dream of getting published by focusing on my finished book and preparing more queries to send out in the next couple of weeks. I've created a neatly ordered list of agents that I would love to have represent me, and I'm going to start tailoring my individual queries next week. I'm also continuing to write by working on some picture book ideas that I've been cultivating. This has been much less stressful and--hallelujah!--FUN. And come November, I will happily don my novel writing hat once more and leap into the literary abandon of my fifth NaNoWriMo. Until then, I will pour my heart and soul into a project fueled by hopes and dreams, not fear.

So, in case that was a lot to follow, here's a quick recap:

Fear 0 - Ashley 1


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Small Things {July Edition}

Sometimes it's the little things. Here's the stuff I'm loving this month...

Little Red Chair

You may remember I mentioned my friend Chelsea and her blog, Little Red Chair, in the very first Picture Quote Monday post. Well, Chelsea recently re-vamped her blog and started a "Lessons From" series. Her first two greats: Julia Child, and Emily Dickinson. Have I mentioned I adore this girl? Check out all her beautiful (and delicious) posts, including the orange zest bundt cake recipe, which immediately went on my must-bake list. And while you're at it, like her Facebook page to see all the incredible skills this girl has when it comes to renovating and decorating.




Housewife Gadgetry

This is probably the peak of housewifely nerdiness, but I'm in love with my new in-sink dishrack. Gone are the days of having a dish towel covered in a precarious stack of dripping, non-dishwasher-safe dinner and drinkware taking up counter space. Think me lame if you will, but I'm the type of person who has a hard time relaxing if my house is messy, and dishes are at the top of my super-annoying-must-clean-up-now list. The fact that this allows me to dry the hand-wash only items without cluttering up my kitchen makes me ridiculously happy.




Quitting Stuff

A week ago, myself and about 2000 other people embarked on an adventure in the form of an online social experiment by none other than Jon Acuff, author of START. The Start Experiment is all about taking risks and pursuing individual goals in an encouraging and supportive group environment. I'll be posting more about the experiment and my goal later in the week, but I wanted to share one of the recent daily challenges. Jon asked us to make a "quit list" of 3-5 things we could each quit doing that would open up more time, energy, or hope for our dreams. My list? Quit worrying. Quit exhausting myself. Quit being insecure. Since taking steps toward implementing these three things, my happiness level has definitely gone up. Even my husband commented on how much less stressed I've been. Who knew quitting could be such a good thing?

What about you? In the midst of a busy summer, what helps you slow down and just enjoy life?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Picture Quote Monday {Sail}

Today's picture quote is one of my favorite Twain quotes. Thanks to my friend Jacqui for letting me use her stunning photo! You can see more of her work at her website, Simply Jacqui Photography.


Friday, July 12, 2013

On Unicorns, Rainbows, and Rest


I came across this photo in my Facebook feed last week (courtesy of The Institute of Children's Literature), and I couldn't help but breath a giant sigh of relief. Which was immediately followed by a torrent of doubt. But so many other people say you have to work through it. Write every day even if it sucks. Write yourself out of writer's block! Don't stop, no matter what!

For weeks I felt like I was beating my head against a wall with my current work-in-progress. I just couldn't seem to get back to that beautiful place of writerly bliss. You know, the place where I sit down and look at the blank screen and suddenly the story begins to flow effortlessly and the words stack up as my fingers fly across the keyboard like a unicorn galloping across a rainbow on the wings of inspiration.

Okay, in reality maybe there's not quite so many rainbows and unicorns, but you get what I'm saying.

I was forcing myself to write, waffling between two ideas--both with potential--but coming out with exactly what the above quote describes: uninspired dreck. The more I wrote, the more frustrated I became, and the more I fell into an "I love you but I don't like you right now" relationship with both of my stories. So, with few other options and still feeling like I was breaking some sort of set-in-stone, thou-shalt-not-stop-writing rule, I took the above advice and stepped away. I didn't touch my laptop for several days in a row, worked on other creative projects that didn't involve writing, and curled up for some much needed reading therapy. I cleared the clutter from my word-mired mind and made room for inspiration to return from its vacation.

And it did.

After a week, I began to feel the itch to take up my pen. And as of today, I finally have a solid outline for my book and am ready to press forward. 

Also, my house is freakishly clean.

I learned a couple things from this little exercise. One: At some point I think you have to release yourself from the notion that there's a perfect formula for anything. Otherwise, you'll waste valuable time trying to follow other people's strategies. Everyone's process is different, and that's okay. Maybe your path to inspiration looks like plowing forward now and straightening your plot lines later. Maybe it looks like taking a long walk or watching your favorite comedy. Maybe it looks like closing the laptop (or notebook) and only writing to jot down notes as they come to you. Whatever works for you, go forth and do without guilt.

Two: I think it's important to remember there's a difference between quitting and resting. Quitting is a result of fear. Resting is a result of movement. It's a natural and necessary part of the cycle: work, recharge, work, recharge. 

No matter what your strategy is for getting unstuck, I think it would benefit all of us to give ourselves permission to rest. You can't go forever without burning out. Just because you take a break, doesn't mean you're giving up--it means you're filling up. And that's not just okay, it's good.

What about you? What strategy works for you when it comes to tackling creative block? What refills your cup of inspiration? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Picture Quote Monday {Time}

Today's quote comes from Charles Buxton. There's so much truth to this. Whether it means getting up at 5am, staying up 'til 11pm, or skipping that hour of evening television, make time this week to pursue something you're passionate about.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Picture Quote Monday {Daring}

dar·ing adjective : disposed to venture or take risks; bold in action or thought

 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Picture Quote Monday {Character}

With Father's Day coming up, I wanted to take this Picture Quote Monday to say thank you to the dads in my life. I'm lucky enough to have a dad, father-in-law, and husband who are all great men of character. Happy Father's day to all you dads out there!




Thursday, June 6, 2013

On Milestones and Hope

I reached a new milestone in my writing career this week--I sent out my very first book query! *SQUEEE!* My book has officially left the nest to try and find its place in the world. It was a lot more nerve-wracking than I anticipated and I definitely felt some nervous jitters as I hit send. But that was nothing compared to the excitement I felt when the confirmation email popped up in my inbox.

My first ten pages are sitting in an agent's inbox right now. Whoa.

Now comes 6-8 weeks of waiting. For me, this is one of the hardest parts of being a writer. Not because I have a hard time being patient, but because I have a really hard time being optimistic. I'm much more of a realist when it comes to things like this. Part of me wants to believe my manuscript can and will be accepted by my number-one agency/agent pick on my first try. But the other part of me thinks, if it took sixty queries for a book like The Help to find success, who am I to think I'll find success right off the bat? Plus, there's this feeling that--besides it being statistically unlikely--it wouldn't be fair. After all, so many amazing authors have had to work incredibly hard to land an agent. Who am I to hope I could nail it on a first try? And isn't it better not to hope for too much, so I won't be disappointed if things don't work out?

But despite all of that, I hope. This time, optimism seems to have taken hold of me. I really, truly hope that this particular agent will choose to represent me. Sure, it might not happen. And that's cool. I'll find another potential agent, send another query, and hope some more. Because I realized something as I waffled between optimism and my perception of reality. Even though it may seem like I'm hoping for too much, what point is there in trying if you don't hope for--and even anticipate--success? If all you hope for and expect is failure, your dream is going to have a super sad existence. And dreams aren't meant to be super sad, pessimistic creatures. It goes against their very nature.

So...make your dream happy. Feed it some hope.