Facing My Fears: Making the decision to query literary agents



I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately because I'm having to make some important decisions about what kind of writer I'm to be.  I self-published my first full length novel, and now I'm wondering if I went that route because I didn't believe I could get a literary agent and subsequently be be published by a traditional publishing house.  I don't like feeling this level of self-doubt, but I also know self-doubt is a part of the process.

Behind me is every memory I hold in my head, my heart, and my soul.  Memories with enough power to elevate me, pull me under, and/or devour me whole.  I don't often focus on memories, but I am starting to understand the need to at least examine the power I have given them and how they may be affecting my fledgling writer's life.

One of my most vivid memories surrounding writing is when my undergraduate professor told me I was never going to be a successful writer if I continued to use vernacular and only write about southern situations and overtly throw the race, sex, and violence in the faces of readers who'd rather move away from that southern reality.

His words stung me for about three seconds.  Long enough for me to formulate a three-word response.  The first word was  'go' and the last one was 'yourself'.  Needless to say, I didn't value or heed his opinion.  I hold that memory near and dear to my heart because it reminds me of the moment I found my writing voice and I became a true steel magnolia.

Before me is every dream I've ever had and will ever have. Sometimes, that knowledge scares the shit out of me.  The only limit to my dreams, to my success... to what I do, is me.  I'm the only limit standing between myself and anything I could possibly want.  The responsibility does not lie with the Universe, my mom, my husband, my children, or something as fickle as being accepted by other people.  

I am the author of my story.  The editor with the red pin; able to make deletions and additions to ensure my story is the most fascinating read it can be.  As with any story, I'm writing, I always have trouble deciding where to start the editing process.  It's so damn hard to know what to cut and what to keep.  Which characters are needed to help move the plot along?  Should I change the setting, and if I do; how will that change affect everything else going on?  

My life is the most important story I'm ever going to write.  It's not just my story.  I want... no, I need it to be the story.  The story that brings enlightenment.  A story that brings comfort to those who are afflicted and affliction to those who are comfortable. (shout-out to Finley Peter Dunne) If I'm not writing, editing, and revising my story to ensure that end, then what the hell am I doing?  Why the hell am I doing it?

Around me is everyone who loves me.  At least I hope those around me love me but really, what is love?  Not to be a cynic or anything, we have enough cynicism floating in the world already, but I do wonder if those with whom I surround myself share my understanding of love.  When I started this journey, I asked the Universe to remove everyone and everything from my life that would keep me from writing my story as I saw it.  


Over the course of the last eight to ten years, I seem to have misplaced an entire village of people, material items, ideas, and ways of thinking.  I'm 90 pounds lighter, physically and I'm pretty sure Ma'at would find my heart to be as light as her Feather of Truth.  The few people, material items, ideas, and philosophies I hold close to my heart have only serve to elevate me.  

It feels amazing to be loved without condition.  To be understood on a soul level.  The people around me don't require an explanation or an apology when I need to be by myself.  They don't judge my actions, thoughts, or words. They love me as I love them.  Unconditionally.  With soul-binding intensity. Until time is no more and we are returned to light and air.

Within me is everything I need. Which brings me to my giant conundrum. What the hell am I supposed to be?  In my soul searching, I've come to several understandings.

  1. I love writing and sharing my unique perspective on the connection that exists between erotic energy, spirituality, and purpose.
  2. There is a message imprinted in my DNA, and I'm the only one able to deliver it.  
  3. Everything I create needs to be in service to humanity.
  4. I have to face what scares me the most if I'm to fulfill my purpose.
  5. Knowledge is only powerful if I'm wise enough to use and share it with others.
I've come to on important conclusion after all of my soul searching; I was afraid to pursue the traditional publishing route for the same reasons most writers are afraid to knock on the gates to the kingdom.  However; based on my five understandings, I am doing no one any favors by not pushing toward my dream of being a traditionally published writer. I have shit to say.  Shit that only I can say. Regardless of how I say this shit, it is always in service to the greater good of humanity. What scares me the most is having the shit I say heard and then respected. But the reality is I have to be wise enough to share my shit with the masses if I'm going to fulfill my true purpose. 

Remember, writing is a journey and sometimes the Universe sprinkles her enchantments along your path.  Be sure to stay present, I'd hate for you to miss on the enchanted moment of your life.  Until next time; be brave, be beautiful, and be enchanting.

Ella

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