Either way, one of the things I do when I have a lot of time to think is question what I'm doing, where I am, and how I'm doing. I've queried a lot of agents for one of my novels, a novel that I really love the story of, and both my query and my opening chapters have changed quite a bit during the process. There's been a lot of rejection, a lot of encouragement, and some of the best advice and help I've ever gotten from special, caring, smart friends (you know who you are, and thank you again so, so much). I've had fulls requested, I've had fulls form rejected. I've learned a lot. I've started work on a new story, and put everything I learned into that one.
I've questioned myself many times. Am I ready? Do I deserve representation? Am I ready for the demands that will bring? Can I honestly agree that my novel is good enough for the professional business? Should I give up on the current novel query? I think it's healthy to ask yourself these questions. I also realized two really important things writers should remember. (Note: I am currently unrepresented and unpublished, and I realize that may make hearing what I have to say irrelevant. After all, I haven't been there, have I? How can I possibly have experience enough to tell you what important things you should remember? Just saying I recognize that fact.)
So one of the things my mom does for me when I visit (apart from everything else) is make an appointment for me with her pedicurist (although pedicurist is a shabby term for the woman, Judy, who gives you a whole foot experience with massage, soaking, tidying your feet --a particular joy if you have trouble reaching them because of a growing pregnant belly). Yeah, my mom's house is like my own personal spa. She also pays for my appointment. Take a moment to turn green with envy.
While having my feet pampered by the pedicurist Judy this weekend, I asked her how business was. She works in a small mountain town with a glut of personal service businesses like massage and pedicurists and spas, and she doesn't do any marketing at all. But her business has been steady. In contrasts, her neighbor who does massage with her feet (as in, walks on you), does a lot of marketing and yet her business has dropped off. So how does Judy stay in business? She told me what I think is the first important thing for any artist to remember:
Put all your energy into your intention.
Judy said her neighbor didn't really do that. She diversified her services and didn't concentrate on her massage-by-foot business, putting little time and heart into it and instead letting her marketing signs and brochures do that work. And the result is unfortunate, because Judy said her neighbor is very talented. Judy arrived in the small town 10 years ago and focused on her shop and that was it, and it's paid off.
This is a little bit like The Secret, I guess, but I liked the way Judy said it. Maybe you don't want to put your energy into your intention, or maybe your intention has changed. Maybe you aren't even sure what your intention is, and that's okay. I'm just saying that I know what mine is, and I'm going to continue putting my heart and energy into it. It just is going to be that way.
What do you think? Do you agree that this is an incredibly important thing to remember, or has all the pampering gone to my head?
Come back Wednesday for Part II of this post, where I mention the second most important thing for writers to remember.