I worked yesterday with another teacher who is also a writer. Jeff is more of a literary writer than I am. He's in his mid-30s, no kids, wife finishing her post graduate degree. He grew up in New York City and went to graduate school in England. He wears a tweed blazer and sometimes speaks with a slightly pretentious accent. We have some interesting conversations.
He finished his first novel after a year and a half of writing, and has been shopping it around, including to some agent friends. So far he has had no takers.
"Do you have some sort of daily affirmation to keep going?" he asked.
I recognized the look on his face. I had it once myself when sitting at a table at a writing conference with an older woman who told me she had written six novels. She hadn't sold any of them. I wondered why she kept writing, how she kept writing when she obviously wasn't going to sell a book. I felt like she was desperate. I felt superior.
Now, that woman is me. I've written three novels and haven't sold them. Am I that hopeful, oblivious woman now?
I don't have a daily affirmation that makes me send letters to agents trying to sell my novels.
I have had some positive feedback from professionals, including an agent who said "We're sure you'll sell this work."
Jeff's comments got me thinking about the positive support I get from my family.
Just the other morning, my mom called and said she was sending a check for some expensive sewer work at our house. I protested that Earl and I were grown ups and we would take care of it.
"You can pay us back when you sell your first novel," she said.
That comment didn't even register until I was talking to Jeff.
My mom didn't say "if you sell your novel." She said "when you sell." She has no doubt that I will succeed.
I wonder how many affirmations I receive from my family that slide past me. I'm going to try to be more aware of the support I receive and try to make them proud with my work, and eventually the sale of a book.
I can't wait to hold that book in my hand and give a copy to the people who believed in me.
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