Publishing and Unemployment

on April 13, 2014 in Misc

I have a VERY SMALL piece of some VERY GOOD NEWS…

(Drum roll…)

An agent is looking at my Charity MacCay manuscript!

Yes I know, it’s no big deal.  Merely one stepping stone that MIGHT lead to publication.  But when I got the email from the agent that said she’d LOVE (my caps, not hers) to have a look at Charity, I was ecstatic.  I was bubbly with energy and enthusiasm and ebullience.  I was also in a panic because I had to tweak my manuscript REALLY FAST by cleaning up the headers and title page and running another spell check and generally and neurotically making sure it was super-clean before sending it off electronically with a whispered Vaya con Dios!


This happened last Tuesday.  In the days afterward, I realized that my happy feelings had a dark familiarity.  You see, I know what it’s like to be unemployed and scared.  I know what it’s like to be laid off as a company goes under and I have to scramble to get back on my feet.  Meanwhile, my bank account is dwindling as fast as my faith in myself.

Lining up a good agent simply to look at my novel is, for me, like being thrown a lifeline after being unemployed for a long time.  And I should know.  It’s as if no one has even read my résumé and a sense of worthlessness has been creeping over my soul.  But then, suddenly, I’m scheduled for an interview.  What a relief!  Even if I don’t get the job, I made the top three!  I’m not a total loser!

Now I know too that this is what it’s like for so many of us writers, isn’t it?

cloud light

We attach so much self-worth to what we’ve written that every page becomes a piece of ourselves.  If no one wants to publish our novel, it’s like being an eager worker but no one wants to hire us.  Our hearts fall through the floor.  We pretend that getting traditionally published isn’t important.  We swear we’ll just self-publish.  We recite anecdotes of bestselling novels that were turned down by agents and editors and publishers, who obviously are all dumbasses, ’cause like, what do they know?

And then one of those rare creatures shines a light on us, and we explode with joy.

Anyway, this is how emotional the last few days have been for me.  When it came to getting Charity published, I’ve realized that I’ve been reliving a trauma that had nothing to do with writing, yet everything to do with how I feel about myself.

Have any of you had the same kind of feelings?  Have you relived old traumas through your writing?  If so, then I know just what that’s like.

8 Responses to “Publishing and Unemployment”

  1. That’s awesome!
    We shouldn’t need validation like that, and yet we do. It does feed the ego.

  2. Congratulations, Helena. I hope you get the contract that will give you the validation you need. I think I’ve kind of freed myself somewhat from validation-seeking behavior (so much so that I no longer seek an agent). I think this is a good thing because it has stopped me from throwing too much money after a dream and making what I call “bad financial decisions.”

  3. Helena says:

    Alex – Logically, I don’t need validation. Illogically, I crave it.

  4. Helena says:

    Michael – You seem to have more confidence in yourself, and that’s healthy. And hey, I’ll have you know I’m very good at bad financial decisions.

  5. Nas says:

    Congratulations! I do hope this leads to a shiny contract. Awesome news!

  6. Helena says:

    Nas – The shinier the better! Thank you.

  7. ann says:

    This is good news. I hope your potential new agent loves Charity as much as I did.

  8. Helena says:

    Ann – And I’m so grateful that you read both books! Thank you.