Saturday, January 16, 2010


There are so many reasons not to write.

Sleep, for one. Last night I fell asleep at 7:30 and slept mostly straight through until 8:00 this morning. This, after a week or two or ten of getting no more than six hours of sleep each night and sometimes far less.

Cleaning, for another. My drives me crazy. My floors go unswept, my mail unopened, my dishes unwashed in the sink or piled up on the counters. My laundry. Oh god, my laundry.

Rejection. I've gotten plenty of that, enough to--repeatedly--question my sanity. A lot of people think they can write. I think some of them are delusional. Obviously they are unaware that they are delusional. Well, I'm a rational person. I can connect these dots.

Still, I keep at it, delusional or not, and as a good friend and encourager and fellow-writer has (repeatedly, since I'm a slow learner) pointed out, I've made progress. I blogged earlier about becoming a writer, and since that time I've written four novels, quite a few stories, notebooks full of really annoying poetry, a whole secret deluge of angsty journal entries, and some sadly sporadic blog posts.

Each time I was ready to give up, to admit defeat, I've been given a little tiny step of forward progress that has kept me going. Slews of form rejections for my first novel are made less bitter by one precious phrase of personalized encouragement from an agent: "You have a lively writing voice." I keep writing.

Novel two and three get some personalized rejections. A request or two. And then...two agents express excitement and a desire to see revisions! Requests on the revised manuscript. Positive rejections! And finally...OFFERS.

In the meantime, it's not like the rejection's not like my house cleans itself or my children don't need me or teaching takes up less time. I can still find a lot of reasons not to write. But the progress--these tiny steps forward--this makes me continue on.

I've been promising writing news now for a while, hinting at excitement...and it's true! I have super news! I'm signing with an agent--Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary Agency!

I'm so thrilled, and I hope you'll go to her terrific site and look around. The moment she requested my manuscript, I went over to her site and found myself sucked into her amazing blog, which is fascinating in what she says about the publishing industry and her own business but which also shows so much of her as a person and a thinker and an appreciator of all things in the literary world.

I'm so happy to reach this next step in the process. I know there's still a long road ahead, and I know there will be more reasons to stop, but as I pass each milestone in this path, I gain some resolve and some courage to keep going! And I'm certainly filled with hope about the eventual places this path could lead!

And...I've said this before, but this blog was born between novel number one and two, in a long gap in my writing when I wasn't really sure if I had the strength to put words out into the world anymore. I know my professed purpose has always been to share stories of my kids and have this record of the moments that pass so quickly in life, but what I've found in this outlet is so much more than that in regard to my writing life. Thanks so much to the people who read and follow my (mis)adventures in parenting and writing and life in general.

So thanks for hanging out with me here on this exciting road, and I hope I'll have more milestones to celebrate along the way! :)


george said...

CONGRATULATIONS! And wishing you an easy path to publication in the months to come.

bethany said...

Congrats! You totally deserve this!

cat hellisen said...

YAY Elissa!!!

I am so glad you got an agent who sounds so awesome. :D

Year of the muser here we come.

Anonymous said...

(I'm sent here by CatHellisen, hi! :)

Congratulations, fantastic news! You know, I admire so much that you just kept at it and kept learning; I mean, mail and house will always be there, but dreams are a little more fickle; well, I'd say you made the right choice!

Congratulations, and big hugs; stranger variety, of course, heh!

elissa said...

thanks so much, everyone, and cat, thanks for sending folks my way! kara, welcome, and thanks for the stranger-hugs, lol. :)

Sarahlynn said...

CONGRATULATIONS from another writer mama who breastfed two kids - each for over two years - and makes her own "lunchables."

I admire what you've accomplished and look forward to reading more of your journey.

Wait, what's that? I think it's inspiration to POLISH and SUBMIT something instead of just writing first drafts and shelving them, as I've been doing for years.

FranW said...

Sincere congrats! What a great, uplifting story.

(here via CatHellison)

elissa said...

GO SARALYNN GO! (I saw your entry for the SMP new adult contest, though, so I know you've been getting your work out there at least a little bit!)

Thanks for stopping by!

And thanks, Fran, and welcome to my blog! :)

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Kristan said...

Congrats on the agent!! And on SMP. "Get agent" is #1 on my to-do list this year, although I wouldn't mind if SMP decided to push themselves to the front of the list. :P

Anonymous said...

Hm hm.. that's quiet interessting but actually i have a hard time visualizing it... I'm wondering what others have to say....