When I opened the flash drive, he said, "You can use it for just your books - don't put anything else on it, just your books." What's great about that is that at this point, I only have ONE book to put on it. There is a substantial bit of a first draft for another, and ideas and bits and pieces of others, but I've never really organized them. By giving me this flash drive, he's telling me to get professional about this writing thing.
He couldn't know this, of course, but his gift came at the perfect time. I've decided to forget about querying my "non-commercial" novel at this point. Instead, I'm going to focus on writing more, and when I have three or four that are ready to go, I'm going to publish them myself. Ann Turnbull sent me a link to a blog by writer Catherine Czerkawska, which had a post entitled, "Some Thoughts About Literary Agents" that was quite enlightening and encouraging (as were the comments to the post). As one of the commenters (Linda Gillard) said,
What I learned from that experience (which threw me out into the professional wilderness for years) was that the book was/is my property. It had its own identity and integrity and it still had that, even if no one wanted to publish it (and no one did.)It's a little frightening to think of walking out on the tightrope without the security of someone to "validate" the integrity of my story, but it's also exciting and empowering. Now I can get back to why I like to write in the first place - discovering the characters, playing with plot, doing the research - instead of worrying those first 10 pages and the query letter to death in hopes they'll stand out of the slushpile. I'm going to go back and fix the first scene of my finished novel so it suits me. I had tickered with it, trying to follow the advice of agent blogs to make it "grab" readers right away, and I felt that I was trying to cram a foot into a pointy-toed pump when it really belonged in a moccasin. No more of that. I will trust myself. As another commenter said,
I say, the hell with fear. Let's just take a deep breath and dive in. Let's create the change we want to see.A good way to end one year, and start another, don't you think?