Dramatic title for dramatic feelings. I opened my book this week after a full month of doing everything except writing. School started in mid-August and as an educator, it always feels like it takes a good few weeks to get back into the swing of the balancing act we call life.
And so, I slept, ate, drank coffee, spent hours in my classroom, picked up a bad habit, quit it, picked it up again, went home, spent my paycheck on groceries and electricity, celebrated family milestones and successes, struggled through a few pitfalls, and spent too many hours worrying about my son’s reading scores. I’m still doing all that but I’m finally to a point where I can take a moment to breathe and do some self-care. And for me that looks like writing, dreaming, and falling back into love with my book.
Two days ago I opened UNDER THE CAROLINA STARS, turned on the Cold Mountain Soundtrack, and read the first 30 pages. I felt all the emotions of my characters and they came back to life in front of my eyes, more real than ever before. I cried a little, felt their nervousness, loneliness, and joy, and have been thinking about them ever since.
This renewed passion for my book made me open query tracker which was maybe not the best idea. It’s full of form rejections and closed no responses. Query tracker is an excellent tool but also a visual aid for failure. Numbered days and sad faces are next to each agent name that had once given me unexplainable hope. So basically its a dashed dreams tracker.
Time is a resource that is finite and becoming all the more scarce with each passing day of my career and life. There is never enough time with my kids, my grandmother, my students, or my book. This acute awareness of time ticking by pains me. I find myself thinking, “What if I never get this piece of my heart out into the world before I am gone? What if I never get to experience the feeling of my book in my hands and the knowledge that it sits in someone else’s?” I have taken to calling this feeling post-mortem anxiety. Has my life been fulfilling? Yes. But is there always the dream of more? More time, more people, more traveling, more passion. Yes. And there it sits the worst kind of FOMO. A new kind, a 32-year-old’s version. Fear of dying before I am finished living.
This feeling, anxiety really, pushes me forward. I must keep going. And so I have resolved that I will do one more push through my book, polishing and polishing some more, and then I will begin with a fresh batch of queries. As it stands I believe I have exactly zero living queries and therefore have the opportunity to breathe new life into my dreams soon with new agents.