In the early days of this blog, I was neurotic about replying to every single comment. Sadly, it came down to a choice between continuing to do that versus sleeping and eating.
I still read every comment, and often something will catch my eye as a potential blog topic.
Like this comment posted last Friday by Valentina Hepburn:
Both excellent questions I'm pleased to be able to answer easily because I'm lazy like that.
I knew a few days before Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 that Sourcebooks editor Deb Werksman was presenting my book to the editorial board that day. I tried to keep myself busy with important tasks like brushing the cat and counting my toes, and I knew when the phone rang around 4 p.m. that it was my agent calling with news.
She tortured me for a few minutes with idle chit-chat before excitedly announcing, "Sourcebooks is offering you a three-book deal!"
Part of me wants to pretend my gut response was something humble and ladylike. I don't remember what I said, but I'm sure it was reasonably modest with a squeal thrown in for good measure.
But the truth is, my very first thought was, "It's about damn time."
If you aren't familiar with my bumpy road to publication, you might think I'm an impatient bitch. Sometimes I am, but in this case, it took many years of struggle and rejection to reach this point.
And I also want to clarify that I was never impatient with my agent. She did an amazing job kicking in windows every time a door closed, and generally believing in me and my books even when we racked up enough rejection letters to wallpaper the inside of a medium-sized brothel.
But even if none of that were true, I think my gut response to a book deal always would have contained some element of that reaction. Deep down, I was always certain I would succeed.
And in a way, that answers the question of whether I ever felt like putting down my pen and crying, "enough already." Sure, there were moments during that eight-year struggle when I thought beating myself in the forehead each morning with a ball-peen hammer would be a smarter way to spend my time.
Then I'd usually get distracted snickering over the term "ball-peen" and would forget about my negative thoughts for awhile.
But I can honestly say I never once considered giving up. I never once stopped believing it was going to happen.
And I can tell you with absolute certainty that belief in myself is the single biggest factor in why I got my book deal. It wasn't talent or smarts or a nice pedicure, but persistence and the certainty my hard work would eventually pay off.
I remember one particularly brutal rejection from an editor back when I was with a former agent. The agent urged me not to take it personally, and I assured her I wasn't.
"I know getting published is more about persistence and luck than it is about talent," I assured her. "I'm not mortally wounded here."
She paused a long time. "I wish more writers understood that."
I never forgot that, even after I ended my relationship with that agent and teamed up with the amazing Michelle Wolfson. The fact that Michelle believed in me with the same ferocity I believed in myself is undoubtedly what kept us both going when other writers or agents might have thrown in the towel and said, "screw this, screw you, screw them, I'm outta here."
Even without a smart, savvy, encouraging agent behind you, the number one tool you have in your arsenal is the ability to keep believing in yourself even if no one else does. Sometimes it's tough, sometimes it seems futile, but that certainty will keep you fueled during the times you feel dangerously close to setting fire to your laptop and throwing it off the balcony.
Can you think of anything you've felt certain about despite all kinds of odds that suggested you're crazy for doing so? Anything you believed in so fiercely, you may very well have willed it to happen? Please share!
I'll be busy willing Daniel Craig to show up on my doorstep with a pizza and a bottle of Chianti. What? It could happen.