We all go through it. You know…the wait. Is today going to be the day that I get “the call” and my life will be changed forever? Or will I simply go to the grocery store and wait in line to buy the same old cereal and the same old jug of milk and the same old box of double fudge Nestle’s Crunch ice cream bars? Who knows!
Lately, there’s been a lot of bloggin’ out there about this dreaded wait. I applaud The Mighty Dotificus for showing her feelings about the topic and I can’t help but laugh that my dear Evie thought her agent was giving her “the call” when she had actually maxed out her credit card.
As I was thinking about how the wait is making me a crazy person, I remembered a conversation the three of us had with author Cecil Castellucci a few years ago at the national SCBWI conference. She had just recently sold her first book, Boy Proof, and confidently told us that she knew she would eventually sell a book. “As long as your writing is good,” Cecil said, “all you have to do is stand in line and wait your turn.” She said it without even twitching or breaking out with a string of Tourette’s-style curse words. She just said it and meant it.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m waiting in line for my turn to come up. And waiting in line for a publisher to love your book is very similar to standing in line at the grocery store. You look for the shortest line to stand in, then look around at all the other lines wondering if you made a mistake by standing in that one. You look at everyone else’s groceries and estimate how long it will take for them to get through, then look at the cashier and estimate their level of ability when it comes to typing in vegetable codes and wonder if it’s your cashier’s first day on the job. This will take forever, you think. But then you have a flash of empathy and you see the person behind you only has one item and you let them go in front of you, but when it’s their turn, a bell suddenly rings and the inexperienced cashier yells, “Congratulations! You’re our millionth customer of the day! You get a three book deal!” That should be me, you think. And then you change lines.
Sometimes my line is moving so slow I wonder if it’s even moving at all. But my agent reminded me that progress is slow, but it is progress. At her workshop on setting goals, she asked me, “Are you closer to your goal than you were a year ago?”
And my answer: Definitely yes.
So I hope my cashier is good and experienced and this line moves quickly. I’ve got double fudge Nestle’s Crunch ice cream bars melting here!