When I tell people I’ve written a manuscript, they often are impressed.
But I play it off. I say, “It’s no big deal” or “Anyone can do it” or I simply shrug.
Because if I don’t admit that it’s an ENORMOUS THING, then I don’t take ownership of it. Or have to admit that something I’ve poured my love and energy into and nurtured for so long is so important to me.
This weekend I attended a three-day Writers Digest conference up in Hollywood. Near the Walk of Fame. The conference featured a pitch slam – or, as one agent called it in a Freudian-esque slip, a “pitch slap.” Pitch Slam is like speed dating: you get three minutes with an agent to pitch your book. Three minutes to tell them what your book’s about and try to convince them they can’t live without it. Or, at least, pique their curiosity enough so they’ll ask to see some pages, otherwise known as a partial.
My friend Julie and I practiced our pitches til we had them down cold. We waited in line with 250 other nervous writers, including one guy who wore a Ben Franklin costume. The doors opened, and then it was like Loehmann’s the day after Christmas. Pushing. Shoving. Elbowing our way in and jockeying for position.
Okay. Not really. But it was crowded. And scary. Like putting your baby on the table and praying the agent would recognize it as the most beautiful, most perfect – and the most marketable – creature that ever existed.
And some of the agents asked me to send them my work.
The words I’ve spent over a year crafting, honing, editing, revising, editing, writing, rewriting. Late nights, early mornings. Following me into the shower, out on my runs, laying in bed at night.
What I’ve discovered, as I put the final spit polish on my pages and scour the Internet on tips to writing a synopsis, is completing a 94,000 word manuscript IS a big deal. Also? Not everyone can do it.
I did it, though. I did it and I’m proud of it. I’m proud of myself.
No matter what happens.