Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Personal Moment

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Today I'll share a bit of myself...

Recently, I was interviewed on Robyn's blog. It was great fun.

After the interview I got some responses asking me

Didn't you jump and squeal and do a beautiful happy dance once you secured your agent?


The truth is, I reacted quite differently than I expected to.

Before I was agented, I would have guessed I'd have that dancing reaction, adding in a celebratory steak dinner and trip to ColdStone (mud pie mojo, please)


But when the time came, I felt quite differently.

I felt, well, grateful.

And humble.


With a sudden and clear understanding of the work ahead of me.

Celebrating too wildly seemed premature somehow. Like taking all the pictures when you're at the 75% mark of Everest.

No, when I reached that pre-summit summit, I looked down below me, thankful for making it to this beautiful place. Then I looked up at the final push to the actual summit, quietly nodded, and put my foot right back on the path.




There is no right or wrong here. I'm just sharing my own reaction and how it surprised me somewhat.


Questions: Have you ever felt this way? Does it make any sense to you or am I just a wet blanket missing the got-an-agent-party-boat? How do you expect to respond (or how did you respond) to these types of events in our lives?
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35 comments:

Lady Glamis said...

I remember talking with you on the phone when you got your agent. You did seem very grateful!

I expect I'll be happy, but I doubt I'll squeal and jump, especially since I know getting an agent does not mean publication or success. It's one more step. A GOOD step, though. And publication doesn't give me success either. It all comes from ME. Inside. Until I'm happy with what I'm writing, I'll never get anywhere. One step at a time!

Right now I'm happy with all of my writing. Who knows if I will be tomorrow. I'm up and down lately.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I find I often get this way if I've built something up in my mind. Sometimes holidays can trip me up this way, but I imagine grateful is a good thing to feel.
~ Wendy

Janna Qualman said...

That's a beautiful way to describe it! I think I know just what you mean.

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

I'm a jumper. I'll hop around in a circle when something I've really been hoping for happens. I make myself dizzy all the time doing it but it's great fun.

Nice descriptions, by the way!

Stephanie Faris said...

Getting an agent will be a definite moment of celebration but I'll have mixed feelings about it because I've seen too many authors get agents and then the road to publication STILL take a while. The day I'll truly celebrate is when I make that first sale. Which is odd, considering it's harder to get an agent than a publisher...since an agent not only has to like your work but has to like it enough to try to convince others to like it.

Corey Schwartz said...

Tess, i felt exactly the same way. (especially since this was the second time around for me) I know all too well that having an agent does not guarantee publication.

Lazy Writer said...

I think I'd probably do a little happy dance and then focus on the rest of the climb. But I can't say for sure because it hasn't happened yet. I'll let you know when it does. :)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I think you have a very appropriate view of what's in front of you. It probably led to less of a shock at all of the work that's involved now that you've landed an agent.

Congrats, by the way!

Tess said...

Glam: well said, my friend. In the end, it really is about us and our words and finding joy in the process.

Wendy: I can be that way at holidays, too!

Janna: thanks for knowing

NWA: such a cute image! No pic of you on your blog (for obvious reasons) so I can't quite imagine you per se...maybe just a little bunny hopping around.

Stephanie: yes, the actual book contract signing day will be a celebratory time. Here's wishing it for all of us!

Corey: right, no guarantees and lots of work still ahead. it's good to know and think about.

LazyWriter: please do let me know :) I love to share in the successes of my friends.

beth said...

I can totally understand this reaction! I think I would feel much the same way, honestly. *crosses fingers and hopes to find out!*

Lynnette Labelle said...

Interesting. I'll let you know how I react WHEN it happens.

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

Suzanne said...

I think I won't believe it. And then when I believe it I will expect that it won't work out, and if it does, I'll expect the book won't sell.

But that's just me. ;)

Davin Malasarn said...

This isn't exactly the same topic, but that gratefulness is how I feel about my science job. I'm grateful to be let into this community that seeks truth and the ability to communicate truth. That's also what I'm trying to do in my writing. In that world, I tend to be grateful for people who are willing to read my book and talk to me honestly about it. I'm grateful for people who want to share their own work too. I don't know about the agent thing, yet. I'd guess if I got an agent that truly loved my work, I'd have that same feeling. I know that getting an agent, even getting pubilshed, doesn't necessarily mean success, so I'd probably not feel the urge to dance--well, beyond when I already dance.

Robyn Campbell said...

Tess, I quite expect to react in much the same way. Totally humbled by it all and realizing that it is just half the battle.

In the end this is what matters, pal, YOU WROTE A NOVEL. Most folks only DREAM about doing that. BUT YOU ACTUALLY DID IT! WOOHOO, YEAH! Pump your fist. Then buckle down and prepare to go to work. :)

Kelly H-Y said...

That makes total sense ... and I think it is a great reaction, because you're thankful, but also acknowledging the work yet to be done!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i think i'll be humbled, in shock, awe, and yes...probably beside myself with joy. if i ever get an agent, that is. :)

jeannie
Where Romance Meets Therapy

Tess said...

beth: you will and you'll let me know and it'll be great :)

Lynette: it's a deal.

Suzanne: exactly.

Davin: I love that you feel that way about your work. What a blessing that must be. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I'm not surprised we agree a bit on this matter.

Robyn: thanks for your encouraging and kind words. And, it isn't 'I' wrote a novel ... it's 'WE' wrote a novel :)

Kelly: thanks and, yes, much work to be done

Jeannie: oh, you will and I can't wait to celbrate with you and share those feelings of awe and shock and humility. It is an interesting mix.

ElanaJ said...

I think your reaction fits perfectly. Thanks for sharing it. :)

lotusgirl said...

I can totally understand. I think I'll be thrilled, but, like you, I will realize there's still a lot to do ahead to make publication happen.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I know that feeling. Every step feels like just that--another step. The mountain is high and there will be other mountains, so enjoy the view and check the gear. But you can still celebrate a smidge, you know. :)

Crystal said...

Hey Tess,

I can just about imagine how you felt (and still feel) when you got the offer of representation from your agent. While you were probably ecstatic, of course, you still knew that this was just the tip of the iceberg. You knew there was still even greater work to be done to reach that ultimate goal of publication (when you can really let loose & rejoice over the sale of your manuscript!)

So, yes, you make PERFECT sense. As for me, well, I'd probably first scream myself silly if I got an agent. THEN, I'd quiet down & re-adjust my brain for the next hurdle (probably revisions for the agent) on the way to publication (when I can really let loose & holler). Well, that's my dream anyway! :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Humbleness is a good reaction. It makes sense to me. Along with gratefulness and thankfulness. :)
You're not a wet blanket at all.

L.T. Elliot said...

I've been surprised too. You'd think I would have been more excited about a few things but it was kind of terrifying instead.

dellgirl said...

Your reaction and explanation are understandable. Grateful and humble are a combination you can't beat when it comes to celebrating achievements. I understand it very well. Thanks for sharing this.

Have a super duper day tomorrow!!!! (((hugs from Leona in Texas)))

Tess said...

Elana: sure thing.

lotusgirl: yes, and I was completely thrilled. It was just tempered, you know?

Tricia: thanks for the reminder and a good one at that. I can sometimes be too task oriented.

Crystal: here's looking forward to letting loose and hollering with you someday :)

Jennifer: thanks. wet blanket worries gone :)

LT: yes! terrifying did play into it a little as well .. very true.

dellgirl: loving a Texas hug!!! how cool is that?

Sharon aka Sapphire said...

Tess, you reacted just the way I would have expected you to, with grace. You are just as lovely as the way you express your words.

Silver said...

Of course, why shouldn't you be? It is a great moment! An achievement of your hard work being recognized.

~Silver

PJ Hoover said...

I totally did the happy dance when I got my agent. And it was a shrimp dinner for me.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I dont know what I'd do. I dance all the time. Even take classes at a studio every week. So maybe I'd just collapse. Maybe my body would just shut down while my brain tried to make sense of it all.

MG Higgins said...

A couple of squees then I hope my reaction is similar to yours. Being grateful gives such a sense of balance.

Karin said...

I've never considered it from that perspective - thanks for your insight! I'm sure you're right on (I'll tell you what happens when I get an agent...until then, I'm just guessing!)

Tess said...

Sharon: aw, shucks, thanks waddette.

Silver: welcome! and thanks for the encouragement

PJ: see? I knew there were some party animals out there! Shrimp, eh? A fine celebratory choice.

Karen: I seem to remember that you are a dancer. You wouldn't collapse...you'd plie! (is that how you spell that?)

MG: I did squee some, I'll admit. They were short and less dynamic than expected, but a squeee did happen :)

Karin: it's good to think about these things, isn't it? thanks for coming by. and, can't wait to hear your reaction when it happens (and it will happen, you know!)

Jody Hedlund said...

I definitely had my moment of celebration!! I knew what an accomplishment it was and so I rejoiced. But I also had mixed emotions like you. I knew the hard work was just beginning in a different way!

Anita said...

I have no idea how I'll respond, but if I have a camera handy (which I almost always do), I'm going to record my reaction and post it on my blog! (I hope I don't get the call before my shower).

Steve Mount said...

When I got my first email back that an agent wanted to see more than my query letter, I almost couldn't believe it. I'd read of writers who'd queried for years without any luck, and it only (only?) took me four months. When the first chapter turned into the whole book and the whole book turned into a contract, I still couldn't really believe it. I was happy, I told everyone I knew, but like you, I didn't jump and down for joy and throw myself a party. I knew that this was just a step in the process - an important one, but still, just one step.

I happened to get the same agent you did, Tess, and I'm hoping for good luck for both of us in this rough economy!