I had an attack of the “what-ifs” the other day: what if I hadn’t been discouraged from writing back in the mumbly-mumbles; what if, back in the day, I’d tried to get into journalism like my father wished instead of teachers’ college like my mother wanted; what if I’d become a comedienne like I wanted; what if I’d had more confidence in my ability years ago; what if…? You know how it goes.
“What brought this on?” you ask.
My frustration levels are reaching an all-time high. Publishers accept your submission but won’t tell you if they’ve rejected it; you’re supposed to figure that out by yourself once a suitable time has lapsed. So, how long do you wait…hoping…praying…? No one replies to a polite email asking for a status update. Publishers won’t accept your manuscript except through an agent; agents aren’t taking on any more clients. One agent even says she won’t accept unsolicited submissions! So, what, we wait until she’s heard of us? How can she hear of us if we’re not published? Self-publishing takes more money than I’ve seen in years, so for now that’s not an option. So I send off another query letter and never hear a word in reply. “What’s that dull thudding sound?” you ask. Just my head thumping the wall.
Another birthday is rapidly approaching. Have I left my run too late? Will I run out of life-time before I finally break the publishing barrier? When are you too old? I don’t feel it, but the numbers are starting to stack up. (To any publisher or agent reading this, please ignore the last few sentences. I’m actually incredibly young… compared to a giant tortoise.) Hence the dreaded “what-ifs”, accompanied by a hefty dose of the “if-onlys”.
The fact is that regardless of all those “what-ifs” this is who I am; this is now. I don’t own a Tardis, so there’s no going back. All I can do is hope and pray I make good choices for the future. So I need to make my mind up: do I keep bashing my head against that wall? For now the answer is, yes. (I’m a stubborn old bag.) So… who do I choose to send my baby to, next? But, what if it’s not good enough? What if I choose the wrong mob to give it to? What if…? Aaaarrrrgggghhhhh!