Surviving the Human Experience: Swallowing Your Pride

The last couple of weeks have been rough for me, and I’m not entirely ready to discuss this yet because it’s just so raw. Instead, I’d like to share my recent blow and triumph as a writer.

As some of you may know, I am trying to find representation for myself. It’s a slow going process, but I’m determined to go the traditional publishing route this time around. I spend my days editing and re-editing my novel, but I know I’m just putting off the inevitable, which is to actually work on my query letter.

I’ve written the letter and have had it critiqued by numerous friends, colleagues, and other agents; however, I’m still stuck on whether or not it’s good enough. I’m such a perfectionist. How do I know if it’s any good? What the hell am I doing? They don’t really teach you this stuff in college, which I wish they did for my degree! How do I write a synopsis? So many different writers and agents tell you different things for what to put in a synopsis and query letter. Then I’m also worried about whether or not the beginning of my book is any good. Is it exciting enough? Does it lead into the action fast enough or is it too fast? So after reading blog post after blog post and following (more like stalking) potential agents I want to submit to, I have this query letter all typed up and ready to go. There’s only one problem: I’m getting stage fright.

I sit at my laptop staring at my letter constantly thinking: Is this good enough? Will they like it? Are they going to email me saying I suck and I should just give up on my dream? Now I have submitted to two agents…. But neither of them replied, which hurt because I spent hours, days, and even weeks researching agents to see who would be a good fit for me. I’m a picky girl and very meticulous when it comes to my writing career. No, I don’t expect them to answer because they get on average around 300-500 emails a day, but it still doesn’t make it suck any less.

So beside the two, I have been frozen. I sit there looking at my list of 15 possible agents I want submit to and I check all the social media platforms they’re on each and every day. My heart gets hurt when they post about a great manuscript they’re reading or post about signing with a new writer because it wasn’t me. It’s mostly me beating myself up about letting my fear get the best of me. It’s like I have a crush on a guy at school but he doesn’t know, and then I get hurt when he starts dating another girl. I think a lot of us know that feeling. Unless you were miss popular of the cheer squad or something, in which case, lucky you!

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So here I am feeling rejected without actually being rejected yet hahahaha! I know, it’s foolish, so I decided to do something about it. I get notified on writing webinars through Writer’s Digest, and there is this great writer’s bootcamp that would help me with all my problems! I’d be coached and mentored one-on-one with an agent as they help me draft up a query letter, synopsis, and the beginning pages of my book. Seems like a dream come true, right? I’d learn first hand everything I wanted and needed to know. Mostly, it’d help with my confidence because I’d have more knowledge of what I’d need to do as a writer in my career, but I ran into a problem. This bootcamp would cost more than half of my month’s rent. In fact, the cost took up almost half of what I make in a month! How in the hell am I going to advance as a writer when I can’t afford to be able to? I can’t afford to go out of town to any writer conferences to meet agents face-to-face. I don’t have the funds for editors (I barely had enough to hire the editor I currently have, and she lowered her cost significantly for me).

It made me feel powerless. I was at a dead end. I nearly gave up on writing altogether because it felt like I was running in circles. I couldn’t wait half a year to save up for this boot camp because it’d be over soon, but a miracle came.

You see, I’m not always vocal about my worries and troubles, and I hate asking for financial help. I have a lot of pride. I even struggled with asking my dad for help with paying for my textbooks when I was in college. My stress piled up and it oozed out in a avalanche of emotions that I threw onto my boyfriend as we sat eating at a restaurant. After I was finished, he said smiling, “I’ll pay for it.”

I shook my head. “No. I won’t have it. This is my thing and my career. I can’t ask you to do that. I don’t want to depend on you.”

He blinked and stared at me as though he were insulted by what I said. “We are in this together,” he said. “We are a team, and your successes are mine. I have no problem with helping you further your career because your success and happiness will also be mine. So let me help you.”

I continued to shake my head. My pride swelling up in my chest. “No. I’m a strong, independent woman. NO.”

“Heather.” He took a stern voice with me. “Let me help you.”

We did a little bit of a stare down before I gave in and started crying. I cried from pure joy. I was so eternally grateful. I reached out my hand to his and said, “Thank you.”

He smiled. “It’s okay to ask for help.”

So because of my partner’s love and dedication, I am now participating in advancing my skill with query letter writing and strengthening my synopsis. I guess this week’s lessons are to swallow your pride, and that it is okay to ask for help 🙂



  1. Jeanne Hall says:

    Well, duh. That’s what a marriage/partnership is all about. When you are rich and famous, he will be taking it easy. Now as to the first part of your message. You are an awesome writer. I read a lot, but when something grabs my attention and keeps it to the end, that’s a good writer. You writing has kept me up past my bedtime more than a few nights. I can tell everyone that the famous writer Heather Q is my friend!!

  2. Brenda says:

    Ahhh, see, you learned something about yourself and Josh. Team work. What ever happens Heather, never ever give up on your dreams.

    Remember, I’m always here when you need me.

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