Starting Off


t’s always difficult to begin. That’s what I keep reminding myself.

A year ago, I started sending out query letters for a manuscript I “finished” in 2011. Difficult. I read everything Chuck Wendig ever wrote about the art form of the query letter. I browsed through Query Shark. I took notes. I made my friends read it to see whether it only made sense to me (you know who you are, and you know how much I owe you). I sent queries in the state of mind that you gotta have a ticket to win the lottery. I teased my husband that he could buy lotto tickets (he did) and I would send queries and we would race to see whether he would win the Powerball or I would get a request for a full manuscript first.

It wasn’t easy. I don’t like cold calls, either making or receiving, and sending emails to people I didn’t know asking them to look at creative work felt just like a cold call. I reminded myself that it only takes one “yes” (turns out that’s true after all) and that none of the rejections were personal – as it happened, all of the rejections were really quite polite. Not one included a reference to sticking with a day job. Everyone was very kind. It was still tough. I was lucky to have a few people who knew I was querying who would patiently listen to me threatening to quit but wouldn’t let me do it.

I was shocked when I won the lottery-ticket-or-request-for-full race and got a request.

Fast forward to today. There’s a lot I just skipped over, but those are stories for another time. This one is about beginnings.

It’s difficult to begin. Now I’m a person who needs a blog, and that blog needs something on it. It’s difficult to begin. It feels like I just wandered into a cocktail party where everyone already knows everyone else, and the party has been going on for a good hour and a half, and I’m late because I couldn’t find parking, and I finally parked about two miles away. And I stepped in dog crap on my way to the party because it was dark outside, so I had to deal with that before I could screw up the courage to knock on the door. And it’s difficult to begin.

But. The thing to remember is you only have to begin every once in a while, and after a while, it gets easier.

So I’m going to believe. It’s been true before.


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