In between tackling some challenging social media related shenanigans, I’ve been working really hard lately on my anthology, as well as some other writing for work and non-work reasons. It’s been fabulous, all of this writing, as has been the incredible honor I’ve had to edit essays for Feminism for the Real World. I’m going to have a very exciting announcement soon with the second part of my contributors (!!) but in the time before that, I have my own exciting announcement which is this: I am now represented by literary agent of wonder, Tina Wexler at ICM.
I cannot express my excitement for how well Tina and I clicked from our first email to our phone calls. I have let her in on all of my secrets and it’s really neat to have someone who not only gets it, but who is excited about helping me find a home for the projects I’ve got in my pocket. I even shared some (gasp!) YA fiction I’ve toyed with, a project I have toyed with and put away because of more pressing work, and she was receptive and excited by it.
A little back story: I’ve done this entirely backwards, upside down, and in my own way on my own terms. Most writers begin with an idea, then they write the manuscript, then they query agents, then they work with the agent who sends their work off to editors who might be interested. I jumped around. I wrote and sold a book to VOYA entirely on my own, and I did the same with Feminism for the Real World with Algonquin Young Readers. One of my editors there suggested I think about agents while going through some of the paperwork aspect of the project, and her suggestion really made me sit back and think about what I wanted for a career out of writing — and it was and is clear to me there’s more than this in me. Suddenly, I had five million ideas and wanted to find an agent who’d be open to trying these things, as unconventional as they may be.
There’s little to nothing out there for writers who aren’t going into straight fiction or even narrative non-fiction in terms of what they should be doing to find an agent. So I asked around — I asked writers I knew who loved their agents why they loved them, what made them stand out, and whether they knew anyone else who might be open to talking. I had it in my head to just talk, and I had fantastic conversations with two great agents. After talking, I knew this was something I not only wanted to do, but that I needed to do.
I have been taking an online course about dreaming for the last four weeks. I did it for me and me alone, and it’s been about an hour a day I get to spend thinking about possibilities and ideas and making my life more creatively adventurous and fulfilling. I might write about the course in more detail when it’s done, but a few of the big takeaways from it so far have been really impacting my thinking. I can’t just sit on ideas. I have to let myself pursue them as I have them or at least write them down to pursue when I’m ready. In a lot of ways, this was “divine timing.” And this was a leap and a risk I was more than ready to take.
I’m thrilled to keep writing, to keep building this unconventional and exciting and fun and fulfilling career. Last weekend marked four years since I walked out of a job that left me depressed and miserable and feeling awful day in and day out. I had no plans when I left, just that for my own sake, I needed to get out.
Four years back, I couldn’t have envisioned how much that decision radically changed my life in the best possible ways.
If you’re reading this, take that leap. You and your life are worth it. There will be super crummy times. There will be things that truly test the limits of all aspects of your life and your relationships.
But you only get to do this whole thing once, so take the chances as you can.
“Yes” is just as important as “no.”