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A couple of months ago I sent my manusript off to an agent (See post “Letting Go and Leaps of Faith). Having invested much time, money, heart sweat, blood and soul in my writing career, I thought I was well prepared for the submission process. And, compared to most, I suppose I was.

I’ve been fortunate to work in the publishing industry these past 8 0r 9 years, plying my marketing skills for the good of other writers, and making the most of opportunities to develop a real world understanding of the business.  I have gathered great stores of knowledge, witnessed both grand success and crushing defeat, examined and re-examined my goals and expectations, adjusted my goals and expectations, honed my craft, and planned a career path.

And then, I sent those precious pages out into the cold cruel world to be judged. Panic ensued, followed by anxiety, self doubt, and a rash.

Weeks passed. While I waited for the agent to respond, I considered the possible outcomes of the huge gamble I had taken, knowing my dreams hung in the balance. I steeled myself against rejection even as I anticipated acceptance. I developed nervous ticks and memory lapses. I would forget what I was saying in the middle of a conversation. Occasionally I would get in the mini van and head off to a meeting only to end up somewhere else completely. I lost my appetite. I had trouble sleeping. And sometimes, I would forget to breathe.

To say that waiting is hard is a gross understatement. I’m still trying to find just the right words to describe my agony, although the point is now moot. Earlier this week I got a response. Not the response I had hoped for, but not the one I had dreaded, either.

For a moment, but only a moment, I was dejected. Disappointed. Maybe even a little bit hurt. But then I remembered to exhale. And then, inhale. I picked up my ego, dusted it off, and recognized that what I had received was actually a gift. Words of encouragement, redirection, and an invitation to resubmit. There were even a few much needed nuggets of praise and acknowledgment.  She actually called the book an epic fantasy–something I had only dared to whisper in the dark.

S0, now it’s back to the drafting table to make the book even better. Though there is still work to do, I know that what I’ve been working toward all these years is almost within my grasp.