Today, literary agent and lawyer

I’ve just left from my semi-annual catch up with my agent. We’ve been at this for years, trying to get my book to market. 

“I don’t want to get you $1000 from a small press, I want to get you something big, random house, penguin…. I want your daughter to be like Tolkien’s kids, you know what I mean? We’re investing now to make a difference 50 years from now.” 

Um, ok. You had me at Tolkien. 

The editor he’s brought today has done a fresh read and we put her on the spot for feedback. 

She clears her throat, starts slow, refers to ways to beef up the opening scene. 

We probe. My agent, Sam, has read the book 13 times now! He needs her fresh perspective. 

“When did you really start liking her…. When did you really get what was going on….?” 

He goes to get another coffee and I ask the editor if she’d recommend the book to a friend. 

“Yeah… I really liked it…” 

Not convincing. But then we get talking again and the feeling is there – it’s at 90% (again) and needs a few changes. Move some things around. 

Sam calls himself a map maker. I think he means map puzzle maker, no? Moving around geography until we have the correct lay of the land. Authentic. Legitimate. Larger than life. A new world that’s never existed before. 

He wants me to drop some of the storytelling framework scenes and try a draft that’s more chronological. 

My heart sinks. 

Again? Bah. 

“Don’t be disheartened ….It’s not that bad.” He says and proceeds to explain the simplicity of the key changes. 

Raise the stakes. We want a brilliant literary debut. 

Ok Sam. 

We end the meeting on a promising note – it feels possible, and close. He wants me to start the book with a break up. 

“Break our hearts,” he says, genuinely. 

I get it. And he has no idea how poised I am to write that opening scene. 

We say goodbye and I go to the car feeling like everything is unfolding as it should. 

I write 1000 words of heartbreaking before leaving the parking lot. 

Now onto the lawyer appointment. 

What’s gotten into me? I feel like…. Me?! 

We must love ourselves, and be ourselves, because we are the only ones that know ourselves! 

Xo 

g

Advertisements

Lowered expectations 

  
Oh dear. It’s happening. 

The years are going by and I’m working out less, caring less, losing steam. 

I’m not giving enough fucks. 

What to do? 

The picture above puts it perfectly — you reach a certain point (“midlife”?) and feel like you want to stop climbing. You just want to put your heavy bags down and camp out where you are. Screw the climb – there is TV to be watched and chocolate to be eaten. 

Part of this pity party is the acknowledgement that I will probably never be able to make a living as a fiction writer. 

There, I said it. 

It’s not a realistic career path. I’ve always known this. But admitting that I’m going to live my whole life and not do what I love to do – makes me want to give up. 

Gosh this year has just been one negative nelly moment after another. I think my job (“awesome” corporate gig in luxury hospitality!) depresses me by being so highly unfulfilling. Sorry if that’s bratty. 

Gah. 

  

Let’s do this, universe. 

In the past 3 months I’ve been to New York, San Fransisco, Palo Alto, and North Carolina. I’ve stayed at the most luxurious of of hotels and eaten at the best restaurants. I’ve made expensive decisions and pulled off massive plans and presentations. I’ve kicked ass and…and been spoiled, at least in theory.

Yeah.

So…. I’m pretty ready to walk away from all of it, to tell you the truth.

Lastnight I got home from another business trip and my daughter gave me this bracelet for Mother’s Day. “Star, star, flower,” she said, “star, star, heart.” Because they’ve been working on patterns at school, and she was proud.

beaded-bracelet-pink-orange-kids-gift

I miss her absurdly. Too absorbed by work.

I miss me.

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt this way before – as if life was testing me. I feel like I’ve been on a vision quest, clearing away some psychological garbage to make way for a brand new life. Most of it has come to light through a job that very well could have eclipsed my writing dreams with its glamour and luxury globe-trotting opportunities — but you know what? It hasn’t.

My life as an author is calling. And I’m really not into ‘the finer things’ ALL the time. I prefer the full spectrum of things. With the finer things some of the time, for sure!

Oh – I feel like something just clicked right now actually.

I’ve never stepped away from something wonderful before.

Working in luxury hospitality is wonderful. Storytelling for an amazing brand is super cool. And I’ve got lots of ‘power’ to make decisions. My voice is heard. My voice is wanted – finally. But still, as wonderful as it is in theory, it’s just not fulfilling for me. Like, at all.

I used to always yearn for some perfect job in the hopes that it could quell some of my pipe dreams. Writer? C’mon – lousy pay, unlikely future. What are the chances? That cynicism in my psyche was holding me back. Live so large? Nah. Live my dream? How dare I even.

Being tested

But the past 9 months have been test after test, and most of them are tests of my integrity and strength… and vision.

What are you made of, girl? What if you could have this shiny cool thing instead of this other thing you think you want that will be more work for less apparent reward? 

Plus the strength of character tests….

Will I be able to handle it when its hard? Will I have a voice? Will I feel paranoid when people are saying things behind my back? Will I be intimidated by the people who are smarter and snobbier than me? Do I really, really want to be a lowly fiction writer when I could be traveling the world as a high-powered corporate executive?

Yes.

I can handle it, yes I will have a voice, and sometimes yeah, I might get intimidated – and that’s ok. Because I want it 110% more than I want to succeed in marketing.

This has been my life at work – test after test, of my character and values.

It’s been bringing these strange issues to the forefront of my mind… and I’m certain that these are the themes of the years to come. They are questions for the people who are exposed and ‘out there’ as opposed to hiding, anonymous mouse in the corner, too afraid to step out of my shell.

I am learning to be more comfortable with the real ME. I am slightly on the introverted side, more so when I’m nervous, and that my comfort zone is more bohemian than luxe. Doesn’t mean I’m not strong as a bull. Doesn’t mean I’m not street smart. Doesn’t mean I’m not a leader.

I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not always responsible, either. There are times when my mind carries me far, far, far away… into the depths of my imagination, and I can barely hear anything from the real world. At those times, I probably appear pretty passive, disengaged… not good things in the corporate world.  Doesn’t mean I’m not a valuable asset. Doesn’t mean I don’t care. But I’m not a type A – never will be.

I’m gonna do me
and be me
and stop the self flogging.

Yeah, there are people talking behind my back because in this industry everyone’s talking behind everyone’s back. And you know what? I don’t really care.

They’re not wrong…. I’m not as engaged in this job and this 9-5 life as I should be. And soon, someone who’s a better fit will come in and they’ll give they’re all, because they’ll want it 110%.

There is someone out there who’s dream is THIS. But my dream is something else.

I am so certain, so deep in my soul, that I was meant to be an author. 

I’ve been blessed with the most wonderful respectable job imaginable…. yet here I am, yearning to write everyday.

I haven’t been able to get comfortable in this job. I am constantly dealing with this internal struggle.

I just want my artistic freedom so badly it hurts.

I’m ready.

I JUST WANT MY WORDS TO BE READ – Let’s do this universe!

Im ready to take my spot on the bookshelf!

10 reasons I didn’t and wouldn’t self publish, told in GIFs

Hey, I’m not knocking it. It’s just not the route for me. But this is probably the most fun I’ve had writing a post.

So here is why I didn’t and won’t self-publish: 

1. Because I love to write and I hate to market myself. I work in marketing and love to market business and brands. But me, myself? Nahhhh…. not so much. I like to write, write, write. All day and all night.
jim_carrey_gif

2. I knew that my book needed someone else. An agent. To sell it well.

Agent-Smith-in-The-Matrix-the-matrix-22575315-560-240

I have great admiration for the people who have self-published. Hell, I even have great admiration for people with super successful blogs. But it wasn’t the route for me, and I think the reasons why it wasn’t for me gives a good picture of who it’s really right for.

When I met my agent, it was a few years after I had reluctantly put my novel in the bottom drawer, after pitching it to more agents and publishers than I care to admit. I had lived through a lot of rejection, and for the time being, given up.

3. I wanted to come to market with a bang

mic-drop

clapping-crowd-applause

4. I’m not much of an online reader. I’m not on Good Reads. I don’t have Kindle… or Tinder, for that matter.

Sorry Simon Cowell, but it’s true. I’m pretty old school for a digital girl.

simon-cowell-shock

5. Because I had been completely rejected by traditional publishers. And I took that with a grain of salt. But I also took the hint. My book wasn’t quite ‘ready’ for public viewing. Wasn’t hooking anyone in. Point Taken. Got it. FINE! (Didn’t want to self-publish a moderately shined turd with potential).

funny-rejection

6. Because I knew that it would flop without my heart in it. I couldn’t fake be excited to self-publish. I wasn’t into it. I knew I would have regretted it.

Displeased

7. Because I wanted someone to love it, first.

so-beautiful

I got pregnant in 2011, and a month before having my daughter, I met with my current agent (took a chance on a mutual connection and met for coffee, thinking it would probably go nowhere!) — and lo and behold, he liked my stuff. The next three years (up to today) have been a gruelling schedule of revisions. BUT – I feel good about the way it has all come to be and we’re finally going to market to publishers in a few weeks. 

And it’s been a god send to have so much editorial support (and proofreading!)

8. I suck at administration, really bad. Like really, really bad. I hate forms or all kinds with a vengeance. And pagination haunts me.

administration-frustration

9. Because my dream involved ‘the old school way’ – a publisher, a book tour, some events, some hotel rooms… and hopefully some pampering

Daddy-I-want-Another_pony

10. Because I’m too neurotic to be trusted with constant access to this number: every sale in every country, forever. Knowing me I’d check every second, and every minute, and I’d feel like this a lot of the time:

JIm-Carrey-Gif

OR THIS

scream

When my dream is to feel more like this:

chaplin-yay

Or more accurately, this:

Jennifer-Lawrence-happy

 

There was just something about writing a book in the first place that made me feel like this:

I-got-a-Harley-Davidson

 

And saying “I’m self-published” really compounded that for me.

I wouldn’t say one way is easier or harder – I just had to do it in a way that worked for me (stubborn, snobby at times, lazer focused always) but I totally commend those (self-starters, entrepreneurs, likeable and liked folks, devoted believers in their work!) that do it the other way.

There is no telling which is the better route. Just the one that feels right I guess.

Forgiving

The past months have brought me closer to a feeling of ‘powerful’ than ever before. Something about my job and the amount of money I deal with, plus my book as it closes in on publishing.

I feel rare. I feel like I belong. I feel comfortable in my skin.

(It’s so weird.)

I feel quite comfortable making big decisions, having the final word. Owning shit.

I like being listened to, respected. I’m comfortable with attention… I want to be interviewed, have my picture taken.

All very par for the course for the average narcissistic celebrity, but it’s new for me. And….. I worry- it’s not the direction I want to take, you know? Ego Central.

As a kid I was not treated all that well. By my parents and in some cases my friends. I think the neglect and lack of love I felt at home bled into my relationships with boys. Certain boys picked on me, and I probably didn’t have the respect for my own body that I should have. I didn’t stand up for myself.

Anyway, there’s a part of me that’s very “I’ll show them” (to those boys, and to my father) and I don’t necessarily like that part of myself. I want it to transform into something else. Like love. Like generosity. I want to forgive those who have ‘trespassed upon me.’

I read an article about Bruce Springsteen and how he too had choice words for a family that wasn’t as good to him as they should have been. He basically said there are only so many times that you can go back and say see, I told you so.

I don’t even want to do it once – I just want it to go away. But it’s in me. My pain is always going to be a part of me as an artist. I guess I just gotta cultivate something more, something better… high road.

“You can always stoop and pick up nothing” — one of my favorite quotes, spoken by Charlie Chaplin’s mother, to Charlie. (More great Chaplin quotes here).

I don’t want to carry around the burden of my jilted self…. I will care for her, but not act on her behalf. BIG HUGS TO MY INNER CHILD, AND TO YOURS  – BUT LET’S NOT LET THOSE KIDS RUN THE SHOW! 

Xo,
Georgey