Publishing is brutal. It’s the first thing you learn as a new writer, and it’s a lesson reiterated at every step along the way. From drafting to critiquing to querying to subbing. Brutal. All of it.
Previously, my record on receiving a rejection for a query was thirty minutes from the time sent. Thirty minutes. I know what you’re thinking. How can anyone make up their mind so fast?
(The simple answer, of course, is that these kinds of responses from literary agents are part and parcel of the job. It’s their career. They can’t spend all day on one query. It’s business.)
And I totally get that. Time is money. And just like I can tell whether or not I’m going to enjoy a book by the back cover copy or by perusing a random page in the middle, agents know what they’re looking for, and when they find it, there’s no question. So thirty minutes? That’s fast, but I get it.
This week, I received a rejection eleven minutes after sending a query. I’m not sure I even had time to get my hopes up in thinking this agent might have been the one for me.
No, really, I don’t think you understand how fast that is. You can’t even watch half an episode of My Little Pony in that time. (I’m a parent. MLP is how we measure time around here. What of it?)
All of this to say, hang in there, querying writers. I know exactly where you’re coming from. And as many times as we lament about long wait times* for query responses, I’m not sure the alternative is really any better.
*Long wait times being six weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks, a year, or more…
There’s a job opening in a microbiology laboratory where I used to work. I’ve said often to friends and family how much I missed working in the micro lab, how much fun the testing could be, how interesting the job. And yet…
I have no less than four headhunters who have emailed me about this position in the past 48 hours. It’s a contract position with the potential for permanent work. But do I want permanent work? Do I want to commit my hours to working for dollars instead of writing for none? Am I ready to give up on a dream of writing novels full-time to have the security and extra money a job outside the home would bring?
Before you comment, let me stop you. 1. I’ve heard all these arguments before, and 2. I’ve been having the same conversation with myself for days now. It’s not giving up on a dream to accept the reality of supporting your family and easing the financial burden by helping to bear the load. But there’s a lot to consider because taking a full time job outside of the house is more than just 40 hours a week. It’s also 7-10 hours of commute time.
Beyond that, it’s giving up all the luxuries I currently have. No, not the financial luxuries. I’m talking about the school field trips I chaperone, the classrooms I assist in for fun activities, the holiday parties I can help plan for my kids. These are the things I can never get back, the things time won’t wait on. By going back to work full time, I’d be putting my kids and family second again – at least as far as time constraints go. (Certainly not in regards to feelings!)
So, while there’s a part of me that longs for the financial freedom a second household income would bring, and the knowledge that I’m helping my husband to bear the financial load a bit more, I think I’ll pass on the microbiology lab for now. The lab will be there in five years and in ten. My 8 and 12-year-olds will not. Time has a habit of stealing our youth and I intend to build as many memories with my kids as I can while they’re still young.
And writing? I will always have writing. Being home just allows me to pursue it more passionately.
So if you’ll excuse me, I have some faces to paint at the 6th grade school carnival in a half hour and rocks to paint in a 2nd grade classroom later today. Pharmaceutical microbiology and financial freedom can wait.