Today is finally Friday, and I’m so excited for the weekend. All weekends are highly anticipated, but this weekend is a little more special than most. This weekend is my sister-in-laws baby shower, and I can’t wait to celebrate my newest little nephew! I already have two handsome nephews and one gorgeous niece, and being an aunt is one of the best things. I get to love and spoil these little peanuts, but I’m not in charge of daily discipline and making sure they don’t turn into assholes one day. And with my little love bug Marvin, I’m not in charge of nightly feedings and explosive diapers. Thank God I’m pretty much past that stage with my kiddos. But there’s just something so amazing about preparing to welcome a new addition to the family, and we cant’ wait for baby Lewis to make his debut in a couple of months.
Tootsie is just as excited, the girl loves babies! We are going to have a small girls outing later today , and head out to the mecca of baby world to pick up some essentials for the baby and parent’s to be. I pulled up their registry earlier, and it all came flooding back to me. All the crap you need to have a baby. And more importantly, all the crap you don’t need to a have a baby. I remember standing in Babies R Us with the fun little registry gun, feeling like a kid in a candy store, while my husband was completely overwhelmed by everything that store told us we just had to have. It was a lot! And being first time parents, we had to have it all! We were there forever, the gun beeping away while we added item after item after item to our ever expanding list. I think my husband was sweating by the time we left. We were lucky enough to get almost everything on that list, and then we laughed when we didn’t end up needing half of it. So much preparation, so much anticipation of what we would need, and so much wasted on a baby who hated being a swing and never wanted to be in a stupid bumbo seat.
This week on Facebook, a memory popped up (I just love those memories!) showing how one year ago I was declaring to the world how I was finally ready to start looking for an agent. Posted was a picture of my yellow legal pad, and all the names and notes I had searched long hours for. I couldn’t help but think back to how I was feeling at that time, and all the hard work that went into preparing my agent list. And again, I was forced to laugh at all the preparation and all the anticipation…and how much time I wasted on things I didn’t need. I remember looking up hundreds of agents in a copy of Publisher’s Marketplace and not knowing the different between upmarket fiction and women’s lit. My book was fiction and meant for women, so why not send a query? And the query letter I wrote, oh boy! But I’d read countless books and articles that gave specific instruction as to how to write one…it had to be good, right? The pile of rejection letters I got would say otherwise!
Both parenting and trying to break into the publishing world have both shown me that time and experience are the most important tools that I need. A baby book might tell me the best way to clean out my kids snotty nose, but nothing but experience could teach me how to hold Spuds arms between my legs while I shoved a little rubber aspirator up his nose and sucked out his snot. And just like writing a query letter and getting published, books could only explain so much. I needed practice and the help of others to show me a better way to do things.
It’s funny to look back on where I’ve been, and how far I’ve come. I’m not published yet, but I’m getting closer. I have an agent, and I have interest in my MS from a couple of publishers. And even if those fall through, there are still countless opportunities out there waiting for me. I attended my NEORWA meeting last weekend, and this same feeling of satisfaction…of knowing how far I’ve come…washed over me. I wasn’t a quivering ball of nerves when I stepped into the room, and I didn’t sit quietly by myself and wait for the meeting to start. I talked to other writers about their work and about their lives, and I told them where I am as well. In our small group, I volunteered to go over the scene in my WIP, and then preceded to answer questions about how I’ve gotten to the point in my writing I currently am. It felt good to know that I can now offer a few words of encouragement to others who are sitting where I was a year ago. And it felt even better to know there were so many women in my group who have gone much farther than I have, who are willing to offer me support and encouragement.
So a year has gone by since I sent out those first query letters, and I’m happy with where I am. Beyond happy! I’m thrilled! Time seems to go by so slowly until we realize who quickly it’s really gone, and we think we need to have everything figured out before we take that first step. But it simply isn’t possible. We never know where one step, and then the other, will lead us. We can only prepare the best we can, and then look back and laugh at how little we really knew. Because if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that time and experience will always hand us our most important lessons.