Last week, I hit the first big milestone for writers. I officially received representation from an agent, the extremely badass Hannah Fergesen of KT Literary. And I couldn’t be more excited about the things to come.
If I’d known from the start that getting to this point would take me eight years, I might never have opened that first blank document. But as it was, I was blissfully unaware of the amount of work it would take, so I popped open my laptop and started pounding out the words.
I’d work to the background of whispering voices in my head, looping like a track on repeat, saying over and over This isn’t for you. They would quietly tell me that I was wasting my time, that this wasn’t my path, that I wasn’t good enough, that I hadn’t read enough.
Because I wasn’t the girl who loved books from the earliest age, who everyone just knew would grow up to be a writer. I was the girl who slid through 99% of my school career without ever reading a single assigned text.
I didn’t know books could speak to me until my senior English teacher (Thank you Mrs. Farrell!) gave me an alternate assignment to read The Catcher in the Rye. It was the first book I ever loved, and I was eighteen years old when I read it.
From there, I started reading more and eventually found my home in YA books (when I was well into adulthood). I started reading everything I could get my hands on, trying to make up for lost time. But still, I hadn’t been a lifelong reader. I was starting the race miles behind.
But I was stubborn and determined, and so I kept writing, despite the voices. For eight years, I tried and failed and got closer and closer. And not once did those voices in my head let up. There were days when I’d put in my earbuds and blast Katy Perry’s “Firework” for hours on end just to drown out the noise that was reinforced with every rejection — See? You’re failing! This isn’t for you!
But I didn’t stop. And at the end of last month, I got offered representation by not one, but two great agents.
From what people with experience tell me, there is still a terrifying and rocky road to publication ahead of me. From what they tell me, it may be another eight years before I get to see a book of mine on the shelf. But I’m not going to stop now. And for all of you out there who are battling the voices, internal or external, that try to tell you This isn’t for you, I’m here to tell you that it is.
This is for you.
If you’re writing, keep going. Because no one else can tell the story that’s inside of you.
Keep going. Keep blasting music in your headphones. Keep shutting down the voices. Keep hammering out the words.
I’ll do the same. And I’ll see you out in the trenches. I’ll be the one waving at you with a smile, believing in you.