I had hoped the argument would go away once I had one book written and done. But it didn’t.

Perhaps because I self-published instead of searching for and securing an agent it continued to feed the fear.

That I’m not good enough.

Despite being told by scores of people, many of them not related to me or even my friends, that I write very well…still I remain conflicted and anxious.

Inside my brain the debate rages on. It’s a full-out argument in those gray folds. Voice #1 is calming explaining that, “Just because somebody said I wrote well doesn’t an author make.”

Voice #2 is desperately whispering, “I can do this, I can. See, I’ll prove it.”

The rejection from my first query came in on Thursday. Rejection #1: “We are sorry, but we don’t think we are the appropriate agents for your inquiry.”

I close my eyes for a moment, stop myself from ferreting out each word and obsessing over the hidden message behind it. They didn’t say I sucked, or that I was hopeless, they said they weren’t the right agents. “It’s not you, it’s me.” I’ve been dumped, and we didn’t even get to second base!

Despite my best efforts I feel rejected and it stays my hand for a day, two days. I write nothing.

I force myself to address a new query letter. Voice #2 is firm, if quiet, “You must keep trying. You must keep the faith. Even if you receive thirty rejections, don’t give up.”

Voice #1 pipes up as I carry the envelope to the mailbox, “You’re sending that new query letter to who?! The International Creative Management agency? Are you high? They deal with star talent!”

I push the red flag up on my mailbox as the second voice counters, “So they might say ‘no’… so what? We’ll try again and again and again until we find the right agent.”

My stomach roils as I read a list of veritable “Who’s Who” that are represented by the agency in question. A small, thin thread of hope blossoms, a dreamy-eyed “what if” hits and I am transported by the vision of the possible.

I savor it for a moment. Smile at the thought of being in the company of giants…Steve Martin, Patricia Cornwell, Toni Morrison, Anna Quindlen, and more.

I know that it will hurt when the rejection comes in again. But maybe, just maybe, it won’t.

Meanwhile I’ll keep dreaming, and writing, and working. I’ll keep my hope, try to power through those moments of doubt when Voice #1 is so strong and so loud. I’ll listen for the quiet calm of Voice #2. I’ll keep submitting my query letters, honing my craft, and believing.

And you know what?

In whatever you choose to do, so…should…you.

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