Writerly Endurance: Try again. Fail again. Fail better

The anxiety you feel after submitting a requested revision to an agent is paralyzing. Because with R&Rs, you’re oh-so-close to landing an agent, yet oh-so-close to falling back into the Query Trench.
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So that’s where I’m at right now — I sent the R&R and am now waiting for the agent’s response. How do I feel–knowing this is my second and final chance with Agent A? Initially, I was incredibly stressed (so much uncertainty, too many feelingsss!) until I picked up a book at the library and read this:
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I’ve heard it said that everything you need to know about life can be learned from watching baseball. I’m not what you’d call a sports fan, so I don’t know if this is true, but I do believe in a similar philosophy, which is that everything you need to know about life can be learned from a genuine and ongoing attempt to write…
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The writing life requires courage, patience, persistence, empathy, openness, and the ability to be alone with oneself. To be gentle with oneself. To look at the world without blinders on. To observe and withstand what one sees. To be disciplined, and at the same time, to take risks. To be willing to fail–not just once, but again and again, over the course of a lifetime. “Ever tried, ever failed,” Samuel Beckett once wrote. “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” It requires what the great editor Ted Solotoroff once called endurability.
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-Dani Shapiro, Still Writing
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After reading this, I was like…Oh yah! This is what it means to be a writer. Fine. BRING IT ON! I can take whatever comes my way.
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So, to the writers who are querying/on an R&R/on submission, we can never be certain of what awaits us around the corner in our writing life, but we CAN be certain that if we do get rejected (heaven forbid), we’ll probably wallow in self-pity for a few days, but then we’ll get back up and begin again. Why? Because we’re writers. We are ones who endure.
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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Writerly Endurance: Try again. Fail again. Fail better

  1. Wonderful advice. I read Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing when I heard about it on NPR and really enjoyed it and it’s nice to be reminded of it. I hope the agent loves your new R&R but if she passes…then it’s like you said. You endure! Wishing you so much luck!!!

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  2. I can’t wait to read more of Still Writing – I just read the introduction. The best I’ve read in years! I wanted to highlight everything. Thanks so much for the encouragement!!!

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  3. Great post – and true if you are published but working on the next project. I shall here that phrase as my anthem, ‘We are ones who endure!’

    Liked by 1 person

    • I imagine that it gets a bit more nerve-racking once you do get published and continue to write – as there is more expectation from readers and all. I’m glad you found that phrase encouraging!

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