To find a literary agent for Commandments of a Mistress, there is a practical to-do list. This list includes researching agents who seem like they’ll dig my vibe. Everything else is ready. Query letter is written. My book is done. But wait, “Is it done? Is it horrible?” I consciously remind myself to have faith in it and me.
Why are the things we want most, often the most unfathomable? My heart seems to think the only thing between me and my dreams is ME. The pervasive thought I had yesterday was, “Regardless of the quality of my book, do I think I am good enough to have the career I want?”
I often find parallels to my situation with my elusive novelist career to finding “the one.” Maybe this is because there is a lot more information out there for women who can’t find Mr. Right than there is for women struggling with their career potential. (There’s a Beyoncé song about this, isn’t there?)
I hear some women talking about finding the right guy, the way I talk about my book. And our assertions are equally wrong.
“I’m just going to focus on my career instead.” v. “I’m just going to focus on my relationship instead.”
“All the good ones (guys) are taken.” v. “All the good ones (agents) are taken.”
“My looks!” v. “My talent!”
This is the best I can do so I might as well settle for what I have.
I’ve never questioned my value as a romantic partner, and while I have had relationships that didn’t work out, I knew without a doubt I would meet “the one.” And I did. Last year in fact—ten weeks before my 30th birthday. Perfect timing really because I don’t think I was ready before then. I needed time to develop. My unwavering faith was also matched by a standard that I would never settle for a love less than what I believe I deserve.
I’ve always wondered why I can’t muster the same faith in my intellect, my ability, my Commandments of a Mistress…
I don’t have the answer. Not even close. I try to create a narrative that changes the way I think. While the practical checklist to get my novel published is obvious, I think about scribbling in: Faith must come first.
For me, I’ve taken comfort in these words from Liz Gilbert (of Eat Pray Love fame).
From an Oprah interview two years ago:
Everyone is on a hero’s journey. You can choose to accept the call or reject the call in order to be highest form of your being.
If you deny the call, it’s not going to be an interesting story. If you want to be the hero, you have to answer the call.
Then comes the rejection and the road of trials, then come the characters who show up. The friends who look like enemies, the enemies who look like friends, the wise older woman who shows up, the trickster…
And you take what you need from them. Then comes the dark night of the soul, also known as the belly of the whale, the lowest moment, where you lose all faith and you consider quitting or maybe even dying. You’re humbled. You’re broken. And that is where you need to call on divine assistance and whatever the super natural power is you need, you call upon. Then the power comes. And with that recovery from the rock bottom, you learn your own talents and your own strengths and you have everything you need for the battle and in the battle, you lose your fear. In the battle, the hero loses all fear of death, which is what all fear is. Then you can face anything and then you become victorious.