Recently, in a silent auction, we won a giant, inflatable, boat-pulled unicorn (plus associated tow rope and life jackets).
My five-year-old son was delighted.
We brought it out to the toy and inflated it on the porch, and our son (and two-year-old daughter) climbed on right away. We played with it, rocking it back and forth like it was on the water. Then we brought it down to the water and played with it off the swimming rock, letting it rock in real waves but close to shore, and still the kids had an amazing time. Last, we hooked it up to the boat, set to drag it behind with one of the kids riding with one of us.
And then, rather suddenly, it was too much for our son.
He didn’t want to ride it anymore. He was afraid, he said. He worried he’d fall off, even with one of his parents holding him on.
So I rode on it by myself to show him it was safe, and then our two-year-old daughter rode with me, proving it was even safer, and finally that convinced him to give it a go.
Of course, he loved it. In his words: “this is the greatest thing ever!”
OK, nice story, I hear you say. But why are you filing this under “On Writing”?
Well. I haven’t posted in a while. Took me a bit to get over my first querying experience, which was a spectacular failure. Numbers aren’t really that important, but ultimately I was ghosted on my only full request and received a quick rejection on a partial request, and that was it, out of all my efforts with pitch parties, mentorship opportunities, and cold querying.
People told me this is quite normal. People told me that querying was in a terrible place at the time, and I’d have more luck next time after things calm down. They suggested I get back and do it again.
But that’s not what my brain said. It concocted all kinds of horrifying stories about how agents must have hated my book, how they must have laughed at me for even trying. And then, rather suddenly, it all seemed too much for me.
My confidence has taken a pretty hard blow. I’ve written two more books since, but haven’t yet brought them to querying level. I am afraid that they will not be good enough, and am obsessing over trying to figure out where I went wrong in my first book and how to make it better in my next books. I know every book must be the best you can write but I want better.
But, of course, I’ve barely left shore. At this point, I’m no more than sitting off the swimming rock, playing in real waves, waiting to be hitched behind a boat and take off. I’ve had one querying experience. I’ve finished four and have been at this for not even four years yet. True, some authors get lucky. Others toil for fifteen years (or more). Everyone has their own journey. But everyone has to stay on that journey, as the alternative is giving up all together.
What does a giant inflatable unicorn look like? Look no further…
It’s still not certain if our son really likes riding our unicorn toy. Back at the cottage for a long weekend in August, and he rode on it once behind the boat but couldn’t be convinced to do it again – the water was a little choppy and made the ride bumpier, both more exiting and more frightening. He’ll grow into it, grow into his confidence, as he gets stronger and better at swimming too. Just like I’ll grow into my own writing journey, as I get stronger and become a better writer. I need to get back a shred of confidence and ride again, and focus on how much I’m enjoying the process, rather than worrying about every little bump on the water. And perhaps one day I will ride the giant, inflatable unicorn of publishing success.
Want to find out more about my latest projects, chat about writing, or suggest other ridiculous inflatable cottage toys for me to win at silent auctions? Reach out and say hi, or connect with me on twitter. I’ll respond, unless I’m at the cottage.