I've done blog posts before about my struggles with infertility, but I've been thinking a lot lately about the parallels between trying to have a baby and trying to get a book published.
In both cases, you do everything you possibly can to ensure the outcome you want:
-You decide you want to be published
-You write a book, you let your CP's hack it to pieces, you put it back together again to give yourself the best chance.
-Rinse, lather, and repeat with your query letter and synopsis.
-You send your book out into the agent world and hope someone somewhere in that sea of queries finds yours, falls madly in love with it, and elevates it from slush to published book
-You decide you want a baby
-You figure out your cycle, pee on ovulation sticks, take your temperature etc. to give yourself the best chance
-Rinse, lather and repeat each month
-You drag your spouse into the bedroom even when you're both exhausted and completely uninterested, in the hope that one bumbling sperm out of a billion will somehow find your egg, fertilize it, and make it become a baby
For some people, the journey through both processes is fairly easy and minimally bumpy. For others, one might be a lot easier than the other.
But I'm going to be blatantly honest when I say it gets extremely hard to fail at both simultaneously. There's a line in a Matchbox 20 song that says Sometimes you can still lose even if you really try, and I often feel like the personification of that line.
I've been trying to have a baby since 2008. Since then I've been through 3 specialists, numerous tests and procedures, 2 surgeries, and 2 heartbreaking miscarriages.
I've also been trying to get published since 2010. Since then I've written two manuscripts, been through numerous query rejections, 2 partial rejections, and 2 full rejections. I have a partial and 2 fulls out with ms #2, and those could very well end up rejections, too.
In both endeavors, I've come so close, but no cigar. And I'm not writing this post because I'm pregnant - I'm not - or because I got over the wall and I'm about to get published. No dice there, either. But I am writing it to say that the best way to ensure that neither of these things will happen is to give up trying.
I'm not even saying that giving up is a bad thing, if it's what a person needs to do to salvage their sanity. But I am saying that if you want something badly enough... you don't give up.
And I sure as hell have moments when I want to. But then I look at this:
Out of the 24 cycles represented on these pages, I was only able to get pregnant in ONE of them.
People around me have had two and three children in this amount of time. And you bet your ass it's discouraging.
BUT- had I not been trying, it probably wouldn't have happened at all. And yes, the pregnancy may have ended in miscarriage, but at least I know I can get there. Now, it's a matter of making it stick.
It's the same with writing.
There are only so many times you can get thisclose and watch people around you succeed with a fraction of the effort before you want to throw yourself on the ground and scream. To which I say, go right ahead. You've earned it.
But just because one person succeeds on cycle #2 or query #2 doesn't mean that another person can't succeed on cycle #200 or query #200. It just means that if you stop trying to get there, you never will.
So until you stop wanting it, never stop trying to get it.