I don't think I've ever said explicitly in this journal, but I'll admit it now: I pretty much wrote THE FAKE MCCOY for Stephen Barbara.
No, no. It isn't as crazy as it sounds! It's just that with my first manuscript, Stephen gave some helpful advice with his rejection. Then, months after the rejection, he e-mailed me, asking if he could find out more my next project (which he'd learned the existence of here). I threw together an outline for him. He then asked for the full "when it [was] polished and ready." I was upfront about the fact that I'd only just started, and said I would surely send it when I was done.
A year and four months later, it was finally ready so I sent it, he read it, rejected it, and said he'd like to see my next project. OUCH.
I wasn't bitter, but "Stephen" was kind of a dirty word around these parts for a few weeks after that. But I moved on with the querying and got over it.
The thing is, as I said all along while I was writing TFM, every time I felt overwhelmed or like I wanted to give up, I reminded myself that Stephen wanted to read it. It wasn't so much about Stephen as it was the idea of him. A real, live literary agent tracked me down because he wanted to read more of my work. It was motivating. (Not motivating enough for me to crank it out faster, but motivating enough to keep me coming back to it all the time and not giving up on it.)
Yesterday, with my car falling apart (blown head gasket, we think) and my house in less than great shape (needs new windows BADLY, as well as various other sundry), I talked to my husband about looking for a full-time job. I've been doing this writing/part-time job for four years now, and there is no end in sight to our no-money having. My husband's boss didn't get the promotion he wanted, which means my husband didn't get his promotion either. And he has no interest in leaving his current employer. Really, we're screwed.
Now, I know that working full-time doesn't have to mean an end to my writing. There are many, many writers out there who work full-time, have kids, etc, and crank out tons of manuscripts. But I'm not one of those writers. I already tried writing while working full-time and was exhausted all the time. That's why we came up with this arrangement four years ago. But after four months of querying TFM, I'm not sure this is going to happen for this story. It will be at least another year before I have something new polished and ready to query. A year! That really doesn't help my blown head gasket situation in the slightest. This whole thing is feeling like a huge, pointless mistake.
My husband says it's about confidence. That I don't have any right now. And he said, "You know how before you said you were writing for Stephen? Well, now you have even more agents who have sent rejections, but who have asked to see your next project! Why can't you trust your writing and accept that the rejections are about the story itself instead of about your ability? Why can't you push forward like you did last time, knowing there are people out there who want to read what you can write?"
Well, I don't know. I guess I haven't been thinking of it like that. But I am giving it one more shot. I'm signed up for another of Liesa's classes which starts in September and ends late November. Depending on my progress after that, I'll have to decide how I can proceed. (In the meantime, no. I still don't know what to do about the car. Not at all.)