Janet Reid said that if you have FINISHED a manuscript you are entitled to call yourself a writer. Davin Malasern said the same thing a few weeks ago (Literary Lab). So, I am a writer.
That being said, finally, now comes the hard part. Waiting. I've been waiting since last weekend for the 5 agents I queried to get back to me. The ones who said they would get back to me within a two week time frame. It has now been ten days. Those are my A-list e-mail queries. I also have A-list snail mail agents to query. If those fail, I have B-list e-mail and B-list snail mail. I don't have C-list.
Every agent blog I have read (and I've read quite a few) says that you have to start the next book while waiting. I've tried. I actually already have the first four chapters written on book number two and the first three on book number three and a synopsis of sorts on book number four. It doesn't help with the waiting.
Every day, twice a day I check my e-mail address to see if someone, anyone, has sent anything. Yes, we love it, no we hate it, form rejection, rejection with some praise...nothing. You have no unread e-mails in your box. It's depressing. It's frustrating and needless to say it almost, almost makes me want to give up this whole idea and go work at fast food chain number one. (Just so you know, I will never work for a fast food chain -- did it when I was 16 and I will never smell like a french fry again.) But you know what I mean.
I have the luxury of being able to write full time. Like a job. Almost like a job. I have no boss, I have no deadlines, I have no phone to answer or people to deal with. But this is the hardest job I've ever had. I have to MAKE myself work, type, rearrange my drafts, revise, revise, revise, and with no critique partner or beta-reader, I don't catch all the mistakes, the gaffs, the holes.
The other morning I awoke at 2:13 in a cold sweat. One of my heroes couldn't possibly have been where he was supposed to be and do the things he was supposed to do because at the time he was fighting Napolean. Talk about crazy. So at 2:19 I was sitting at my computer rewriting chapter 17, and the prologue and half the dialogue in chapter 8. I suppose I could have waited until my daughter went to school to do it, but the manuscript is out in query to five different people -- what if they wanted a partial or full the very next day??? How stupid would I have looked to send it out with such a blatant mistake.
This is why I am a writer? To be tortured with angst and wake up at 2:13? No I am a writer because I have stories to tell. They might not be Hemingway or Faulkner or Flannery O'Conner stories but they are mine and I want to tell them. I want someone to say to me, just once, "I LOVED your book, it was FANTASTIC! I never wanted it to end." This is why I am a writer.