CONTEXT: Writing and Waiting

Time Photo7/14/16 I photographed my calendar and wrote this blog post the second week of  May, and set it aside to wait to see how I should end it– which totally depended upon someone else, and now I know.

In the winter of 1838-39, the 600 or so citizens (records differ) of Quincy and/or Adams County, Illinois, took in 5000 Mormons who had been expelled from Missouri by Executive Order of the Governor. When I learned that a publisher was buying books for a series for adolescent girls in which something historic happened in a specific place and year, I wanted to write about that.  So began a decade of fascinating research on the beginnings of Mormonism.

I finished the book, only to be informed that the last book in the series had just been purchased.  So I used my research to write another one.  A publisher and an agent have seen the first few chapters of it, and said they loved it; but one was afraid it might be too controversial, and the other wants me to develop a “platform” for my writing before she will represent it. Last week another extended an invitation to submit a full proposal for it with a complete manuscript.

I had written, and rewritten, and rewritten again, and saved each edition of each chapter in Word files, but I had never before put all 30 chapters together into a whole book.  Last week I edited each one word-by-word and saved them in one gigantic file, and Saturday night I submitted it.  I feel like I’ve been grieving ever since.  Isn’t that peculiar?

Maybe not.  The research and writing occupied most of my discretionary time for a decade, and now it’s done. The end of the process is a really good thing–I completed it!  But suddenly not having the motivation and the reason to write THAT book feels like a gigantic loss of direction in my life. Many agents and publishers issue the caveat that a writer should wait 60 or 90 days to receive a response, and if none has come by then, the agent isn’t interested. The author doesn’t know if the agent ever saw it, saw it and can’t decide, or loved it and is taking it forward for purchase.

7/14/16 Now 60 days have passed, and I never heard back.

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