Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When You're Discouraged...

It was day three of the writers' conference, and guess how many people I'd talked to?


Well, I'd talked to A LOT people, but -- agents? Editors?

Then someone I'd never met told me something profound: She would kick my butt if I didn't go talk to SOMEONE.

My new friend set up a meeting with an agent.

For me.

Guys -- do you know what was making me schlink around like a pimple-faced teenager, hiding behind the cafeteria tables?

Two days before the conference I'd gotten a letter from an agent that sounded like this: "It's not you. It's me. I don't dig your genre."

And I felt like I was being broken up with. For the last time. This would be the end of my five year rejection streak.

I decided I would "just go to the conference as a learning experience."

Forget the fact it was the largest, most expensive, most diverse conference in the industry.

On the morning of my mandatory agent appointment I told God, "I can't do this again. I can't put myself out there."

Then I flipped open my Bible reading plan. You know what was on the agenda? The disciples whining, "We're tired. We've fished all night."

What did Jesus say? Cast your net one more time.

And I felt God whisper, Just one more time.

I went to my appointment, shaking inside. I'd procrastinated so long I had to share dinner pitches with the other attendees.

I recited what I wanted to say all the way through the buffet line. I must have looked like an idiot as I rehearsed my pitch, my lips moving silently.

I got to the table and my eyes connected with the agent's. She told me later she thought I was 17. She didn't want to listen to what I had to say. But then something magical happened.

She liked my pitch.

When I got back to my room, I looked in the mirror.

There was a big booger hanging out my nose.

I'm not lying.

But there was also a contract. With the agency I'd only dreamed of. The agency I'd picked two years prior. The agency who'd returned my first pitch with a polite form letter, "We're not looking for new clients at this time."

Guys, this is a great story. But my point is, my skin still had to get thicker. Even after getting awesome representation (who by the way stuck with me through tons of rejections -- very rare to have an agency that does that in this industry -- they are golden!) I had to keep developing NEW ideas.

It was four years after that first writers' conference when one of my projects sold.

I don't say all this to discourage you, but rather to ENCOURAGE you. Erynn's right -- you have to have thick skin if you want to succeed.

But I want you to know that skin develops over time. If you are where God wants you -- if writing is what He wants you to do -- don't fear if your skin is thin.

Ask Him to help you trust Him as He tells you to cast the net. Again. And again. And again.

And one of those times you're going to see a return for your tired muscles and throbbing head. But most of all, for your faith.

Because He's the only one who can bring to pass the designs He has for your life.


Hi - thanks for reading my mom's post. I hope you're encouraged, because I'm screaming now and my mom needs to use her energy to encourage ME.

Stop by my blog sometime. My mom thinks it's all about her, but whose picture do you see more often on here?


  1. Great encouragement and I giggled about the booger! :) I felt much like you did when I attended my first conference, but representation came from it!

  2. That's awesome, Jessica! I'm headed over to check out your blog : )

  3. Thank you for this post! I'm so glad you finally had success!