Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG)


Insecure Writer's Support Group is a network of bloggers supporting one another through encouraging posts. The group posts the first Wednesday of every month, and is a place where writers can express doubts and concerns without fear. A safe haven for writers.

On the writing road with my literary agent:

I thought I'd talk this month about my experience so far working with a literary agent. It's been a little over a year that we've been working together. We mainly communicate by email which works fine by me. I aim to be a low-maintenance type client, though sometimes that's not possible.


See, I was kind of freaking out. Not about the story we'd finished but about the one that the word REVISION sent me crawling into a dark corner. Maybe I'm being dramatic (Hello, writer) but every time I started to think about revising this project it was either a.) scrap the whole thing, start over or b.) maybe this could be crafted as a YA historical magical realism southern gothic teen angst epic drama ... and I felt my sanity slipping.


So we set up a call. And while I've met my agent in person, for some reason I was really nervous to call her. Which is stupid. So I viewed this like any professional call I would make for my day job. Because really, I've surpassed the idea of hobby writing now that I've contracted with a literary agency. Writing may be my second job (that doesn't yet pay me), but it's still an area where professionalism matters, and if I had doubts or concerns about something with a client/customer at my day job, I would absolutely call.

Of course my agent was very professional, and beyond that, friendly, because she's awesome. We even ended up talking about Supernatural (we are both loyal Dean fans). But what she said that stuck with me was this: "I hear the concern in your voice. I want you to know I'm not concerned. I believe in your ability as a writer."

Wow. That meant so much. And, knowing we were on the same page really helped.


I have writer friends who've said the same thing. The same writers who have had to tell me, "This is all find and good, but where's the plot?" and "Don't kill me, but do you need this entire scene? It kind of doesn't go anywhere."

That stuff is painful to hear at the time, but so worth it. I'd like to think I'm working toward better writing in part because of the people who've told me those things and those who've discussed plot points and character development and trends and all the stuff we get stuck on.

What support have you received as a writer that helped you? Please share in the comments!

16 comments:

  1. Sounds like you have a great relationship and I bet her words helped a lot. Loved Lisa Simpson. And I appreciate people who do tell me to cut scenes, to change words or who just say, "not sure where this is going and why?" It sucks to hear, but helps in the long run.

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    1. It turns out I have many scenes that don't really go anywhere; I end up combining a lot of scenes.

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  2. Isn't it great to have people in the industry who are behind you 100%. I have that with my PR agency and it nice to know someone who reads and works with books and authors for a living think what you wrote is so good they want to spend their time working on it and getting out to the world. Sounds like you have the right agent. Good luck.

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  3. I can relate to your freak out. Revision sometimes leaves me thinking about which direction I should go in, and I end up in a death spiral of self-doubt. We need people who will both tell us what needs to be changed, and who can also ground us and calm us down when we get stuck in a cycle of doubt.

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    1. It's so hard to know what to change because often there is no one right answer.

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  4. Lisa Simpson is so right! Glad you called her in the end and I hope you're feeling better about it. Freak outs suck, but you're right; it's just part of being a writer!

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  5. I've learnt so much from my CPs. Honestly, I wouldn't know what I was doing without them! Sounds like you have a great agent; it must have been so good to hear those reassuring words.

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  6. If your agent has confidence in you, then have confidence in yourself. You can do it!
    And welcome to the IWSG.

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  7. |'d rather hear about it before my readers see it. I count my blessings because my beta readers + critters rip my stories apart. At least, then I Can fix the stuff agree with. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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  8. Oh! I'm so glad that you have supporters who believe in you and help you get through icky times :) I think we all need that.

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  9. Sounds like you have a wonderful agent. I get constant support from my critique group. We've been together now for 11 years!

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    1. Very cool! My group just formed at the end of last summer. An in-person group has been really great for discussing ideas.

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  10. That's an incredible thing for an agent to say. Sounds like you've caught a good one.

    Also, I love that Lisa Simpson graphic!

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  11. Hi Steph .. what a lovely comment to get - and she sounds so thoughtful too .. and it seems you're on the right track .. good luck as your journey continues .. cheers Hilary

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  12. Your agent sounds lovely! Sometimes we just need someone to believe in our ability as a writer to help us get through the next round of edits/revisions. I've just sent my detailed synopsis to my partner so he can take a look and tell me what he thinks - I was so nervous sending it to him, goodness knows what i'll be like when/if I ever finish the book and need to send it to critique partners to review!
    Good luck with your writing - it sounds like you're definitely on the right path :)

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    1. Thanks. It's a lot of hard work, isn't it?

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