Writer As Hunter, Agent As Gatherer.

 “You don’t choose a story, it chooses you. You get together with that story, somehow; you’re stuck with it. There certainly is some reason it attracted you, and you’re writing it trying to find out that reason.”

Robert Penn Warren

On a daily basis, droplets of information, sounding much like the rain on our tin roof, make tiny taps against our brains, telling us things, and with their secret knocks, gaining entry. Books, television, internet, newspapers, radio …

The information is important, if not skewed or sensationalistic at times, and good to know; when you know, things change. YOU change. 

The same goes for the query process. With writer as hunter, and agent as gatherer, being cast into the hunter role has been a stretch that feels as good as it felt unsettling, at first. Sure, I’m a person who wants to stretch in order to grow, even if the process is painful from time to time, or riddled with uncertainty. I know that, in the end, when you secure that happy ending, it’s those very factors, coupled with courage, that make the outcome sweeter.  

The truth is, in the grand scheme of things, the impossible and the difficult make the ride more exciting. In their simplest terms, obstacles are just another opportunity to repledge the cause, and to (hopefully) solidify your convictions.

I do have my work cut out for me; I may only say it loud enough to hear when I’m alone, but I write to improve the world — as I believe words have that much power. Touching or reaching just one person changes their world, and in consequence, their contribution to the world at large. It really is that simple, sometimes.

We read others’ words for a myriad of reasons, and carry with us those sentiments that wake us from our apathy. We turn to those words as a source of wisdom, validation, comfort, sweetness, mind-expansion, understanding, and for every other reason we need them.

As I continue to navigate the query process, laughing and screaming from the front row of the rollercoaster, I’m learning not to take rejection personally, not to give up the fight, not to surrender to self-doubt, and how much room there is to grow in the process.

Overall, I’m a better person for it; in the worst case scenario, even if I never published, the novel I wrote changed my world, and my contribution to the world at large.

And it continues to do so. It has its own reasons for being, bigger than me, and separate from my personal vision. It has already worked its magic on me, and whether that magic is contagious remains to be seen, but the courage to hope and to believe may very well be the best magic of all.


9 Responses

  1. Great blog. And a really great attitude, too. I need to be more like that. 🙂

  2. There is much to be said for the transformation of oneself that a book one writes performs. So it is for me, and in a sense, it is that transformation which is of interest to a reader. I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but it makes excellent sense. What WALDEN did for Thoreau is what we want it to do for us. I wonder if it applies to Shakespeare as well. And then what to make of FINNEGIN’S WAKE?
    Following your lead I am working on my own non-MySpace blog, a professional blog so to speak.

  3. Thanks, Dube. I’m happy to share. : )

    I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps, in simple terms, it’s as easy as taking control of the process — taking control by making the decision to decide how the query process is seen or experienced, and to allow the process to be more important than just the end result.

    It’s something I am actively working on, daily. There’s so much personal growth to be found in pushing oneself out of ones comfort zone; that experience is an important one, also, and the confidence it builds can only impact the query process (and the mental processes involved) in a positive way — because that approach will shore up the mental reserves necessary to press on in the face of rejection or flagging hopes.

    In addition, as antithetical as it may sound, I want to ENJOY the process. (I will enjoy this process, dammit! : )


  4. Hey Harlan —

    I love the way you put it. Yes, we seek the inner experience of a book, the way it makes us feel or fly and how it nudges us to grow and expand, and if it does so for the writer, and does it well, the readers, too, will be whisked along for the magnificent journey.

    It’s why I say books are magic. Our minds are magic. Words are magic. And it’s a sacred, lasting magic.

    I’m psyched to see you have a blog on blogspot! Hooray! I plan to stop by later, as we have some fence-mending we’re doing here, hot work, plus the monsoon winds have blown up a flap of the roof of the steel shelter. We need to reattach it, before this eve’s rain.

    I just needed to come in to cool off for a sec. It was great to see your and Dube’s responses. : )


  5. Em, I admire how balanced and steady you sound here! Your last paragraph was especially good.

  6. Hey Steph!

    Thank you. : )

    As I wrote in another reply to you, I got tired of kicking myself around. The opportunity to become more balanced and steady is right here in the query process — and it’s important to get your growth where you can, especially when such a big opportunity is right here, right now.

    It can only make ones writing better, besides make one a better writer for an agent or editor to work with. There’s much to be accomplished in the process, besides just the end result.

    It’s so much easier to be positive, too. : ) When it’s time, your time will come — that’s what I tell myself. In the meantime, grow toward it, and work hard toward it.


  7. You’re right – pushing past your comfort zone does tend to build confidence. I like the idea of enjoying the process itself rather than just the possible end result.

  8. Me too. : )


  9. […] | user-saved public links | iLinkShare 2 votesWriter As Hunter, Agent As Gatherer.>> saved by micahmarkman 1 days ago4 votesBecause open is better>> saved by mbatho 4 days ago1 […]

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