My Scariest Moment, and the Happy Ending

If there’s one thing I think we writers can all agree on, it’s that this business we’re in is no picnic. For the few, fleeting high moments, we face low lows, huge emotional costs, endless hours of drudgery, and even terrifying moments where we come face to face with our fears.

A few months ago, I faced one such moment. I didn’t draw any attention to it on Twitter or my blog, but some of you might have notice that I erased my agent’s name from my profile. To put it briefly, I faced one of those terrifying scenarios that no fresh-faced, dreamy-eyed writer embarking into the Query Trenches ever wants to imagine:

What if I finally land an agent, but then things don’t work out?

I won’t go into the details here, but suffice it to say that my former agent is a lovely, smart, capable person. Anyone would be lucky to have her. And yet, for she and I, things simply didn’t go in the direction I hoped.

The realization that things weren’t working crept up on me slowly. At first, I avoided looking at it. Then, as it grew louder in my mind, I tried the equivalent of plugging my ears and humming Jingle Bells. The people-pleaser in me even tried to insist that my former agent was a perfectly nice person and I would be a total jerk to leave her.

But the truth wouldn’t go away. And that moment, that realization that truly my best option was to part ways with my agent and go back to Square One, was the scariest moment I’ve had so far in my writing career.

I felt sick to my stomach for days. The only thing that kept me going was my belief and love for the new book I’d been writing. That, and the absolutely invaluable support of my wonderful, amazing friends and twin sister. Still, it was a dark, terrifying feeling to be alone again. To be back where I’d started.

And then, I asked myself “So what?” Yes, it sucked to be agentless again. But so what? What was I going to do? Give up? After all the work, over all those years? After the tears and sweat and fighting?

Giving up simply wasn’t an option.

So I finished my novel. I edited my heart out. I crafted yet another query letter. I researched agents. I took a deep breath and started querying again.

And you already know this story has a happy ending. Indeed, it does.

I am beyond thrilled to announce that I have signed with Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media!

I’m grateful that I didn’t ignore that terrifying truth screaming in my head. It would have been easier. It would have been less work. But as I said at the beginning of this post, our business is no picnic. And fighting through the darkness is what we writers do best.

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35 Responses to My Scariest Moment, and the Happy Ending

  1. nicolekrell says:

    Yay!! I am so happy for you!! I can’t imagine what that must have been like, but I am glad things have worked out for you.

  2. Leigh says:

    Congrats on the terrific news of getting (yet another) agent!

  3. Yay again!! 😀 😀 😀 So happy for you. :) And FYI, your book is FABULOUS!

  4. Congratulations! Hooray for happy endings!

  5. Tara says:

    Congratulations, Renee–that’s terrific news! Good luck with everything.

  6. Jessica Hill says:

    Congrats!! So glad something good came out of it! Good luck :)

  7. Lisa Aldin says:

    I’ve been there! I’m still working on my new story though. It’s worth it. Congratulations!

  8. Hmmm. Me thinks there must have been Multiple Offers for the fabulous Miss Renee. Oui?

    That is AWESOMER still.

    I hope 2012 will be filled with good news. You’ve earned it.

  9. Nicole-Thanks! It was crazy, but all worth it. :)

    Leigh-Thank you!

    Chantele-Aw, you’re so sweet. Thank you :)

    Jenilyn-Hooray, indeed!

    Tara-Thank you so much!

    Jessica-Yes, I am too. :) Thanks

    Lisa-It’s so scary, isn’t it? But I really believe it works out when you follow your gut. Best of luck with your new book!

    Kristen-Actually yes. I did have a couple offers, which was very humbling and exciting.

    I’m truly hoping that 2012 brings awesome news for both of us. :)

  10. Julie says:

    Congratulations! Sometimes the hardest decisions we make turn out the best for us. Glad it worked out for you!

  11. This is a great story of wisdom and courage. Congratulations and best wishes!

  12. Congratulations!!! I can’t imagine what it was like for you to leave your first agent, but I’m so glad you found another. I hope the new year brings more great news for you:)

  13. Hoorah for bravery, listening to your gut, and happy endings.

  14. It seems writing a book, editing it, then finding an agent all happened very quickly for you. This from the girl who was my slow twin. Now you are prolific? I hope we can still be friends.

  15. Oh and congrats. What a nice Christmas present.

  16. Congrats again! I know Mollie is excited to be working with you!

  17. Amber Lynae says:

    This is such a great example of trusting in your instinct and forging ahead with faith.

  18. WONDERFUL! I’m so excited for you!

    *hugs and happy dances*

  19. Sophia Chang says:

    Oh wow. Thanks so much for sharing this story! Glad to see it all worked out!

  20. Ren, I’m so very excited for you! I remember talking to you at the writing retreat and feeling like you were heading in the right direction. You were thinking then that parting ways might be the best thing, and I know you were following your instincts and your heart – the only way to go. I just can’t wait to read the book, dang it.

    Anyway, congrats, my dear friend. I love happy endings. :)

  21. I don’t know HOW I missed this post on Wednesday, but YAY!!!! I’m SO excited for you. You worked your butt off on this book and it’s fantastic. You deserve an agent who loves it as much as Mollie does. Congrats to you both! *hugs*

  22. Julie-I really think that’s true. Or at least, I hope!

    Angelina-Thank you! :)

    Melissa-Thanks! It was very scary, but I’m glad I did it!

    Jayne-Thanks!

    Jessie-I wouldn’t say prolific. More “scared out of my mind.” 😉

    Genn-Thank you so much! You definitely helped me make up my mind. 😀

    Amber-Thanks! Instinct is a scary one to listen to, but it *is* usually right. :)

    Miriam-Thank you! It’s a huge relief. :)

    Sophia-Thanks! :)

    Michelle-I can honestly say I wouldn’t have dared to make such a bold choice without the amazing encouragement of all you guys. You all ROCK.

    Jenn-Thank you SO much. For everything. Like I said to Michelle, just above, you guys helped me through the darkest moments. I couldn’t have done it without you!

  23. Monica B.W. says:

    OMG, you’re right!! We WERE going through the same thing!! And YES!! It is SOOO scary to decide to take the next step and plunge in the query-go-round again!
    But I’m so excited for you!! And I have a feeling that 2012 will be an awesome year for us!! 😀 CONGRATULATIONS!!! <333
    Let me know if you want to catch up via email! <333

  24. Ruth Josse says:

    Wow, congratulations! Happy dance and a loud Yippee!

  25. Kasie West says:

    I missed this post when I was out of town! Sorry. I’m sooooooooooo happy for you! Congratulations! You truly earned this. Can’t wait for your next success!

  26. Congrats! Getting an agent twice just shows what an excellent writer you are!

  27. So happy that you and Monica found the right place. :o) Congrats–can’t what to hear all about your book when it gets picked up!

  28. storyqueen says:

    I do believe that things have a way of working out…if you proatviely MAKE them work out! Hooray for you!

    Happy Christmas!

    Shelley

  29. Congratulations on your great news after such a hard road!! We are agency sisters now; I’m repped by Hannah Brown Gordon at Foundry. :) Hope things go extremely well for you with Mollie!

  30. Myrna Foster says:

    Congratulations! I’ve read good things about Mollie. :o)

  31. Yay! I’m so glad this story has a happy ending. Here’s to you and Molly taking on the world!

  32. Thank you all so much!

    Sorry for the mass response. I’ve been so busy with moving that I’ve barely had time to edit my book, let alone blog.

    But I appreciate all of your support so much!

  33. Candice says:

    You’re my hero.

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  35. In typical Shelly style, I’m a month late on reading this post but wow what a roller coaster! I’m glad it worked out so well. Sometimes we have to trust our guts (even when they’re turning and writhing)