This week’s Boldness in the Face of Anxiety post is particularly hard for me to write for one reason, and one reason alone: I’m going to have to follow through and do something I’ve been avoiding.
Last week, I was texting with a writer friend, and we were telling each other about our recent endeavors in our agent searches. The subject of full manuscript requests came up. I mentioned that an agent I really, really, really want to offer representation currently has my manuscript…since mid-October.
My friend suggested touching base with the agent (this particular agency does not have any posted submission follow-up guidelines). Her advice is sound and makes perfect sense. In fact, if the tables were turned, I would tell her the exact same thing. So, why haven’t I done it, yet. One very important reason: I’m chicken s***.
As long as there’s no response, hope still remains. Yeah, I know that’s whack logic because it can be countered with “But if you ask, you might get a ‘yes’ faster and end yourself of this turmoil.” While that is true, one key factor is forgotten: my fears and emotions don’t work in logic. I want to stay in my “limbo” bubble because it’s safe. But we don’t grow by staying safe.
I’m reminded of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where Captain Picard, who has a heart condition because of a fight he was in when he was younger, was given an opportunity to go back in time and change the past. He did, and as a result, avoided the injury that threatened his life decades later.
When he was returned to present time, he was no longer Captain; he was nothing more than a low-ranking junior science officer. Why? Because taking risks is what ultimately lead to him commanding the Enterprise, and by removing that factor, his life went down a completely different path. Picard demanded to be brought back in time again so he could put things back the way they originally unfolded, even if that meant dying on the operating table in what was his present time. He couldn’t be satisfied living a “safe” life.
To get ahead, we need to take (reasonable) risks, even if it hurts sometimes or yields less-than-desirable results. And If I’m going to give any kind of advice, I need to be able lead by example. So, this week, I will emailing the agent that has my full manuscript (unless she coincidentally beats me to it). Now, granted, I may not do it until Friday afternoon (because I’m still chicken s***), but it will get done. If nothing else, because I refuse to allow the fear and anxiety rule over me.
‘Til next time!
UPDATE: OMG! I did it! I sent the follow-up email to the agent—and a day earlier than my Friday deadline, at that! Now, for the real nail-biter: the dreaded wait.