Five years ago, I announced to everyone within earshot that I was suffering severe career burnout. The path I had chosen after earning my master’s degree had lost its luster and, while it proved to be an excellent source of income for my family, it had nearly drained my reserves of humor and wit.
My mother, always a source of inspiration and commiseration, reminded me that God was not through with me yet and to not give up hope. With that in mind, at the urging of my sister (who I’ll blame since she’s not here), I started writing a book.
Wait, let me back up a bit.
Shortly after announcing my career angst, I penned three 500 word essays, just off the top of my head. They were witty little numbers about being a crazed working parent. After reading those, my dear sis dangled the idea of cranking out a manuscript.
Meanwhile, my husband (also not here at the moment), prodded me to submit them to the Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal section and with that, my literary career was on its way. Or so I thought.
For the next four years, while I continued to work full-time, my columns appeared regularly in both the print and online versions of the paper. All the while, I connected with editors and other writers, picking up several lucrative freelance assignments while continuing to work on my manuscript.
Ironically, I was so busy stocking my credibility cache to flaunt in front of potential literary agents and publishers, that my manuscript fell to the wayside. Sure, I’d occasionally dust it off for a writing contest or peer critique, and every time it got rejected, I’d revise it.
In the end, it got to the point where I no longer recognized it – until last month when, after a week long break from my day job, I opened the original version of my beloved manuscript and decided on the spot to pitch it to an agent. In person.
At the time, this bold gesture seemed like the right thing to do. Enough pussy-footing around. Publish the thing! If this agent rejected it (as agents often do), then I’d go the self-publishing route just to get it off of my plate.
Well, dear readers, my pitch appointment is exactly 48 hours from now. I was a tad anxious about it until I read an interview the agent had given on the art of pitching. His advice? Treat it like a job interview. At that, I relaxed. Having interviewed about a gazillion times over the course of my ill-chosen career, I know exactly what to do, how to dress and what to say.
It think it’s in the bag…
While he may not leap out of his chair with excitement over my story, I’m confident that I will do my best showcase my clever tale of a wayward plate spinner and leave the rest to God (who I’d blame, but he’s always here).