Part of this whole writing business is making it up as you go. There is so much to learn, and like parenting, everyone can tell you what to expect and how to prepare and what reference books to read, but you still have to make your own mistakes and learn what works for you. That's where I am sitting now; On the realization that whereas I once believed I had it figured out, I am now aware of the fact that I, in fact, had no fucking clue.
Every writer, I believe, has to have an ego and boatloads of confidence to survive the road from dream to reality. Every writer needs to believe in themselves because there are going to be oh so many times that it seems no one else does. But every writer including this one needs to also realize that the confidence, ego, and belief in their ability has to be balanced with equal amounts of humility, because (and here's the kicker) if that mindset isn't already in place, you're in for one hell of a wake up call when the rejections start pouring in.
I freely admit that I was cocky. That I thought I was going to be The Exception to the rule. That my first draft was so spectacular and my query so eloquent that there was no way in hell I was going to be spending months looking for an agent. Somehow, that insecure self I was in high school had magically morphed into a self-congratulatory jackass that had convinced the rational me of easy roads ahead.
Don't get me wrong...I still believe in my writing. But, and I think this is a process all of us go through at some point (even if only in our heads) in order for us to really grow as writers. Think of it as maturing from a cocky teenager who thinks he knows it all to the parent who is trying to explain to their own cocky teenager that they really and truly don't. It's at that point that you how far you have come as a person.
I'm still cocky. Or cocky enough to be able to brush off the sting of each rejection. But I'm wiser, too and aware that the reality of the publishing process applies to everyone, including me. Agents aren't going to come flocking to me just because I am me. Book deals are not going to fall down from the heavens and land in my lap just because I am willing them to do so. Platforms do matter. And rewrites are the name of the game.
I am a good writer. I believe that. And I have to keep believing that or I may as well shred my manuscript right now and not even bother to start working on the next project. One day, I will have my reality. But it won't be because I was an exception. It won't be because my horoscope was a lucky one that day. Fortune cookies will not be involved.
It will be because I worked for it. And because I finally figured out that I still have plenty to learn.