Run your race

I’ve been thinking a lot about my running progress…well, more like focusing on the pain as I push through yet another grueling session. I still can’t push myself further than about a mile before I start to think my knee is going to explode. But as of today, my lungs feel fine. It didn’t take me as long to recover as it did two weeks ago. And that’s awesome.

As I sat in a hurdler’s stretch on my front lawn this morning, so happy that I managed to minimally limp on my run, the fifty-something guy down the street blew passed my house like he was going for Olympic Gold in the 100m dash. I picked my jaw up off the concrete. He lives, like, 2 miles away for goodness sake! I reigned in my death glare. He looked at me and waved. I waved back, very unenthused and still sweating bullets. Just before he passed my house he yelled, “Have a good day!” He wasn’t even out of breath. You can’t imagine the profanity that flew through my head.

I went from feeling like this…

…to feeling like this, in two seconds flat…

My good day was shot. The old dude was gone on his run for over an hour. I know because I watched out my window with a big ass bag of potato chips. He jet by the house on his way back, too. He still didn’t look winded. I started wondering how it’s possible that a guy like that is able to make me feel like I’m not even moving. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll never get to that point–it’s so far off the horizon for me right now. I can barely drag my feet around a mile loop!

I got to thinking…

I’ve felt this feeling before. I’ve been feeling it all week actually. And I’m not only talking about my pathetic runs that make me feel like I should invest in canes and walkers right now. I’m talking about my writing journey.

I got my first rejection from a New York editor yesterday. It hurt. Much more than I thought it would. I think I’ve got pretty tough skin for a writer. I take almost everything constructively. The rejection, although coming from a very nice person with very good intentions, didn’t come off so nice. It was brief. Too brief to make me think I can make it in this industry.

I drowned my sorrows in my current read, Carnal Sin. I got to thinking that I’ll never reach Allison Brennan’s status. If an editor who KNOWS this business thinks it’s not good enough, then maybe I’m far off base.

More than a mile off base.

It was after I took a day (or two) to have a mini-pity-party that I realized everyone has a different race to run. I don’t know how long Brennan wrote before she was published or before she hit bestselling status. I don’t know what kind of rejections she got or what they said. And I shouldn’t care. Not one bit. I should be focused on my journey. Some people reach success faster with seemingly little strife (damn you all), and some have to work and fight and toil and bubble for their success, for every little inch.

I was hoping to be the former. Looks like I’m just gonna have to keep pushing around that mile loop until I can sprint it without my knee giving me so much as a wince. I don’t know how long it will take me…but I don’t know how long that old dude has been running either. Maybe his six or seven mile sprint is off base from what he thinks is “good”. (In what universe, right?)

Likewise, I have to run my race with this uber-critical writing biz. I have to find an agent who believes in my work as much as I do–one that’ll offer to run with me on this journey.

I don’t know if this is going to fall on deaf ears, but if you’ve ever felt like you’re racing to catch up in this business…like everyone seems to have it so much easier…or everyone is one step ahead…remember they’re not. Everyone is running a different race with different motivations and different end goals.

Just run your race. Focus on your end goal instead of the success of those around you. I know I am. From here on out.*

*Except if I see old runner dude tomorrow I’m gonna have to bite down on my lip to keep from kicking dirt on his damned sweat-free shirt.


8 thoughts on “Run your race

  1. Argh! Sorry to hear about the rejection. At least you got an actual NY editor to look at your stuff 🙂 From where I'm sitting, they seem like mythical creatures hahaha!

  2. Great post! Don't worry about the editor. That's just one editor at one publishing house. You'll have many more chances to get your work out there.You have just so much energy it's ridiculous! You go girl! I wish I could write as much as you do. I guess it would be easier if I didn't have school and work lol, but I wish I could be the energizer writing bunny haha.

  3. Lisa–Thanks for the support. It's appreciated more than you know.Kaitlyn–I put in my time too. From 22-24 years old I worked 7 hours during the day and went to night school for 5 hours. I couldn't have been a writer back then. No way. It's awesome that you're able to do all three. You're superwoman. 🙂

  4. Thanks =). Right now I don't feel like I'm doing much of all three lol. I haven't touched my current paranormal in about 2 or 3 weeks. I keep looking at the document longingly though. I've been writing short stories for one of my creative writing courses, but I want to be working on my WIP–even though it is interesting trying my hand at crime fiction for my class.

  5. Hi Kristin:Because I'm a neurotic author (most of us are) I have a google alert on my name. I rarely comment when I read something, but thought you might be interested in my pub story.First, great blog. You already know the moral of the story: this is your journey. Every author's journey is different.So I had over 100 rejections from agents before I landed one. I noticed you have an agent!! Yeah you, that tells you that you have the talent and the voice, because agents don't sign everyone who says they want to be a writer.I had the shortest rejection on the planet (aside from no response.) On my first full request, the agent rejected it by sending me back my cover letter with one word double underlined: SUPERFICIAL. :/It took me five books before I found an agent. I ended up selling quickly, but getting to that point was hard and sometimes disillusioning. Now, on a personal note, your name is so familiar I think we may have met. And then I see you're from Nor Cal and I KNOW we've met! 🙂 Don't stress.

  6. Hi Kristin! I've definitely been on the same road and suffered the same knocks multiple times. Keeping perspective is impt and it helps to have lots of writer support like I know you do! 🙂 An agent that believes in you is also a blessing. Mine has to remind me to "keep my eyes on my own paper" so I don't keep comparing myself to another's writing or another's race. You'll get there, maybe not exactly when you want to, but it'll happen!

  7. Great post! Sorry about the rejection. :-(I SOOO identified with this post. Last year I did a half marathon (I probably walked 90% of it, but I did it, lol) and I've often thought that my attempts to become a runner and my attempts to become a published writer are mirror images of one another. (I haven't mastered either yet, lol.)You're absolutely right: Run your own race. As long as you do, you'll eventually cross the magical finish line.Best of luck!

  8. Virna–Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I've heard snippets about your journey to publication but never the whole thing. One day at SFARWA lunch we'll have to talk…I could use a good success story about now. Tomorrow??JB–CONGRATS on the marathon! Running or walking…doesn't matter. You finished. You mastered the race and broke through that finish line. That's a feat all its own. Best of luck to you too! 🙂

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