In January of 2009, I had just given up hope of finding an agent for the first novel I wrote (the first real one, anyway; I didn't query the first two practice novels). I was feeling a little down, so my sister, Sarah, sent me the video of Randy Pausch's last lecture (which I'd already seen, but she didn't know that). Her favorite part, she said, was his quote about brick walls, which I'm sure many of you are familiar with:
"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there
to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show
how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"
Here's what I wrote in response to her email:
"Yes, I'm sure we are just being tested. I
know that a lot of people would give up on the book thing now. Here's
where the toughies keep going. I'm here for you if you ever need a
little encouragement, and I know you're here for me. We have to be each
other's cheerleaders, as well as our own."
It's hard to believe it's been three and a half years, and I'm still trying to learn this lesson: every rejection is just one more brick in that wall, one more opportunity to prove to myself how badly I want to be a published author. I thought at the time that no one could want it more than I did. I was wrong - the person I am today is infinitely more passionate about writing than the person I was three years ago. I've queried and shelved another novel since then, and I'm in the process of querying the next one. Once again, I find myself scrabbling at the bricks, doing everything I can to make it over the wall.
But this is what I have to believe: that one day, when the time is right, I won't have to climb over the wall. If I keep writing, keep pouring my heart and soul into my novels, and keep hitting the wall with everything I've got, I'll knock that sucker to the ground.