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  • Writer's pictureDawn Wallis

The First Cut Is The Deepest

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Last week I mustered the courage to send my first query letter. After researching this particular agent and writing, re-writing, and re-writing (you get the idea) the letter, I hit "send." Her website said to allow up to 8 weeks to receive a response. I sincerely prayed that if this person was not the best agent represent my book, then the door would remain closed. And it did.

After 1 day I received a form letter informing me that this is not the type of project she's currently seeking. I have to admit my heart sank a bit, but I was relieved to know sooner than later. According to other authors, this query rejection process is a right of passage.

While I felt a little disheartened, my initial prayer about finding the right agent quieted my heart. Maybe learning to successfully find an agent and securing a publisher shouldn't be the goal. What if the goal is learning and growing as much as possible through the process?

This first rejection caused me to stop for a moment and to examine my motives. Why am I looking for an agent? Why not self-publish like so many others? Why attempt a new career when I am going to hit the big five-o in six weeks?

After doing some serious self-introspection, I believe I landed on an answer. My "why" is not to achieve status, money, or to make a name for myself. It's not to prove anything to myself or anyone else. It's not to bolster my self-worth. Rather my "why" is to take this meager offering of a novel, that I believe I wrote to glorify God, and to see the messages of hope, humor, and redemption touch the lives of readers.

Part of writing this down is to hold myself accountable to my "why." In those moments when I feel pressed to prove that I can do something worthwhile. That I have talent. That I can be funny. I must remember this process is not about me. This story is not about me. This vapor of life is not about me. To think it is, is "meaningless," to quote Solomon.

In a world weighed down with hurt, disappointment, pain, and disillusionment, I pray that God will take my tiny effort, and use it as His instrument to spark hope, joy, and love in the lives of women who need it the most.

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