Recently, a literary agent of high repute advised me that, in her opinion, I should make further revisions to my novel. As some of you are aware, this particular book has been my sole obsession for nearly four years, during which time I lost my agent of long-standing. Now I am looking to find new representation–a daunting task. As I speak with agents of many different styles, I am sometimes given suggestions for changes.
This appears to be my time in life to begin again: from moving to Maryland, to making new friends, to finding new directions for my work. Because this particular agent offered concrete suggestions that made sense to me, I decided to spend a few more months working on those areas with which she had been concerned.
Some of the new material I’ve created syncs up with my instincts and my internal compass. Other parts, however, feel shoehorned into the text in unnatural ways. And so, I sit in front of my computer, shifting back and forth with indecision. I know that I am not alone, however, for many of us face similar quandaries from time to time.
The quotations below give me comfort when I feel this way. Long ago, I taped them up over my desk, and they have become old friends. Now they prove even more important as I make my way through the difficult process of rewriting according to someone else’s suggestions when the ultimate outcome is uncertain.
“We have to answer for our existence
to ourselves and will therefore be
our own true pilot.”
“Follow your inner moonlight;
don’t hide the madness.”
“Not all who wander are lost.”
Last but not least, I find inspiration in this anonymous one most of all:
And so I will continue to revise. May you find something comforting here as you walk your own crooked path this week.