Important lesson: life isn't fiction. Just because something looks nice on paper, just because it'd be such a perfect, symmetrical ending to a very long story, just because you've paid your dues and it's your turn to celebrate - that doesn't necessarily mean that thing will happen.
For example, it would be fitting if, after a year and a half of revising, I ended up signing with the first agent ever to request a manuscript from me - albeit a different manuscript, one sent over two years ago - but that did not happen.
Yes, this is to say that Secret Agent Man was not able to take me on due to time constraints. He passed it on to a colleague, but said colleague sent a rejection last week. That door may open again in the future, but right now, I am in full agent-hunting mode.
It's a complicated feeling, and I debated whether I wanted to post about it here, in part because I do like to present myself as this sort of Zen-ish aspiring author who just lets the rejections roll right off of her. But my journey thus far has been long, twisty, and rather unique, and it has always helped me throughout this process to read accounts by people who have been through the same things.
So yes, it's complicated. I have a shiny, revised MS that no one but Secret Agent Man (and his colleague) have seen, and I have already been in contact with some fantastic people who requested material, not to mention a referral and some other outstanding queries. I am pretty much starting over again, which is exciting, too.
But it's sad. Of course it's sad. I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about when I say this, but being an ambitious person who hasn't achieved her dream yet comes with a special kind of ache. Some days it's not too bad, and sometimes it creeps up on me every time I pick up a book. It can be really hard to shake on those days, when the voice in your head reminds you that you haven't made it yet.
And yet! If I may act the part of the Zen-ish aspiring author for a moment: I believe nothing is wasted. I could never regret this past year and a half. My writing is better for it, I got to work with some amazing people, and I got a taste of what it's like on the other side. Maybe someone else will love this manuscript enough to take it on, but if not, I am a little over halfway through my WIP as of today, so I can try again. I am very, very good at trying again.
And hopefully one of these days, I will get to write that 'my success story' post that has always been on the tips of my fingers. Although that post may well be very different than the one I have drafted in my head.
I hope everyone has a great weekend, and whichever part of the process you're in, best of luck to you.