Today, the last day of January 2018, I want to pay a curtsy to my writing (and querying) milestones. No, the response to my work wasn’t great AT ALL, but as a Southeast Asian POC dreaming and doing things to get my book and my culture out there, this is something – a walk in a road less taken. The efforts were fruitless and my hope is dampening every single time I see reports of new publications (and not ignoring the fact that one or two of them sounds SO CLOSE to mine), but the fire is still there. Small, quiet, but alive.
I would like to share that every week, I panic at what was probably wrong, maybe in my query, maybe in my writing. Most of the agents’ “pass” letters say that it didn’t suit their taste, or that the manuscript wasn’t ready to be out there. We can all beg to disagree. But this is what I’m aware of: a contemporary chick-lit with a Southeast Asian setting, non-literary,non-historical, non-fantasy and non-YA is like dipping your foot in dangerous waters. The yearning for a Southeast Asian slice-of-life story wasn’t all there. People are begging for magic and heartache. There’s none of that here. And so, if I was an agent, I’d understand why’d they’d shake their heads at the first view of my query letter.
But I’m not giving up. Not now. Not when my sandglass is abruptly ticking down. There’s no more waiting for me; just jumping at the next opportunity with open hands and a query letter hoping to get the second step to a contract. This was the story I wanted to write. A humorous, nonsense, non-magic little world about a girl and a boy and a wall in between. I am not aiming to be an author. Or was I?
This January, I wrote this tweet, and I’ll remember that for all Januarys to come. It’s one way of seeing things in a more exciting way:
January is roll-your-sleeves-start-planting-seeds-no-time-to-slack-off month because you're looking forward to a happy year-end harvest.
— Caris Cruz (@hellocaris) January 17, 2018
Anyways, the seeds were sown, and I’m glad to tell you that I am expecting a lot of rejection coming in along the way, but I’ve already grown thick-skinned, so those wouldn’t matter anymore. Not at all. Barely.
Some breakthroughs after the back-breakings
This is strange, but at the beginning of January, my insides whispered to me, “I want to work for myself in the years to come.” I am already working for myself, being freelance, but somehow, I want to break from the clutches of dependency on my clients and find my own spot in this widening street of startups. I didn’t want to be successful or big or great; I don’t know if I have always been mediocre, but I just want to serve, give people new options, put my work out there, and so on. As of yesterday, I’ve been eyeing this shirt printing company which prints AND ships the products all across the world. Now, if I want to really get into the design business, even though my drawings are a complete mess, I’d have to invest on a good equipment.
After February, this year will be the last of my efforts to pay for my insurance. This means, HOORAY, I’d be free to finance other much-needed items (such as a land / lot for a new house?) in the future. Excuse me but when you’re thirty, you can’t help but dream big. At this point, people look up to you and your three decades of existence. You are REQUIRED to be capable now, made things, achieved things, a good distance from where you were when you were young, reckless and foolish. It’s when you make sound decisions; quick ones, when time calls for it. You have foresight. You have direction.