Since this is Thankful Thursday, and I am thankful for many, many things in life, I was trying to think of what I have been most thankful for lately. The answer hit me right away: I am thankful for people, readers, friends, family, who keep me going. However, among that group, I am particularly thankful lately for industry professionals, namely editors and agents, who are able to see a writer's potential -- not just what they can do now, this moment, this book, today, but the ones who have a real visionary sense, who can look at you and say "you have talent, you have "something special." We expect the people who love us to say this, but when someone in the business says it, it takes on a completely different meaning.
Perhaps you handed them an idea, a rough manuscript, and while they were honest enough to tell you what didn't work, they also knew that there was "something" worth pursuing, and they are willing to invest themselves to help you get there. They could see through the crap to the gem, they know it's there, and they make you believe it, too. In a profession riddled with doubt and focused on dollar signs, this is not small beans. They have faith.
I have been fortunate enough to have both an editor and now an agent who have given me this particular gift, and it makes you want to work harder, to strive farther, to do the thing they believe you can do, even if you don't believe it yourself sometimes. I don't know if our industry is filled with many of these people nowadays -- the 20 or so agents who rejected me saying "loved the idea, hated to book, sorry," would seem to prove not -- most are looking for something already formed, not something to discover.
I was fortunate to find the person who finally said "love the idea, hated the book -- let's work on doing it again the way I know you can do it."
When people like this -- people who have been around for so long, and who have seen so much, and who know so much -- believe we can do it, how could we not do it? They make you believe that falling short of their expectations is not possible. It changes your entire outlook.
Who are you thankful for? Who keeps you going, and makes you want to work harder, go farther?