Doing the Things You Don’t Love to Get to Where You Want to Be

In every job you’ve ever worked you had to do things you didn’t enjoy. While waiting tables I had to clean the leaves of all the plants and dust the picture frames. While working at Macy’s I had to fold clothes and arrange racks. As a literary agent, I have to nag editors and publishers about missing payments.

While I don’t love doing those things, there is far more about this job I do love. I love reading submissions and discovering a new client. I love digging into a manuscript and pushing an author to make it their best. And my favorite part of the job, the thing I love the most, is brainstorming ideas with authors.

To get to the things I love, I have to do things I don’t love. It’s part of my job. Nagging editors leads to sales and getting checks keeps my clients writing (and happy). Dusting plants creates a clean environment that makes diners happy, and happy diners tip more.

Writing as a Job

Writers also have to do a lot of things they don’t love. When sitting down to write a book I know most of you would just like to write. That’s usually the goal when you start. But when you decide to get published you’re turning that writing into a career and that means doing things you don’t love.

From what I hear, queries and synopsis rate highest on the the list of things writers don’t love. Some even going so far as to say it’s not your job, that’s the job of agents and editors. And while I wish that were true, and I’m happy to help you with them, it’s still your job.

The query and the synopsis, like many of the jobs we don’t love, are part of the process and lead to so many bigger things. Of course all of you are thinking they lead to agents and representation, but it’s more than that.

A query and synopsis should be part of your writing process. Using them properly will help inform your manuscript and the revisions you need. A good query shows you the strength of your hook and pitch. If you don’t have a strong pitch (aka cover copy) I would suggest going back to the manuscript to see if the story is strong enough for today’s market.

A synopsis will help you flesh out the story itself. Does it flow? Are you getting lost in too many storylines? Does it even make sense.

We all have things about our job we don’t want to do, but looking at where they will get us can make a huge difference in finding enjoyment in them.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for re-affirming that I must get this done. Why is it so tough? I think it is a mindset that needs to be changed.

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