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On Uncertainty and Vulnerability

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Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

Uncertainty is hard for humans, generally speaking. Not knowing what will happen, the thought of losing control, is tough. Of course, if you stop to think about it, we are hardly ever in control of our environment. We can’t control the weather, or even whether we’ll be healthy tomorrow, let alone more complex things like whether we’ll get into the school we want to or whether the other kids will tease our kids again today.


I’ve been composing cover letters in order to send my first ever manuscript, The Mommy Manual (still a working title), to agents. These agents will (hopefully) read my carefully crafted one-page pitch and three chapters that took me five years to write and will decide whether they like my writing enough to ask that I send the whole thing.


It’s an incredibly vulnerable position, sending out your manuscript. I’ve spent years shaping what began as pouring my soul out onto the paper into a readable story. It took me years because I’m still a beginner, but still. And there’s a lot of resistance coming up for me. The resistance comes in many forms, from distraction, through procrastination, all the way to railing against the very system that necessitates someone deciding whether my writing is “good enough”.


The vulnerability also comes from uncertainty. Is the manuscript really finished? Is it the best I can do? What if I don’t hear back? What if they like it but want to change all of it? I talked to a mentor, and she said that, from her experience, it’s challenging to sell your first manuscript, regardless of how good it is. Which, actually, for me, made it easier. It gave me some certainty: it probably won’t sell. I probably get rejections from every agent, and that’s ok. I have to go through this process to learn how it’s done, and then I can move on to the next thing.


The first round of emails begins this week. I probably won’t update you on this one.

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