Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

So I lost my agent last month. 

Here’s what I learned: spliting with your agent is exactly like going through a breakup.  I’d heard that switching agents was like going through a divorce and I now believe it fully–if we’d been at a stage where our finances were entangled, it would have been so much worse.

My agent and I had a very congenial break up–like one of those horrible relationship break-ups where you realize that even though neither of you has done anything wrong, this just isn’t going to work long term.  I still think she’s an awesome agent.  I’d still fully recommed her.  And that actually makes it worse, rather than better. 

The initial conversation was horrible, of course.  Break ups always are.  (The cause, incidentally, is that I don’t write what she thinks she can sell, so I need to find someone who has the contacts and experience to sell what I write.  Sure, I could try to become a different writer to stick with her, but, just like in relationships, trying to be someone I’m not is always a bad idea.)

The emotional fallout was break-up-like as well.  As a writer, I build all these hopes for the future to keep going.  The day when I actually make some money at this.  And then I have to carve my agent out of all those hopes, and start over solo.  That sucks.  It creates all these trust-issues.  (If I find another agent, who’s to say this won’t happen again?)  It’s easy for it to feel like I’m starting all over.  Like the last year was a waste.

Except it wasn’t.  Just like I would have in a relationship, I’ve changed and learned a few things.  And UN-like a relationship, it’s not tacky for my agent to set me up with some opportunities, which she graciously has.

Since I’m not sure where my writing is going, I’m not working on any drafts at the moment.  I’ve been focusing on our company, which has had more than enough things-to-do to keep me busy for the last few weeks.  I’m giving myself some time to gain perspective.  (A useful but annoying tool for surviving relationships.)  I’ve paused the beating of my head against the publishing wall, and am instead only taking opportunities that fall in my lap for the time being. 

But two opportunities already have.  And, surprise!  I’m not starting over at all.  I’m not mailing things off into oblivion and waiting six months for responses.  I’m jumping straight to the email-and-phone-call stage.  Sure I wish it was the already-under-contract stage, but it’s only been a few weeks. 

And just like relationships, these things take time.