Blogger: Wendy Lawton
The other day I was pondering the definition of love from the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Such wise words. Love is patient, love is kind, it does not boast, does not envy, isn’t proud,does not dishonor others, isn’t self-seeking, isn’t easily angered, doesn’t keep records of wrongs, doesn’t delight in evil, love rejoices in truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres, and never fails.
And our main mission is to love. Simple, right?
Well, I got stuck at the first one. Love is patient. If my work as a literary agent is dependent on my mission to love– I have a long way to go. Patience is not one of my strong suites.
I was thinking of an acquaintance who just last week asked me how her sister, who’d written some newspaper articles, could make a living as a writer. The sister was prepared to quit her job and give it a shot. I inwardly groaned. I hate to always be a naysayer but I felt impatient. The people I deal with have all done their homework first. They not only know what it takes to build a career as a writer but most of them have already invested years in preparation. The queries I receive all show a high level of understanding of the industry, format, subject matter and market. When I give an answer I can rest assured I am talking to someone who has already mastered all the quirks and intricacies of our chosen industry.
I didn’t even know where to start. Do I begin with my “Don’t quit your day job” speech? Too depressing, maybe. Do I suggest how to begin to narrow the focus? Do I talk about investigating corporate writing or tech writing if a job is what she’s trying to replace? I think I stuttered and stammered before suggesting her sister begin to read writing blogs and get familiar with the writing community and see how other people are doing it. I felt like I was brushing her off but to adequately deal with her second-hand inquiry would require something akin to a four-year degree.
I know this is not new to you. I’m guessing you regularly have people ask if you will write their story. (Everyone’s told them it would make a fascinating book.) Or ask you how one “gets into” writing. How do you handle it? Are you conflicted by the charge to love people– to patiently put an arm around people and mentor them– and the reality of the vast amount of information they need before their dream is even viable? Got any good suggestions for me? for us?