Trust your heart, and trust your story – Neil Gaiman

neil gaiman

This is my new favourite quote (like I’ve said numerous times on this blog, I’m currently obsessed with Neil Gaiman – seriously, why did I wait so long to read his stuff?!). I think it’s perfect and one day, in the future, I would like a tattoo of it. Maybe it will be my gift to myself when I finally publish a book.

On Friday, I received my first rejection from an agent. You’d think that my reaction would be to sit down and cry for a few hours, but I didn’t. I’m not saying I didn’t eventually tear up a little, but my initial response was an odd sort of pride. Now I have something in common with other authors: everyone gets rejected at some point. I’ve never felt more like an author than I did at that moment.

This literary agent was quite nice: she offered me a couple of suggestions and wished me luck – infinitely more helpful than a curt “no”, which is what I had been fearing. Of course, now the problem is all I can think about is ways to improve my book. Last night, I scribbled an alternate story line on a Post-It that made perfect sense at the time…until I explained it to Ro who pointed out that the rest of the plot stops making sense if I change that particular aspect. She was right, but in my efforts to make my story more explosive (which is my new way of saying “better”), I lost track of my original idea. In a way, I stopped trusting my story and, consequently, I stopped trusting myself.

So this quote comes at a good time. Not only do I think it’s beautiful (it’s from Gaiman’s poem “Instructions”, and it’s laden with deliciously metaphorical meanings), but it’s something I need to remember. My book might not be ready yet – because these things take time, you know – but my story – my dream of being an author – is just getting started. I only have to learn how to trust myself.