Jul 9, 2010

Marriage and Publication

by Tanya Parker Mills

My daughter at BYU is going through all the typical woes of the lonely single at a university so attuned to matchmaking that mere 19-year-olds feel there is something wrong with them if they are not yet married. Remember the symptoms? Those feelings of unworthiness, listlessness, and self-doubt that make it hard to get up in the morning because you're certain a new day will only bring a new round of rejections. And everything begins to seem like rejection. A guy speaks to you at FHE, but doesn't follow up and ask you out...REJECTION. A guy smiles at you in the library, but doesn't come over to talk...REJECTION. You go to a party and all the guys seem to be hovering over another girl...REJECTION.

Writers know all about REJECTION, too. And it got me thinking. There's not a whole lot of difference between the unpublished (or pre-published) writer looking for an agent/publisher and the single looking for a lifetime/eternal partner. In each case, you're trying to find that right fit--someone who understands you, appreciates you, brings out the best in you, is loyal to you, and shares the same standards AND for whom you reciprocate all these qualities. The more we get rejected, the more we doubt our abilities, lose our focus, and feel less worthy of publication.

But here's the good news: Pre-published writers, like singles, have certain advantages that were pointed out in a recent blog posting here. We have the freedom to explore any genre, write anything we want, and without any time deadline or expectations (except our own and, perhaps, those closest to us). Think about it. Once you're married, your world becomes much more tightly focused on your partner and the family you grow together. You have new responsibilities that generally keep you close to home. Your free and easy single days are over. It is the same with publication. Once you have an agent and/or a publishing contract, your genre is pretty much delineated and you have to begin meeting all kinds of deadlines and responsibilities. In other words, you have to grow up from being a free and easy writer to a professional author.

Whether you're single looking for that one love...or a writer looking for that one agent, don't waste your time moping (and I'm speaking more to myself here than to any of you). Enjoy and use your freedom exploring new worlds and possibilities. You never know when it may end.


  1. Terry Deighton said:
    I suppose the publication party is like a wedding reception, and the contract is your prenup?

  2. Interesting perspective. Definitely something to keep in mind.

  3. I read that same post and I have started to really enjoy my pre-published time.
    I can work on whatever I want, whenever I want. If I get bored with one project, or I'm not exactly sure what I want to do with one part of it, I can shove it aside for something else. the only dead lines I have are my own.

    On the marriage side, I got married two weeks before twenty and I thought my parents were going to hyperventilate because I was so young. It's what happens when you fall in love with one of the Mormon boys.

  4. Good advice regarding living life

  5. Adorable and appropriate analogy. You are so clever it's gross.

  6. I love comparisons such as this and I can only hope agents will fight over me with one ultimately sweeping me off my feet the same way my husband did. :) (when I was 18...shhhhh)

  7. The comparison was perfect. Each stage in life and in writing has its own pluses and minuses. We should enjoy the advantages offered rather than dwelling on the negatives. A simple but hard lesson at any age. Your blog brightened my day.

  8. Loved the post, Tanya, and enjoyed all the comments, too. Christine's made me laugh out loud--you're so clever it's gross. Hilarious!

    I forced myself to laugh at how you described my early months at BYU--where a potential date was behind every smile or word from a boy, but they just never would call.

  9. Yes, Terry, you can take my analogy as far as you like. And if I get an agent before you do, you can be my bridesmaid (you and several others).

    Unlike you, Jolene, I got married much later (31), so you'd think my daughter wouldn't be so worried. No such luck. Hmmm, since I got married so much later, perhaps that means I'll get an agent much later in life. If writers need one thing--it's patience.

    Christine (and Valerie), you always make me laugh. And I've got nothing on you when it comes to cleverness. That makes you the Queen of Gross!

    Karen, you had competing suitors, eh? Well, here's hoping it does indeed transfer over into your writing life.

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone!

  10. Tanya,
    That was a thoughtful analogy. Thanks for sharing it, I think there's a lot of wisdom there.

  11. love this. totally relate. this means i'm enjoying the single life?! don't tell my hubby!!

  12. I really enjoyed this article! Thanks!

  13. Thanks for the post Tanya and for the analogy. I got married late and was published late. Hope it isn't a stick-fast rule!


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