In my hometown, in the forest behind the cluster of development cupped by the hanging valley from which it gets its name, there's a canyon with a gorgeous set of hiking trails that was the backbone of my childhood. Visitors can cross the suspension bridge, peer over its side at the falls below, and explore the verdant temperate rainforest wilderness. About a ten-minute hike upstream, there is a place where the canyon walls open up. More than a century ago, a rockslide crumbled away the western slope, leaving room for the river to expand into a pool safe enough to swim in, and with spots sloped ever so smoothy as to jump from the heights.
I loved jumping as a kid. Loved swimming in the glacier-fed water, scrambling up the cliffs and throwing myself off into the icy depths on a hot summer's day. It was thrilling, and freeing, and cold-as-all-hell, but so very fun, especially to my younger self who loved showing off to tourists, and even encouraging them to come in, because in my mind, the water truly was fine. And one of my favourite lines when encouraging dawdling others to try doing what I did was, "Don't think about it. Just say eff it and jump."
(Okay, I was a teenager, so it was a bit more cheerfully foul than that, but you get the idea.)
I haven't been able to return for a few years, owing to being way too busy and now living across town so actually *getting* there takes way more time, but it'll always hold a place in my heart. And even if I don't, recently something occurred to me.
I'm still jumping. When sending queries, that is.
Except this time, I've been the dawdler. The one thinking too much before taking the leap, even though I've done my research, found agents who rep my genre, personalized the queries, and I know that the water is cold but that it won't hurt me. When all is said and done, I do make the jump, I do hit send, and it's scary and exhilarating and gets my blood racing just as much as throwing myself from a cliff once did.
And I think this is an important exercise in self-confidence. My jumps were never willy-nilly (for even as a teen, I made sure to check the water for the "safe" spots before going, to make sure I didn't hit rocks or people), so even then I did so from a state of preparedness. But the dawdling now isn't helping anyone, least of all me.
Querying is a scary thing, but it doesn't have to paralyze me.
So I've started jumping again. Not literally — that'll have to wait until June at least — but definitely in the figurative sense. And maybe it's scary to hit "send", and maybe the waters of rejection are cold, but damn, it feels good.
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Speaking of taking the leap: Next month is March Madness for Writers! (and artists of all kinds, really.) It's all about setting extreme goals and smashing them, with daily check-ins. Once again, I'll be hosting Mondays. You should totally join us!
Oh, and did I mention, there will be PRIZES?
Today, you can sign up at Denise Jaden's blog to share your goals. Set your goals today, February 27th, and be entered to win the very first giveaway of the month!
And here's a list of all of the hosts for March. Every time you check in, you're entered to win a prize!
Mondays – Visit LS Taylor at http://lstaylor.blogspot.com
Tuesdays – Visit Shari Green at http://www.sharigreen.com
Wednesdays – Visit Shana Silver at http://www.shana-silver.com
Thursdays – Visit Denise Jaden at http://denisejaden.blogspot.com
Fridays – Visit Tonette de la Luna at http://www.tonettedelaluna.com
Saturdays – Visit Carol Garvin at http://careann.wordpress.com
Sundays – Visit Angelina Hansen at http://yascribe.blogspot.com
Hope to see you there!