A Day in the Life of a Literary Agent: Working from Home

I’m spending the day today working from home and also preparing for Rosh Hashanah, one of the holy days for Jewish people. What I do to “prepare” is cook. A lot. Like for the 17 people who are coming to dinner on Monday night, when I’ll be in synagogue during the day on Monday. But cooking, for me, is like a meditation. I get to chop and peel and sear and sauté and mash and grate and (mis)count tsp. and tbs. and whisk and stir and. You get the point. And all the while, I also think. *cue Winnie the Pooh saying Think Think Think* I do this for about two hours starting about 7am and then sit at my computer for a few hours working while things cook (i.e. brisket and potato kugel) and then I take the stuff out of the oven, repeat the procedure with different foods for an hour or so, return to my desk and make phone calls and edit and respond to e-mails, etc… Multi-tasking at its finest! So what am I thinking about while I cook? Well, I’m wondering if that editor has read that manuscript yet and if she likes it. And I’m hoping my husband will remember to buy wine for the holiday. And I’m trying to figure out how to actually get to the 300 queries waiting for me in my inbox. And I’m berating myself for (still) not finishing the edits I wanted to be done with. And I’m crafting a submission letter in my head. And I’m remembering what the editor with whom I had lunch yesterday said. And I’m thinking happily about a client’s forthcoming book. And I’m creating a second round submission list for that client whose book I can’t believe the first round editors didn’t snatch up (it’s so good; what’s wrong with them?!). And I’m thinking about story arcs and building tension and creating characters and how difficult I find it to adequately convey to writers how to successfully do these things. And wondering what (the fuck) I’m wearing to synagogue on Monday, because nothing fits. So yeah. I’m looking forward to sitting in synagogue. My brain will shut off for a while and my heart will open up. I will hear the sound of the shofar being blown and be reminded of the long tradition from which I come. I will sing the Hebrew prayers and probably throw in a harmony here and there, because there are so many people singing that if I mess it up nobody will know (or care). I will thank God (or whatever) that I’m part of a Reconstructionist congregation that reflects my values and the things that are truly important to me. And that I have a rabbi who makes me laugh and think. And then I’ll come home and serve dinner to 17 family members. I wonder if the brisket will taste different because I cooked it thinking about SciFi or if the kugel will be particularly crispy because I was choosing my words carefully for a submission letter? Wishing my Jewish friends a sweet New Year and sending all others some love and peaceful thoughts. 

15 Comments

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15 responses to “A Day in the Life of a Literary Agent: Working from Home

  1. A very belated Happy New Year to you, Linda!

  2. Hope you had a great day off (though it sounds like your brain didn’t stop thinking!) and a fantastic holiday.

  3. As someone unfamiliar with Jewish traditions, it feels wierd to be saying happy new year. But hey, Happy New Year! I loved this post because it reminds me very much of my own daily routine (add one seven month old and one six year old). Squashed between self-employment as a technical writer and writing the stories living inside me, I often find daily life to be a trying distraction. But it’s important to make time for faith and family, even if the mind has a tendancy to wander.

  4. A Happy and sweet New Year to you, Linda–and I wish that I were doing some of the eating. (Leftovers for dinner here tonight, sigh.)

  5. Katherine Sparrow

    Happy Rosh Hashanah to you and yours!

  6. Shanna Tova, Linda, to you and your family. Giora

  7. Have a good and sweet year!

    (I hope the editing goes well :) )

  8. Judy Ratto

    Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

  9. Happy Rosh Hashanah to you and yours.

    (If I were Jewish, I’m sure I’d belong to a Reconstructionist synagogue.)

  10. I love this post. Mostly because I love getting a glimpse into what other people are thinking but also because it’s beautifully written. Thanks for a lovely post! And happy New Year!

  11. L’Shana tova, Linda! Wishing you and yours a sweet and healthy new year. You’re the best.

  12. Because I’ll probably forget to comment then, an early l’shana tova! This blog post makes me miss my family lots. My grandma makes the best brisket.