Small Talk

“So are you still writing?” No. No, I’m not writing right now. I’ve been agenting and I’ve been reading a ton and I haven’t really had the bandwidth to concentrate on my own writing.

“Oh, that’s too bad. You were such a good writer! Whatever happened to that book you wrote?” Yeah, that was a first draft. A manuscript, actually. It was never a book. I put it aside a long time ago. Actually, a few years ago now. Just about when I really started buckling down to the work of becoming an agent.

“An agent? So what exactly does that mean? What do you do then?” So I sell manuscripts to publishing houses  for authors, because most publishing houses don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts.

*blank stare*

Ok, you know Ari Gold on Entourage? I’m like that. Only for writers and books. Well, not really. Cause I’m not such a dick. And I didn’t really watch Entourage much so I’m not actually sure if I’m like Ari. But I know Ari was an agent… “Oh, ok. Too bad. You were such a good writer.”

*awkward silence*

I’m going to go get another drink. Want anything?! “No, I’m good.”

*deep sigh*





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18 responses to “Small Talk

  1. Pingback: Advice for Writers by Writers who Write | The Blabbermouth – Linda P. Epstein

  2. Katherine Sparrow

    Yug. Ugh. Sometimes I wonder if people listen when they talk? Or maybe they just don’t understand that writing is ripping your heart out and throwing it on a page.
    And, a Linda manuscript! It will move at the pace of its own space/time toward awesomeness, and that lady can back off.
    And, maybe someone has said this upthread, but every writer I know says reading slush is the quickest (and most painful) toward improving writer skills. I’ve never been bold enough to try it 🙂

  3. Tony Fanning

    For years, people have see my artwork or read something I’ve written and say, “So, why are you working here?” It’s always the same answer; “Coz I gotta eat.”

  4. kyoske

    I do always wonder whether agents were writers. I figured you were since you did Creative Writing work at Temple University. I am asked all the time “How is the book coming?” I then have to explain to people what “getting an agent” entails. So I feel your pain.

    I think you can correct your friend and be like “I still AM a good writer.” Even if you aren’t working on something at the moment. Your job is involved in making authors shine, and there is quite a bit of writing and editing that goes along with that. Plus, maybe this was a little push to get you to start writing again. I think RhondaSaunders is right. Staying in touch with your inner writer!

  5. Molly Yellin

    Hey Linda I read all the blogs and decided that the Bible is right..about being your own best “If not I who will care” When you nurture a writing plant with the light of knowledge and add enough food for it to grow and become an entity then you too should consider the growth and the light as your own. God meant to create you and your talent for your growth/ YOU GO GIRL
    Cousin Molly

  6. I can relate to people not understanding what I do for a living. I’ve settled for saying I work on software to make it easier for people to watch TV. From an outside perspective it’s just making something appear when a button on a remote gets pressed, but there can be hundreds of things delicately grinding away behind the scenes to make that happen. I’m sure there is a whole lot to being an agent that I know nothing about, but I do know that navigating the publishing world is just e-mailing Linda and not worrying about all the networking, years of building of industry knowledge, education, reading, etc… etc… that lurks behind the scenes. Anyhow, I appreciate you making my writing life a lot easier.

  7. Every time I speak with anyone in my family, I regret that they know I’m writing books now. I wish my writing was still my little secret, because their well-intended yet nerve-wracking questions are just the pits. There’s no way to explain the publishing timeline to them. They always assume I’ve secured an agent by now–I mean, I just finished that story last week, right? Surely that’s been long enough to LAND AN AGENT. 🙂 Anyway. All we can do is keep our noses to the grindstone, do the work, ENJOY the work, and know what it means to us–even if it’s never clear to others. Patience sucks.

  8. I have never heard of Ari Goldman. Or Entourage. But I can attest that you are not a dick. And your description of what you do as an agent? “Sell manuscripts to publishing houses for authors” doesn’t begin to cover it. I, for one, am enormously glad that you’re doing what you do.

  9. Oh boy, do I empathize. First, you are writing. It’s in blog not novel form; but your skills are showing, my dear! Do not cover them up. They’re most becoming.

    Next, the part that has me in depression and has me empathizing with you. Today, I am going to spend most of my time doing lesson plans. I can’t procrastinate any more. School starts this week and it would be a good idea if I knew what I was going to do. This summer, I worked on a middle-grade novel I’m excited (“am” – still excited) about. It had been in in my drawer for a few years because while I liked my idea, I didn’t like where it was going. This summer it came to me how to continue this story. Once school starts however, I don’t know when I’ll squeeze in time for this story. I’ll be writing lessons, conference notes, progress reports, report cards, parent newsletter blurbs, marking papers…. (substitute your job requirements). I’ll be going to bed late muttering, “I didn’t do any writing tonight, either.” What I’m doing is a form of writing, just not the writing I want to do.

    I love your little time bomb on top. That’s how I feel. I suppose it’s time to stop kvetching, finish my coffee (maybe another cup), and get started on those plans.

    What you’re writing is smart and creative. If your eyes keep glancing at that drawer where your novel is, pull it out and reread what you’ve written. See if you still have that interest in it and order take-out.

    Have a great day.

  10. Ugh. What an annoying conversation to have. I have something similar every other weekend with my in-laws. ☺
    You’ll go back to your manuscript when you have the time and the interest — and you’ll be an even better writer thanks to all the hours, days, months you’ve spent making other people’s manuscripts better. (And you’ve made them SO much better.) Your MS isn’t going anywhere. It’ll be ready for you when you’re ready for it.

  11. *Were* such a good writer? Excuse me? I’ve been in that spot, and it’s not a fun one. When I used to do (almost only) business and tech writing, many many people — when I told them what I was doing — would say: “Oh, you’re not a REAL writer.” Sheesh.

  12. bestfriend

    I’m with JRatto, you are definitely writing. And as for that book – why not take some time and finish it. I think your co author is on board with that. If you do a little bit at a time, and she works with you, it will be done in no time. Think about how long it took to become an agent…People at parties just make dumb comments.

  13. Sarah

    The comments that make me the most defensive are the ones that have a bit of uncomfortable truth in them. It’s clear from your blog that you’re a good writer…maybe that old manuscript has “rested” long enough and it’s time to take another look at it. Just sayin’. : )

  14. JRatto

    Not writing? I beg to differ. A writer may have any number of reasons for writing. To tell his or her story, to impart useful information, to make people think, to entertain. Seems from what I’ve read so far on this blog, you do all of those things. I’d say you’re definitely writing.

  15. Putting your manuscript aside for years to collect dust doesn’t make sense. If you don’t have the time and drive to finish it .. what about finding a co-author from your clients to finish it and shop it around as a co-authored book? Best wishes.

  16. I think all that woodpecker wisdom is working to help you stay in touch with your writer side. Good!