Saturday, March 20, 2010

Can You Know Too Much?

As a matter of fact, you can.

For those of you who follow literary agent blogs, I feel as Jessica Faust feels this spring--that everything that needed saying has been said. She is backing away a bit from her blogging because she's found herself rehashing the same old...well, hash.

And now that I'm ready to graduate with all possible knowledge on the dos and don'ts of agent hunting, and I've followed the tweets of far too many industry icons, I feel like I'm standing in the parking lot, wearing my cap and gown, and realizing that it was all a crock.

Who do I see to demand those hours of my life back?
Only me.
But maybe I can keep some of you from wasting too much time obsessing.

We don't need to know it all.
We don't need to understand the inside cupcake jokes of agents or editors who, let's face it, live in a world with cupcakes on every corner.
We don't need to remember the name of a targeted agent's pet, husband, or pet/husband.
We don't need to know what sold today for six figures and WHY. In fact, it may be better if we don't know.

Instead, we need to spend some time practicing and improving our understanding of punctuation, syntax, and literary tools so we can become better writers--to better COMMUNICATE OUR STORIES. (Yes, I'm yelling!)

My suggestion, if you're still reading, is to pick one day of the week to worry about finding an agent, editor, or stand-up gig, and the rest of your writing time sculpting that mess on your desk into something breathtaking.

If you're so interested in the inner workings of agents, become a freaking agent. If you're in love with New York, move there. If you want to become a best-selling author, write your guts out. Rewrite them. Toss it all and start again. Then rewrite that.

Take a Chef Ramsay approach to your writing career. Toss what doesn't work. Fire whomever won't support the surge to success, and get back in the damned kitchen!