Memo to Younger Writing-Self

Me and My Literary Agent

I will never be able to go back in time to visit earlier versions of my writing-self, but if I could, I would offer my younger writing-self a firm pat on the back and tell her that the endless rejection and setbacks would eventually result in a published book. 

Last weekend, I got to do the next best thing.  As a speaker at the Writer’s League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference in Austin, Texas, I was able to tell my story to an audience of aspiring writers who occupied the same seat I occupied four, six, and nine years ago.  In addition to advising them How to Solve Their Soggy Middle Problem and What to Do After Landing an Agent, they got a healthy dose of reassurance from me that, although it might seem as if they took a wrong turn and got sidetracked in rejection and setback, the same path leads to publication, and they are indeed on the right track.  I told them that if they exercised patience and continued to persist through countless revisions, pushed their imaginations two generations beyond capacity, and actually did what the Writer’s League of Texas told them to do, they would one day return to the very same hotel ballroom to sign copies of their published book and deliver their own Craft of Writing Talk. 

But that’s not all.  If they would stand in line to pitch their idea to agents now, they would someday find themselves leaving the Pitching Session early to meet their literary agent for a long conversation about their writing career–over a glass of wine in a quiet corner of the hotel lobby.  And if they would network diligently now, they would someday be invited to mingle among agents and editors at the Conference Faculty Party, not your usual cocktail party chitchat.  And I can witness that the glow from spending a weekend among people who get to work in the publishing industry would persist even after they returned home to a refrigerator full of The Colonel’s leftovers and a kibble bin refitted as a feeding trough by two enterprising dogs. 

I wonder if there is anything my future-self would like to tell my present-self about raising teenagers through structure-free summers.


Filed under Agent, Cindy Jones, My Jane Austen Summer, teenagers, The Writer's League of Texas

2 responses to “Memo to Younger Writing-Self

  1. Karen

    Hi Cindy, I’m so glad that I found this blog because what I was originally looking for was your email address. Well, hope you get a minute to read this. I’m about to jump into bed and finish My Jane Austen Summer. I’m absolutely loving your book and did indeed think a lot about many memories I have connected to smells. In your writing, from the smell of the musty attic to Bet’s carelessly dismissed food containiners, the sense of smell draws one closer to your book’s characters. I’m at the part where Lily has been waiting in the hotel room for Randolph and now the fact that he thinks too highly of himself and is showing his low opinion of Lily by beginning to undress, I’m really hoping she walks out. I’ve been pulling for Omar through parts of the book even though he seemed to fade away for a little while. Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing your name again on another novel standing in the “New and Popular” section of the library! Sincerely, Karen

    • Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad you are enjoying my book and that you found my blog. My email address is and my website is I would love to keep you up to date on the progress of my next book, just “like” Cindy Jones Books on Facebook. I’m in the Ohio University library in a study carrel, avoiding revisions, as I write this. Back to work!!

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