The end of May 2008 is drawing near. Girl1 is finishing up her first (and my first) year of public school.

Strawberry picking season is almost upon us, my favorite time of year.

But the end of May also marks two anniversaries in my life:

The first full year of working part time for the company that administers the TOEIC and TOEFL tests.

The first year of querying my first novel.

And its strange that these two somewhat different activities have combined to teach me some of the same things.

I’ve learned perseverance. It’s really hard after seven hours straight of listening to people talk about whether school uniforms is good or bad to concentrate enough to distinguish the score of all the speakers in the eighth hour.

It’s really hard to scour the internet for personal information about an agent to make your query letter stand out after the umpteenth rejection from an agent.

But I’ve persisted. I keep plugging away at the part time job because the money and flexibility are hard to resist. And you know what? Me being unavailable in the mornings sometimes has resulted in Naoto speaking more Japanese to the girls as he gets them ready.

And girl1 and girl2 have learned some independency in terms of getting dressed and clearing their breakfast dishes.

So good things have resulted from this that I did not expect.

And you know what else? You can know cerebrally that agents choose manuscripts purely as a matter of taste, but it isn’t until you start submitting and some random agents ask for partials and fulls right away, and the others hardly give you the time of day that you UNDERSTAND that in a deep sense that allows you not to get so upset about the rejections that you stop writing at all. I also think I have a better idea now of what publishing a book entails, as well as the cold hard realities of small advances and self promotion.

And yet I’m writing my second novel and have plans already for a third and fourth. And I’m able to relax those stringent and taut lines between my self-worth as a writer and the ration of rejections to full/partial manuscript requests.

So there’s lots of good. And while I can’t truthfully say that I hope this next year of querying provides me great insights (as OF COURSE I’m hoping not to be querying for another year, but who knows, it’s been taking an average of 3-6 months per partial/full request, so it could be that long), but I can say I am not discouraged.

And some days, especially when Naoto’s been out of town for a week already, not discouraged is a triumph.