Another day, another rejection slip. This one from Asimov's (a form letter, of course, but hey, they're big name. So it's understandable). And then you get to thinking in the back of your head "So you wrote a book. Big deal. Everyone's done that, chump."
And you feel unprofessional. You feel like a slob. You think "how in the flaming HELL did they do it? King, Clancy, Grisham, Patterson - these guys are professionals. I want to be a professional!"
You know what makes me feel like a professional? Like I'm serious about my work? A highlighter.
A blue highlighter that I stole from a data entry job I worked at like three years ago. Here's what you do: take that highlighter and a copy of the Writer's Digest. Go to the literary agents section. Read about what kind of agents are out there. Highlight the ones that you think could represent you.
That's it. I think technically it's work - trying to further your career - but something about highlighting an agent (AGENT! Pros have agents!) is kind of fun. It's like wishful thinking that has an ultimate goal. You think of them calling and saying "Why hello, Mister Futch, we received your query letter and the outline of your project and would like to represent you."
Representation! Doesn't the word just make you salivate? Cant you see the line where it says 'Client's Signature'? By golly, doesn't it just make you all tingly?
Are you tingly? You should stop drinking. Seriously. You have a problem and need help.
So whenever the world gets you down, grab a highlighter and highlight the ever-loving SHIT out of something. A book, a manuscript, your boss's desk, the walls of the bathroom, your own body, your kid's face. Highlight and say proudly "I am a professional!"
I'm a professional! But... still, not a writer.