So Here’s What Happened This Week (March 29, 2013)

Coffee

What I Did: Got a rejection from the literary agent who read my novel, SINGLES V. BRIDEZILLAS. Whined about it a while, survived, and moved on. Did character and outline work for my new middle-grade novel.

What I Read: PAINTED FACES by L.H. Cosway.

What I Saw: (in prep for my current baseball novel) – ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Cool Links I Found:

25 Ways to Be A Happy Writer (or at least happier) 

Editing When You’re in A Hurry 

 

 

There Are Two Kinds of Rejection – And This Was The Bad One….

Rejected!

As a writer, I get rejected all the time. It’s never fun, but most of the time it doesn’t bother me that much. It goes with the territory of being a writer. Most of the time, I get rejected at the query stage which simply means that I sent a letter to a literary agent telling her the basic story of my novel and asking her if she wants to read a few chapters or even the whole thing. The majority of the time, it’s a NO.

Ode to Rejection

Again, it’s not fun, but these literary agents can receive more than 150 queries a day. There is no way they can possibly read all those books or even sample pages from each one. I always think of this stage as kind of like going to the library and picking out books to read. There’s thousands of books there, so you pick up a few and read the blurbs on the covers (like queries) and decide whether or not you want to take the time to read the whole thing. Lots of times you put the book back down and go look for something else. This doesn’t mean the book is terrible. It often means it’s just not for you. You’re not interested in it enough to read it. Maybe the next person will pick it up and put it in his library bag, just like the next agent might read my query and think my novel sounds like something he’d like to read. You have to send out a LOT of queries and get a lot of Nos before you finally get a Yes. It’s not easy, but hard work and persistence are what it takes to try to make it in this business.

The really tough kind of rejection comes when a literary agent requests your manuscript and THEN turns it down. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that agents read a lot of books and cannot possibly represent them all, even the good ones. Think about the last few books you read. Are you passionate enough about any of them to want to spend the next two or more years of your life on them? Did you love them enough to want to spend significant time convincing others of how great the book it? Probably not. Same deal with literary agents. The book can’t be just GOOD, it has to be GREAT. It also has to fit the individual taste of the agent and it has to be a book she thinks she can sell.

I know all of this, but it still really, really hurts when my manuscript gets rejected. It takes an awful lot of work to even get to the point where an agent will agree to read any of my writing (never mind the exhaustive work it took to write the damn novel in the first place).  In this case, I had sent three sample chapters with my query because that’s what the agency wanted. This agent then requested the full manuscript, which is an accomplishment in itself. She read three chapters and was intrigued enough to read more, which is a good sign. If she thought my writing was terrible, she wouldn’t have requested to read more. Still, it’s hard. She’s had the manuscript since January 13. It’s not that unusual for an agent to have a book that long. After all, mine wasn’t the only one she was reading. Still, that’s a long time to wait to hope that maybe this time it’s going to work out. This time I might actually get a literary agent who will be able to open so many doors that remain locked tight to unagented writers. Maybe this’ll finally be my shot.

And then with one quick email, it’s all over. “Thank you so much for letting me take a look, but I am going to pass”.

Believe me, I’m not the type of writer who thinks that agents should deliver a personal response to every query or that agents have nothing to do all day but answer wannabe writer letters. But I do think that I deserved a better response than that. I’ve always been told that if an agent gives you a personal critique, it means they think your writing has potential. So this means…what? She couldn’t be bothered to give me ONE INKLING of what didn’t work? What I am supposed to do with “I’m going to pass?” At times like these, you wonder if it would have been better if she had just said no to the query. I kinda feel like I’m worse off than if she had never looked at it at all. Still, I guess I had a few weeks of hope.

Another agent requested 50 pages of my middle-grade novel and liked those enough to request the rest of the book. She’s had the complete manuscript since January 12, which means I could be going through this exact same experience any day now if she also turns down that novel.

This is the glamorous life of the wannabe writer, folks.

The frustrating thing is that I was never interested in money and I don’t need to be a famous writer. I just want to have my writing published and read by others. Days like this, I have to wonder if that’s ever really going to happen. Days like this I remember that I really could spend a lifetime pursuing this dream only to come up short. There are absolutely no guarantees that this is going to happen. Ever.

Don’t worry. I never stay down for long. I’m proud to say that in all the years that I’ve been a writer, I’ve never even thought about quitting. Not even once. Not gonna start now, either. It’s just days like these are like a cold splash of water in my face, reminding me of how hard what I’m trying to do truly is.

Writing ain’t for wimps.

Rock on, Wannabes.  I know I will.

– Linda Fausnet

So Here’s What Happened This Week (March 22, 2013)

 

Tweeting

 

 

What I Did: Baseball reading and research for new novel. Worked on character development and story outline.

What I Read: AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie

What I Saw: THE NATURAL

Cool Links I Found:

The Lonely Life of a Writer

The Single Best Tip for Using Twitter

Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing. Three Things I Learned from Being a Judgmental Bitch

25 Turns, Pivots, and Twists to Complicate Your Story

– Linda Fausnet

 

Writing: When You Don’t Have Time For Dat

Fo Dat

I was never the type of writer who couldn’t get started on a project. I’m the type who can’t stop. Or at least I don’t want to.

Sure, there are times when I don’t feel like writing. You know what I do then? I write anyway. My routine has always been to get up at 5am, get dressed and eat breakfast, and then write until I have to stop to go to work. Most of the time I can’t wait to get to work on my latest novel. There have been times when I actually find it hard to sleep because I can’t wait to wake up and start writing. Sometimes I can’t get my characters to quiet down so I can get some sleep. Sure, sometimes I’m tired in the morning and find it hard to get going, but I do it anyway. Writing time is precious, so I never waste it, no matter how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling tired, sad, overwhelmed, or whatever, I write anyway. I don’t wait for motivation to hit me, I just write when it’s time to write and stop when I’m forced to.

At least that’s the way it used to work.

Right now I’m working a lot of hours at my day job. I have to get to work at 7am, so I can no longer write in the morning like I used to. I feel like a huge chunk of my body has been torn away. It’s a lonely feeling because sometimes I don’t think anybody has any idea of what that feels like. I’m sure there are writers like me out there, but so far I don’t know any. Most of the writers I come into contact with either can’t seem to get motivated to write at all or those who are in a huge hurry to self-publish their books. Some of those in the latter department don’t seem to have much respect for the craft. They just want to be the next “Fifty Shades of Grey” type success story. It doesn’t seem to be about the desire to write for some of these people.

Don’t Let Fifty Shades of Grey Pee in Your Wheaties, Writer Types

At my current job, I basically work 9-12 hours a day with one day off per week. Essentially, I get one day per week where I spend all day writing, but then I can’t touch my work for another week. It’s extremely difficult to write a book this way. During our six days apart, I lose touch with my characters. Sometimes I can’t hear their voices anymore. It’s like trying to read a book for fifteen minutes per week. It takes forever to finish it. You can’t remember where you were or what’s happening in the story. The emotions that you felt while reading the story start to fade. It’s the difference between how you feel after just watching a tearjerker movie vs. how you feel when thinking about the movie a week later. It’s just not the same.

No matter what happens with my writing, I fully expect to work a day job for the rest of my life. That’s a hard truth of the Wannabe life that I accepted a long time ago. Very, very few of us get to do what we love for a living. I’ve accepted that I will just have to do what I love for one hour per day, and then spend eight hours a day doing what I have to do.

So what happens when you take that one hour away from me?

I don’t really feel like myself anymore. Being a writer so much of who I am. It’s not that I hate having a day job. In some ways, I think it’s better to go out and interact with people and experience life rather than being holed up in a writing office all day. Meeting people and living life gives you stuff to write about. I’m okay with having a day job. But I’m not okay with it taking over my life.

I don’t have time to write anymore.

This is not okay.

So now what?

I used to get up at 5am to write. Now I get up at 5am to get to work on time. Maybe I’ll start getting up at 4:30. I don’t know. But I have to fix this. I’ve worked too hard and too long on this dream of mine to let real life get in the way.

What about you? How do you make sure you make time to fulfill your dreams?

 

So Here’s What Happened This Week (March 15, 2013)

Alfred

 

What I Did: Worked on outline and did character work for new novel.

What I Read: Elimination Night by Anonymous

Cool Links I Found:

3 Ways to Build Meaningful Connections to Move Your Writing Career Forward

Don’t Let Fifty Shades of Grey Pee in Your Wheaties, Writer Types

3 Reasons for Writers to Have a Blog….And 3 Reasons Not To

Top 10 Tips for Self-Publishing Print Books on Createspace