Hey! Remember Me?

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m almost at home base. I’m so close I can taste it. To what are these over-used expressions referring, you ask? Querying, of course!

I’ve spent over a year editing my book, and quite frankly I can’t take any more. I feel good about it, and it is finally time to send it out. Woohoo! So, I’ve started the process of researching agents.

I’ve run across several agents whom I queried twelve years ago with my first novel, and the thought crossed my mind to write them again. “Hey! Remember me? I’m the one whose fantasy manuscript you requested and rejected back in 2003. Remember? Girl named Aislinn stuck on a rock and a dragon comes and flies away with her and she meets a couple of rodent-like creatures….No? You don’t remember? Okay, fine.”  Guess I’ll skip that method.

Writing a query letter is a challenge, and there is a lot of advice out there. I have really enjoyed seeing examples in a Writer’s Digest series by Chuck Sambuchino, and you can find them here. I don’t know how much they’ve helped, but I’ve enjoyed reading them. They’re all very different, which goes to show that there is no perfect formula. There is some obvious advice to follow: spell the agent’s name correctly, check your grammar, and give the basics of your story (that’s the hard part). Other than that, you’re on your own. You just have to hope that after two years of writing and one year of editing you’ve got a story worth telling – and the confidence to tell it well.

Thank You

When I started blogging just over a year ago, I have to admit that it was not something I looked forward to. I always said that I’d stay far away from the Facebook/Twitter/blogging world, since I had no interest in sharing the minutia of my life with strangers or hearing about theirs. But I caved because I had to keep up with the times and build a platform and do all of the ‘junk’ that paves the road toward being published.

Well, the joke is on me because it turns out that it isn’t ‘junk’ at all.

I have enjoyed visiting various blogs and seeing the different journeys that other authors take on their way to being published. I have enjoyed reading the poems and short stories that so many have shared, and I have gained a lot of insight into the world of writing. I have enjoyed reading articles in Writer’s Digest and realizing that I can connect with the authors on WordPress. Imagine that! Amy Sue Nathan has some great writing advice – by the way.

I don’t know about you, but I sure do enjoy seeing that little orange box glow to tell me that I’ve got a new ‘like’ or ‘comment’ or ‘follow.’ I have so appreciated the sense of community that I have found online – your encouragement and helpful feedback. Who knew that people I’ve never met could be so supportive? Thank you, especially, to those who have regularly followed my blog. I will continue to try to return the favor to all of you.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to show me that blogging is not just a chore on the way to becoming published. It is instead a wonderful part of my writing life, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

What’s Your Excuse?

Writers seem to agree that there is nothing more intimidating than a blank page. I would argue that the tasks of outlining, editing, writing a query, writing a synopsis, pitching, and even blogging are just as hard. It’s all work, and as with any work, it is hard to rally the willpower to do it.

And excuses are easy to come by. I have a full-time job. I have to get the laundry done, dinner made, homework checked, clothes ironed, children played with and then bathed, books read, dishes washed, cat fed, litter box emptied, floor swept, mail sorted, counters cleaned…I could go on. Want me to go on? Okay, here goes (deep breath) – dance class attended, trash taken out, bathrooms cleaned, beds made, groceries purchased, doctors visited, meetings attended, yard work done, social engagements met…okay, that’s enough. I’m spent. Can I just sit down and watch The Bachelor in Paradise now? Cause I’m, like, three weeks behind, and I’m pretty sure that there are fantasy suite scenes to watch.

Something tells me that your list of excuses looks pretty similar to mine. But we have to persevere, people! We have to stay on task. We have to say, ‘No, Chris Harrison! I can live without the most shocking rose ceremony ever. I can!’

‘But how?’ you say.

Someone in my writing club suggested using time sheets. She sets herself a requirement of eight hours per week – an extra workday if you will – and she records her time. How brilliant is that?

Good luck to those of you who decide to try it. It’s not a wonder drug. But, for me, it is a concrete way to see how little writing I’ve been doing. It’s a tool that will hopefully keep me from making quite so many excuses in the future.