I have a feeling if I start by apologizing again for the way I've neglected my blog then the pattern will be set for every new post I get around to. I just hope you'll understand that there is only so much time in a day, a week, a month, and at some point I have to sleep. Trust me, this blog isn't the only thing I've been neglecting. Going barefoot in my house is not a pleasant experience at this point. I'm not sure where the hell my mop is anymore or even if I'd recognize it.
But I ramble. This post is supposed to be inspirational. Or as inspirational as I'm capable of being.
I recently signed with agent Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency and blogged about it last month. I would say it was the best day of my life but I have kids and if they read this I don't want to hear their cries of "Really, Mom? WTF?". But it was close...really close.
The manuscript that caught Amy's attention was the fourth one I'd written over the last four years. The first one was beyond horrible and rife with every newbie mistake you could think of. The second wasn't much better but the idea had potential, and the third I still have hope for. I queried all of them with mixed results. Each one garnered more attention and more full requests, but were eventually rejected. With each story I grew and learned. I followed (and still do) almost every agent blog in existence and read everything about writing that I could get my hands on. I read everything I can get my hands on period. But ultimately it was the continued act of writing that made me better. In my opinion, trial and error always works best.
But somehow I thought I'd be different. Please tell me I'm not the only one who thought they'd pound out a book in a few months and it would be genius. Magical. The offers would pour in. Oh how discouraging reality is. Even when everyone around you is supportive, when you're being rejected the little voice in your head is NOT your friend. It whispers that you're kidding yourself, that your writing sucks so bad it's embarrassing. A slow first grader could do better.
When I became discouraged, I tried to remind myself of why I write. Because I love it. Because telling stories is what I was meant to do. Because it's the first thing I think of when I wake in the morning and the last thing I think of when I lay down at night. Being published is just a perk.
So I never thought about quitting. And believe me, I've quit more things than most people ever start. But not this. Never this.
Because it just takes one. One idea. One story. One agent who believes in you.
I know, I know. As soon as I promise to stop neglecting the blog, I do...again. But this time I have an even better excuse. I am now officially represented by Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency.
That's right, peeps. I have an agent!
It’s exciting and sort of terrifying at the same time. But all it took was not giving up. Write, query, revise, and repeat. Just keep doing that and you can’t go wrong.
So I’ve been revising my current manuscript upon the direction of my agent (it’s not weird that I whisper that to myself frequently), which happens to be Middle Grade, and no I won’t tell you anything else except if you’ve ever read this blog then you know it won’t be about rainbows and unicorns. That’s not how I roll. But it will be funny.
We should be ready to go on submission after the first of the year.
I will still be doing blog posts as often as I can and updating everyone on what’s going on. I’ve been writing seriously for almost five years now, and I can tell you that I would never have gotten this far without the support of my online writer friends. You guys are the wind beneath my wings and all that other mushy stuff. Special thanks to these peeps:
And like a hundred others. Every blog follower I have, every person who ever commented or said an encouraging word, and for all those who didn’t.
So Happy Thanksgiving and remember this before you eat the pumpkin pies:
One of my pet peeves has always been peeps whose blogs I love dropping out without a word, and leaving me dangling, and disappointed.
Until I did it for a few months. Obviously.
I don't need to tell any of you how hard it is to juggle responsibilities. Work, and family take up most of our time. And for those of us who write, every spare minute we have is devoted to words. It used to be easier for me but with so many distractions I've dropped a few balls. This blog being one of them.
It didn't help that the new firewall at my office hates blogger. But for some reason loves Pottermore. I am now an expert at dueling with elementary school children. I may have made one cry at some point. Not my finest moment.
But now I am recommitting to the blogging world. I will find time to do this and catch up with old friends. And make new ones. We've always supported each other and I've missed that.
Writers frequently talk about why they write and the answer is usually the same. We can't NOT write. Sort of like we can't NOT breathe. For some that means years of querying manuscripts that may never sit on a bookshelf. For others it may mean breaking the top 100 best blogs on the internet. And for many more it may mean your kid getting an A on every book report you secretly write for him. If you're a writer, you must write.
I'm currently deep in the throes of Query Hell. Or not, depending on what your view of hell is. If it's anything close to the idea of you waiting in a line that extends into infinity just to get near the end and realize your line is only the one to get a ticket to stand in the even longer line next to you...then yeah. You get me.
One of the agents I queried mentioned something on her website (or in an interview. Of course now I can't find it!) that I've thought about all week. She said one of the first questions she asks a potential client is 'What do you hope to achieve from your writing?'
Do you want money? It would be nice. What about fame? Not so much but I wouldn't turn down an interview with Oprah. Do you want the satisfaction of seeing your book in a B&N so you can grab as many customers as possible to scream at them to buy your awesome debut novel that will change their lives forever before security hauls you out? Ok, that's pretty close.
The best answer is another question. You know that feeling you get when you finish the last page of a book that's made you laugh hysterically, love intensely, and then cry as if your heart is breaking? The ones with characters that would have been your best friends if they were real, and feel like family even though they aren't? Those books that take you away and return you just a little different than what you were before?
That's what it's about for me. That's what I hope to achieve. And it doesn't have to happen to millions of readers. I'd settle for just a few. Or even one.
And in the spirit inspired by those books I'd like to say thanks.
Thank you, Andrew Smith. For Jack and Conner, Ryan Dean, and Joey, Troy and Tom, and all the rest.
Thank you, Stephen King. For Roland, Jake, Eddie, and Susannah. For every anti-hero who came through in the end.
Thank you, J.K. Rowling. For Harry, Ron, and Hermione. And even for Cedric Diggory who always looked like Edward in my head before the fangs and sparkles.
Thank you, Stephanie Meyer. Yes, even you. For Bella. Because even if she needed serious relationship counseling, she showed us that persistence pays off in the end.
This list could get pretty big, and this post is already wayyy to long, so I'll stop there. But it might be a good idea to take a minute and ask yourselves...what's in it for you?
I rarely visit my own Facebook page any longer. It was a place to catch up on family and old high school friends but it wasn't long before I became bored. Now I'm thinking maybe I should check it out more often...
There were more but they were wildly inappropriate...so I sent them to all my co-workers.