I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

 

Hey, you with the tear in the corner of your eye and the frown dripping down your face,

I know you’re querying and I know you’re thinking of giving up.

Here’s the truth: Querying is hard. It’s hard work, and it’s hard on your spirits. There’s a lot of research involved. It requires a lot of time-consuming attention to detail, and you are most certainly guaranteed to receive a lot of rejection. Maybe–all rejection and nothing else.

It’s brutal on the heart and spirit. You feel like a complete loser. It’s embarrassing. And there comes a point where you may feel like an untalented piece of shit poo, and you should just quit. But you have to look in the mirror or open up those pages and look at all those words that spilled out of you with great passion and heart. Ask yourself–how much you want it?

Don’t forget that every writer has been rejected. Even those you think of as being “the greats.” Maybe they didn’t get quite as much rejection as you are getting, but they still got rejected by someone at some point.

When you get those rejection letters that tell you that the agent or publisher just “didn’t connect” with your book, think of all those books that your friends so highly recommended, but you just didn’t love. Over and over you’ll hear that this is a “subjective business,” remember that it’s not just a line that agents feed you. It is, in fact, a very real truth. It doesn’t mean that you, or your book, suck. There are a lot more factors that go into someone deciding whether they want to take on your project than just the words you wrote.

One day, you’ll get something other than a rejection if you keep working to improve and you don’t give up on yourself no matter how hard it gets.

And remember…

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal_ it is the courage to continue that counts.”

You just need the courage to continue. Be tenacious. Work to improve. Do not ever give up. You can do this. I believe in you.

 

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Procrastination Queen

Procrastination Queen

Hey, friends,

So, as you know, I finished writing the first draft of my novel. YAY!!!! As much as that was a huge accomplishment for me, the hardest work is ahead.

Editing! Over and over and over, I’ll have to read this novel and find plot holes, inconsistent character traits, sentences that don’t make a lick of sense (oh, man that happens more than it should), wrong word usage, etc. This part is tough for me. I think the biggest reason is that I keep saying, “Oh my gosh, I’m such a crap writer!” and I will tinker with the same sentence over and over and over. Remove the comma. Stare. Add the comma back in. Take it out. Turn the sentence into two. Make it one sentence again. Add the comma. Stare. Delete the entire sentence.

This may be why I’ve all of a sudden become the crowned Queen of Procrastination.

giphy-downsized (31)

I got off to a good start on the first day. I edited the first two chapters, but then I really earned my crown.

giphy-downsized (32)

What did I do to earn my crown? Well, I sat around watching movies. It’s so important to clear those movies off my Netflix list, you know. I’ve been tweeting and playing hashtag games. I’ve watched Youtube videos. I’ve researched screenplays (like I need anything else to work on right now). Oh, and I’ve suddenly found Snapchat filters to be a very important use of my time.

I feel so much better now. Glad I got that done.

Sigh.

I know I need to sit my ass in the chair and edit these chapters. Once I get the second draft done, I’ll be able to turn the novel over to my first reader. And that might be another reason I’m dragging my feet so hard. It’s terrifying to share my work. Even though my first reader is someone I trust completely and someone who has been honest but gentle with feedback on my other novels, I’m still scared. I’m scared to reach each new step.

I’m scared of sharing with betas and critique partners. I’m scared of rewrites. I’m scared of querying and the rejection that will come with it.

But I’m going to take a deep breath and stop with all the procrastination. I’m going to take off my crown and remember how much I love my stories and how good it does feel when I finally do share them.

Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted.

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Rejected!

 

 

Rejected!

When I was about 14, I was shoveling horse poop in the barn and a wasp stung my inner thigh. It hurt like a bleeping bleeper! I still have the ugly, raised, and ghostly white scar. Even now, (many) years later, I transform into an Olympic sprinter when I see one.

I received nothing but rejection (mostly in the form of crickets chirping) on my first novel. Now, as I wait for the rejections to start rolling in on my second, I wonder if they will sting as much as they did the first time around, maybe more.

But this is what I do know. I’m not going to quit. I’m going to keep on trying. I have a lot more courage than I thought I did. I keep putting myself out there knowing that I may be dismissed over and over again. I keep heading back into that barn knowing that those hornets are going to sting me. But the sting of a hornet won’t kill me and neither will the sting of rejection.

This is what I want. This is who I am. Maybe a reject, but definitely a writer.

wasp

Bring it on!

Chin up, Charlie.

Chin up, Charlie.

Keeping my chin up, having a stiff upper lip, and growing a thick skin…yeah, that’s not going to happen. Best to admit it, I think.

While I don’t necessarily feel the need to whine, complain, and bash myself over this hard, hard, super hard process of write/edit/query/rejection (mostly the query/rejection portion)…I also don’t feel the need to pretend I’m tough and that it doesn’t get to me, that I don’t want to give up. Quit.
I am a sensitive girl, always have been. I have always cried at movies and TV shows (agh, the end of E.T. or the Green Mile and that particular episode of Highway to Heaven with the homeless boy living in a box with his cat) Happy endings, sad endings, doesn’t matter…a river of tears will flow. Books also make me cry (The One and Only Ivan had me doing a very ugly cry, complete with gasping. This was partly because it is a beautiful and sad story and partly because it was similar to a book I had been writing and my book seemed too similar to this one to continue with. Mine was about a space chimp. When I stopped writing it, I felt like he died).
Kisses in movies always make me “woooooooooooooh!” gush out loud. Funny, ah, I love funny things and people beyond belief! I don’t know if I love anything more than getting hysterical with someone.
And really happy moments make me squeal like a pig! I just can’t contain it.

Yes, I am a person of tears and pig squeals! My heart, I wear it right there on my sleeve. I’m not a person with a poker face or with a stiff upper lip. If I’m mad, there is a pretty good chance my brows will betray my feelings.

I will be super embarrassed if my work is never deemed good enough. I almost didn’t share this journey (journey, I hate that word, but I can’t think of a better one at the moment) because it is hard and embarrassing. I am sure I am going to shed some tears. Of course, I will, this is hard on the heart. But, I am going to keep writing. I am going to keep on editing. I am going to keep on visiting the Grammar Girl to try and relearn everything I forgot since school. I am going to keep querying. I am going to keep on getting rejected. I am going to feel free to share my failure and my success. It is not going to be my little secret.

I am going to keep trying. When I need to cry, I’m gonna. When I need a hug, I’m going to ask for it. And hopefully, the day will come when I will squeal like a pig.