Thursday, July 8, 2010
Freedom From...You Fill in the Blank
KAYE: I've been mulling over this blog entry from Dystel & Goderich agent, Michael Bourret.
In fact, I've already blogged on it once.
What I'm thinking about now is--deadlines. Here's a sample of the deadlines we pre-published writers (more on that later) strive to meet: We enter contests, we exchange chapters, full mss, we keep up with blogs and webpages, we hold down full and part-time jobs while doing that, we engage in email discussions, facebook, twitter, these last to make our presence known. And we generally answer emails.
KD: Well, there's a song, right? "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose"? Janis Joplin, the same troubled woman who wanted a Mercedes Benz.
Apparently, the stress of deadlines is...stressful. Okay. Fine. How about the stress of thinking nothing I do matters to anyone? That nobody is going to read it anyway? That other people will leave their grandkids beautiful embroidered whatchamacallits, and my own grandkids will have to deal with boxes of manuscripts under the bed? What about that?
KAYE: Add in the stress of not meeting those deadlines that I mentioned, too. For instance, you and I are VERY late in our ms swap and my ms is nowhere near done right now. I haven't had a chance to write on it since April!
Here's my typical, planned day Monday through Friday (not that they ever go as planned): emails for an hour starting at 8:00 or 9:00, daily pages for fifteen minutes, then get dressed and try for some exercise. The rest of the morning is for errands, hair appointments, doctors appointments, stuff like that. I work on my work in progress (WIP) for 3-4 hours in the afternoon. Break for Jeopardy! During the ads I critique hard copy for the two manuscript critique groups I belong to, or one of the two short story critique groups. After dinner I write for blogs, usually ending up posting on Facebook and Twitter between 11:00 and midnight or 1:00. Except every other Monday, when my cross-genre writers' group meets, a fifty-five mile drive. And Tuesdays, when Austin Mystery Writers meets, a seventy-mile drive. Fridays I send out ten queries, five for each project I'm seeking publication for at the moment. In spare moments I look over critiques I've received and implement changes I think I need, think about plotting a sequel to the one project I'm querying. The current WIP is a sequel to the other.
Weekends are for short stories and trying to catch up on what I didn't get done. I don't know when is the last time I took a day completely off.
But occasionally I have a day when I just can't do it. What's the use? I don't ever hear back from most of the agents who receive my meticulously crafted query letters. I've taken several courses in how to write them and I get each one critiqued. I tweak each letter for each agent, looking up their attachment requirements. Then I get a request for a partial, or a full, and I come up fighting my black moments.
KD: Well, of course we fight it. We fight the feeling it is all worthless by having writing buddies. We write blogs, enter contests, send out manuscripts and query letter, all that stuff. We build our own support groups, set our own deadlines, read someone else's manuscript in the
hopes they will read and be interested in ours. We rejoice at any sign of hope (she requested a partial!) and eat cyber or real chocolate when confronted with despair (So I got this form rejection on a full. Can't believe it.)
KAYE: I've gotten those form rejections, even a Dear Author once, on a request for a full. Those are bad days. I never seem to get that free feeling. Funny, ain't it?
KD: Look. Somebody wants their freedom? You know, you always HAVE
your freedom. Start another book under another name. Refuse to write
the sequel. It's all up to you.
What the published have, what I WANT and the published HAVE, is the
knowledge that somebody believes in them.
[[picture provided under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation]]
Posted by Kaye George at 11:03 AM