Monday, April 15, 2013

Journey to Publication! Part 4: Moving On

Hello all, I know it's been a while since I did one of these posts! I felt it wasn't quite right, as nothing was really happening on that front. I'd been sending out regular batches of queries up until a couple weeks ago, but it started to feel... not right. There are 4 agents right now who've requested to read material, one of them the full manuscript, and that's wonderful. I am still hoping for a positive reply or two... but I'm not focusing on it. I'm moving on. I'm not giving up, but I'm focusing my energy elsewhere.

And here's why. I was starting to look at things the wrong way. As a writer I should be writing, and instead I was sending out queries one day a week, and spending the rest of my week refreshing my email in the hope that I'd hear back from an agent. The rejections became easier and easier, until I got to the point where a form rejection of my query didn't bother me at all. I recently received a pass from an agent after reading the first 50 pages of my novel, and it sucked, but it didn't suck for very long and it was fine. So my skin got thicker. But I was still focusing on it, and every time I didn't get an offer of representation, I felt just a little more like I wasn't doing the right thing.

Here's the thing. I love my novel. I think it's great. If I didn't, I wouldn't be sending queries to agents, would I? I do think it has a place in the market right now, and I think it has an audience. But I'm not sure it's exactly where it needs to be yet.

I know this is the novel I wanted to write. The characters, the story, some of the silly moments that I put there just for me... it's exactly how I want it, for now. I'm so proud of myself for writing it. But I don't know if it's ready, or if it's 100% the best it can be. And I'm not at the point right now where I can focus on that, because I'm actually starting to go mad thinking about it, and there is only so much feedback you can hear, so much differing and contradictory feedback, before you start questioning everything.

So I'm taking a break from sending queries. I'm not giving up by any means. I believe in my novel, and I believe it can get published, but I'm not in the right headspace right now to be putting all my energy toward that. I need to be writing, and improving, and learning. And above all, having fun. Because that's why I love to write after all -- it's fun. I love it! And the situation with my novel, where I wasn't writing but just sitting and waiting... wasn't fun at all. It was driving me fucking bonkers.

I had a talk with Greg the other night. He basically told me, Meg, what the fuck are you doing? You love to write. I have a good job and I pay for the great majority of things and you only work part time so you can write. Why aren't you writing? And I thought, why aren't I writing? So I made a lot of excuses, and I cried, but Greg was having none of it. "Just suck it up and write."

Then something clicked. It always has to click with me or I won't do it, I won't listen to advice, I won't make a change unless something clicks. And it did. I realized, not that I should be writing, but I want to be writing. I want to be creating and doing the thing that makes me happiest. I don't want to be sitting and waiting and focusing on trying to sell the book I'd already written. I can do that on the side, or in the meantime, or I can do it later. But right now I have to write.

So I'm writing! I'm working on the outline for a new novel, and while it's set in a different world and there are different characters and a different setting, it's very similar in tone. It's a little bit Steampunk meets Indiana Jones meets Jane Austen, and I hope in a good way. I've no idea if it can sell, but I don't care at this point. I know I'm going to have a ton of fun writing it, and really that's the only thing I want to focus on right now.


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