What’s up Wednesday: The Final Countdown

RobotWUWThank you Jaime and Erin for hosting What’s up Wednesday these last two years! I have met some of my favorite writing people through it. You guys are amazing!

Here’s the last, What’s up with me…

What I’m Reading

I just finished reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell, and it was everything fantastic and awesome that I expect from one of her books, but it also punched me in the gut with emotion. Georgie McCool is a character I identify with in a way that makes me almost embarrassed, and maybe when I was reading I started sobbing like an idiot while my son tried to get my attention and my husband made me a cup of tea. Good times.

What I’m Writing

I started a new story. The voice came to me in the shower and then before I knew it I was writing words. For now, I’m just following her. I don’t really know yet where, but after a few months of false starts on other projects, and feeling like I’m in limbo, it’s nice just to write and not feel bound by anything.

What Works for Me

Like I said above, not feeling bound by an arbitrary goal or a word count requirement. Not looking at the long road ahead littered with drafting and revisions. It’s like walking down stairs carrying a laundry basket. I can’t see the stairs below me, but I can feel them. I can’t get focused on the final step or I’ll lose traction where I’m at. It’s an exercise in living in the moment, writing in the moment, focusing on the day I’m in, the word count I’m at, and that’s it.

What Else is New

Last week was Spring Break for my son. We did a lot of playing, and reading, and going to parks. The weather wasn’t the best the last half of the week, so I took him to the movies and cuddled with him over popcorn.

I also got him a little Spring Break gift at Target. He insisted on having his picture made.

samtarget

I’ve been focusing some (a lot) of my energy on my YouTube channel Books, Booze & Bitches with fun results! Yesterday I did a video about the San Diego Comic Con Hotel Lottery and the resulting CRASH of the website. (Check out the Crazy 4 Comic Con Post about the situation as well, if you’re interested.)

EXTRA: I discussed my experience with another crash when I submitted my application to the HBO Writing Fellowship.

We post new videos every Wednesday, with the exception of this week when we are posting more because Hotelpocalypse 2015. Today we are talking Insurgent Movie!

And finally *sniffle*….What’s up with you?

Psst. Yeah, You. I Have Agent News!

This is so exciting! I was with her, spooning out queso on a plate, when she got the email setting up the phone call. While she was cautiously optimistic that this was THE CALL, I was exuberantly certain. And now I am flaily and joyous.

confessions of a fangirl

I’ve been on the query roller coaster to find an agent for a few years now. More years than I’d like to admit, but that’s life. It started with my first definitely-not-ready-to-query manuscript that I was so damn proud of. Looking back, I’m not at all surprised that I only got a few full requests and mostly form rejections. Parts of it were good. Most if it was not.

But I learned so much from that book. How to create well-rounded, relatable characters, how to develop a more exciting plot, how to hone my voice. I also learned how to move on from a book that’s going nowhere.

Fast forward to 2014. I finally became a published author. I caught the eye of a small digital-first publisher in an online contest and publishing LOVE AND CUPCAKES became a reality. But I still desperately wanted an agent. I wanted a champion…

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Waiting Ring

ring When you are a writer in pursuit of publication you wait. A lot.

First, you wait for feedback from critique partners and beta readers to tell you your manuscript is ready to query. This is an important stage of waiting. It helps you build up strength in your patience muscles. It teaches you that you can’t harass friends, that passive aggression will do little more than make them want to block your email. Waiting on readers forces you to develop a range of coping mechanisms needed to manage the heavyweight Waiting Tournament that lies ahead of you, known as:

Cold Querying.

This stage of waiting comes with a whole new set of challengers. In one corner there’s Inevitable Rejection. This is a brawny, unscrupulous, and unfortunately unavoidable opponent. Sometimes it strikes fast. Sometimes it is a slow, brutal stalemate of DID THEY GET MY QUERY WILL THEY EVEN RESPOND, in which you recheck their company guidelines and bite your nails to the quick.

In another corner you will face the Partial Request. Often, the Partial Request tag teams with Inevitable Rejection to combine their strengths in a pleasant, sometimes long-awaited Form Letter. Occasionally, Partial Request bows out, and you are upgraded to FULL REQUEST challenge.

This, my querying beauties, is the big leagues. Full Request enters the ring, distracting you with shiny hopes and dreams of Offers, and Contracts, and Emails full of flattery and begging. But then Full Request pulls out it’s secret weapon: Waiting for a Response.

At this point, you are tired. You’ve already fought through three rungs of hell to get to Full Request status. You begin to question your ability to defeat this challenge. Your anxiety seeps to the surface and gives you bitter beer face. You are constipated by the lack of movement in your inbox. You wonder if all the offers are somehow being captured by Full Request’s henchmen, Doubt and Self-loathing. You know you shouldn’t give a flying fuck but you do, you can’t help it, and what’s worse, your hands are tied.

Yes. You start work on another manuscript. Or you start a YouTube channel (like this one). Maybe you take a trip or focus on family or educate yourself in the art of underwater basket-weaving. But you are still WAITING. No winner has been declared. No loser has been declared either.

My friend, Sara Biren told me a story today about waiting in the Geek Squad line at Best Buy. A woman showed up waving a piece of paper with her appointment confirmation and demanding instantaneous service. She was sent to the back of the line. After listening to this woman complain, Sara told her, “There are a lot worse things than having a broken phone and having to wait in line to get it repaired.”

Sara knew I needed to be reminded of this, but she was nice enough not to bitch slap me with it. She was nice enough not to say, “Get over yourself. First world problems much?”She has been in the Agent Waiting Ring. She is now in the Editor Waiting Ring. Her patience muscles are bigger than mine.

When Sara was finally called to the desk, she received an upgrade and got a shiny new case to protect the Precious. Her children were happy because they’d spent the afternoon hogging the Best Buy in store iPads. Waiting had paid off.

Sometimes, Waiting is just giving the Upgrade a chance to find it’s way to you. Sometimes, Waiting is right where you need to be.