Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Do You Ever Think About...

quitting writing?

just stopping altogether?

saying, well, that was fun, but it really isn't going anywhere, and I have 10 other things I could be doing with my time, so...

Sorry. This isn't going to be a very uplifting, rah-rah blog today, because I'm feeling rather blue. I sent out 15 or so queries and have heard back from 5 of them. It's only been a couple of weeks, so I know that isn't unusual. And of the 5, 3 asked to see partials. So I know that's good too.

Here's the problem. I've been here before. 3 times. Had a partial requested. Had a full requested. And then was turned down.

I know my skin is thicker than it used to be. I don't take it personally, anymore. And I know it's a tough, tough business. And I know that even getting that many requests for full manuscripts is something many other writers don't come close to.

But how long do you go down that road and come back empty-handed? How many times do you start again? I know there are authors who do it, who write 5 or 10 or 12 manuscripts before they finally publish one. God bless them. I'm just not sure I have it in me.

Maybe I really shouldn't care so much about the end result. Maybe I shouldn't care if I ever publish a thing. Except somehow, that validates one's efforts, doesn't it? Publication makes one worthy. It means you haven't wasted all that time, writing away at the keyboard, while other things get put aside.

I'm taking a break this week, just a little one, to see if staying away from my computer either makes me miss writing or makes me think about whether I really want to pursue publication the way I have been in the last few years.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Land of In-Between

The nice thing about having 1 or 2 stories to work on, of course, is that while one is simmering or out there swimming around in the land of finding-an-agent-or-publisher, you can focus on the other one.

That's what I've been doing the last 2 weeks. I sent out my latest WIP, One Night in Boston, to a handful of agents, got a couple of requests and am waiting on other responses. Not much else to do with that one but wait. In the meantime, though, Virtual Tales had requested a partial of an earlier work I had resurrected, Paradise, USA, so I was furiously polishing that. Finished the section they needed to see and emailed it Saturday.

Now, all of a sudden, I find myself ground to a halt. I finished the 2 priorities I had set for myself in September (which is a cause for celebration, I think, so I danced around my office a a little bit until my hubby wandered in). So I'm trying to figure out which direction I want to go next.

Really, I should finish up the novel I'm revising for VT, because even if they ultimately reject it, I've discovered that I like the characters and their new storyline so much that I might tackle turning it into a full-length novel (right now it will probably end up around 55K words, which is OK for VT but not so much for a mainstream target). Or I could do a little brainstorming about the next couple of works I'm thinking about tackling. There's a novel I wrote a couple of years ago, Summer's Song, which made it through quite a few reads at New American Library before a top editor turned it down. It needs work but I do like it a lot. Or I could always work on a short story or two, enter a contest to get my name out on the Web a little more.

Hmm. I thought I was at a sticking point but apparently I'm just at a turning point. What about you? How do you decide which direction to go, once you've finished one goal? Do you have a list of things to accomplish? Do you just close your eyes and pick one?

And by the way, big congratulations to my writing friend Marianne Arkins, who won my September Giveaway. She's getting Bob Mayer's book The Novel Writer's Toolkit. Anyone who's interested in entering the October Giveaway, stop on by !