This picture appears in a link to my story on Literary Rejections. This juggling kit was invented and sold by my father and his business partner in the 1970's-early 1990's.
I am so excited to be participating in Terry Long's blog flash challenge! I will post these each day on my Hullabaloo blog but will link to my website as well. To follow along on Twitter use #blogflash2013.
Day 1: Laughter
At the beginning of the New Year, I decided on a writing schedule. One that would have me writing one blog per week, one short story per week, and some novel writing/revisions, whenever time would allow. My intention was to simply keep writing even on the days that I don’t feel like it. So far this schedule has proven to be very productive.
Since January 1st of this year, I have completed four short stories and started two more. I have also written a one-act play that isn’t complete yet, but definitely close. And, I have finally finished editing my second novel LAGUNA and recently started writing a new novel. I have been keeping up with my blogging goal as well, whether it is on this blog, my Hullabaloo, or my Mass Mom’s blog.
I write every day in the hopes of one day that someone will read something I’ve written and say, “This needs to be published!” Even though I publish work every week on my blogs, it isn't the same as the fiction pieces. Those are a different animal. They say you need to write for yourself and not to please anyone else. Whoever said that wasn't a fiction writer. It was probably some professor in some swanky college. Fiction writer's need feedback. They need the recognition not only of the written piece but that we've affected a reader in some way because that is why we write.
I have several short stories out on submission right now - I am eagerly waiting to hear responses (which, btw is like waiting for water to boil! Waiting and waiting and waiting.....) I think I will start another round of querying agents for LAGUNA soon, however, I am signed up for a writer’s conference in May where I have chosen to meet with an agent to pitch LAGUNA (eeek!) so I’m not sure if I will wait on the agents until then or not.
So, what is the point of me telling you all this? Well
who else can I tell! I mean, I tell my husband but he tends to glaze over much like me when he tells me about his hiking trips. (It’s not that we don’t support
each other, it’s just….marriage.) Actually, the reason for this post today is to hold myself accountable. I figure that if someone out there thinks I’m writing on any given day, that I should be writing, right?
How do you stay motivated?
Rejection sucks. It just does. There is no other way to describe it.
Feeling really low today over some rejections that I have received, and the fact that writing isn't producing me any money, I decided to Google "rejection". 59,000,000 hits for that one dirty word. It turns out that you can be rejected socially, in love, at work, and even your body can reject food or say, a
transplanted organ. There are games out there to deal with rejection, articles, books, and videos. Rejection is a part of life but knowing that doesn’t make dealing with it any easier.
So, why do the rejections that I am receiving for my written pieces gutting me? I have been asking myself this every day and can’t seem to come up with an answer. I know, I know, every writer says that rejections are not only part of the process but necessary. The other day someone on twitter posted “I truly believe that with enough tenacity, anyone can get traditionally published eventually...but not without a lot of rejections first.” I wrote to her and said (jokingly): “how many is a lot?” Her response? “A lot, a lot.”
Although, I knew what she was saying. I need to do my time, pay my dues, have those rejection stories
to tell when I become published that will inspire non-published writers to keep writing. Whatever. And, I know what she is saying about tenacity, and trust me I have it, but getting someone else to see that I have what it takes to be a successful writer is like trying to find a contact on a pile of bubble wrap.
Honestly, some of my rejections are quite nice and none have been nasty but when they arrive in your email each day it is hard not to begin to wonder: why
am I doing this to myself?
Here are some of my recent rejections:
“Sorry to say, Kathy, that we will not be using this submitted work, and do wish you the best of luck with it elsewhere.”
“Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, I'm afraid this project isn't right for me, but I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.”
“Thank you for your query regarding your novel,
LAGUNA. Unfortunately, based on the information you provided, the project does
not meet our needs at this time. Best of luck in your future endeavors.”
And my personal favorite …….
“Thanks so much for being in touch. I’m flattered that you thought of me for this, but it just didn't quite strike a chord. I do admire the quality of the writing and the execution and I’m sorry it wasn't a fit for me.”
I love that this agent took the time to write such a thoughtful note. I will be printing and framing this one. Her rejection give me a glimmer of hope that maybe it’s not my writing that stinks but the fact that I really didn’t make an impression.
Now, I know, I know, if I quit than I will never know the fruits of my labor. BUT writing is hard. No, like really, really hard. Let me explain. Imagine your
job whatever it may be. Now imagine spending months, years even, working on a huge project, or trying to land a business deal and finally you have a
breakthrough and complete the project. Now, mind you, you have worked these months, or years, for FREE in the hopes that you will be rewarded with a big bonus upon completion of this project. Excitedly, you bring your good news to your boss that you have completed your project (or landed that deal) and he looks at you and says, “No. We aren’t going to use this. Thanks anyway.” No money. No recognition. Nothing. That’s a writer’s life.
I have been doing a lot of research lately by reading tons of short stories and studying structure and prose. The stories that I am reading are “the best”
out there and are written by some of most acclaimed writers, and yet I am not impressed. AT ALL. This business is very subjective and finding that needle in the haystack agent that actually “gets” you is the hard part. I have spent the last few months writing and writing and writing. For what? To get rejected, that’s what.
Every day as a writer is different. Some days I’m flying high and some…I feel buried underground. Today is an underground day. Talk to me tomorrow, I may be flying high.
So let me get this straight.
The author of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is set to be named the “Publishing Person of the Year.” Aside from the industry standards for what makes a person the Publishing Person of the Year (which I am assuming is book sales), the book was horribly written. Am I alone in this thinking? Please tell me no…..
I am thrilled for E.L. James and her success as an author (aka..I am jealous) Way to go and good for her…blah blah
Truth be told, I have not read the books. I only thumbed through the first few pages of the book at the store because all of my friends were insisting that I read the book. When reading those first few pages I immediately thought,“UGH! This is worse than a Twilight book!” I put it down and have never looked back even though people INSIST that I should read it because it because “it is SO GOOD!” What is wrong with people?
Those same friends also begged me to read Twilight a while back. I have zero interest in vampires but they insisted it was SO GOOD and I caved. Three pages in… I hated it. The writing was HORRIBLE! I suffered through it, laughing along the way, because they told me that it got better. Ah, no. It did not. The writing seemed to get worse as the story went on! How is that? Ok, I can see that maybe the writer was new and that is why, but wait a second. There is an agent who thought the writing was wonderful. Then, there had to be an editor who love it too. An editor, I thought, is supposed to make the work better and if that editor made it better, what was it like in the raw form? I shudder to think. Then, there was a publisher who loved it too! I am doomed.
It makes me think that either all of those agents out there really don’t want a polished, well written novel presented to them. They would rather a crappy, unsophisticated book instead. I must have one of those in me. Right?
I know this is not true and that I sound bitter but I guess I am just feeling discouraged. Writing is subjective, I know that. I can only hope that one day my stories will have their own place in the big wide world of publishing.
I am a NaNoWriMo drop out. Sad, yet true.
I wrote for a few days but could not get my head in the game. I had hoped that it would be a good distraction to the revisions that I was doing for HINDSIGHT, but turns out HINDSIGHT won. There is just something or someone that wants this novel out there beyond anything that I can comprehend. However, now I am sick of it. I need something else.
I am struggling with what is next. Here are some of my choices:
- go into full "agent" mode for Hindsight. Which means endless researching, letter writing, emails, and organizing the rejections...
- finish revisions for Laguna
- start a new novel.
-write some articles. I have been taking a journalism class online to learn how to break into this arena but I think if I do this, it will take up a ton of my time...aka.. no more novels.
- Write short stories and hope to publish one
-get a real job. Lord help me if I have work in an office…..
-quit writing altogether and run away
I want all of this! Well, everything except the quitting writing thing. I would love to run away like my character Sarah in LAGUNA, but I actually love my husband and if he can’t come than I guess I’m stuck here too. =)
We shall see.
National Novel Writing Month begins tomorrow! I know that itsounds completely INSANE to write 50,000 words in 30 days. However, it was the most amazing experience I ever had for so many reasons.
The NaNoWriMo BUZZ
Last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo. I jumped in on day two (I already had a couple thousand words started for the novel) and finished my 50,000 words with a few hours to go on November 30th.
The entire process really brought a certain energy to the house. My husband and children were on board (which helps) so I was given space and time to write whenever I needed it. It took commitment not just on my part but my family too. If I missed a day of writing during the week, I would head to the library on the weekends to write my butt off for hours. This meant leaving the husband to deal with the three cherubs and their activities, alone. But, he is great and never complained.
The best part though was how everyone cheered me on. Every day my (at the time) twelve year old would ask me how many
words that I had written and she would keep track of where I was in the process. My husband, who is THE most supportive guy, doesn’t always read what I write but he was asking to read pages and was hungry for more when he finished. My friends all knew I was writing too, and so they were asking about my progress and cheering me on as well. All of this not only motivated me, but also made me completely excited to get up each day and write. My creative juices were flowing like lava! It was the most extraordinary feeling.
To Nano or Not to Nano, that is the question…..
I have gone back and forth about whether to participate this year. I have an idea for a story (a young adult
thriller), but I’ve been struggling with the plot. Then, just yesterday, when I was feeling really down and low about writing (telling
myself I wasn’t good enough and I should never write again) I had read a great article on the Writer’s Digest website: “How to Resurrect a Stalled Manuscript”Aine Greaney. http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/how-to-resurrect-a-stalled-manuscript. The article gave a lot of great tips for jolting your writing back into full gear. The one idea that I connected with was to mix up your writing. Greaney suggested writing in a different voice, genre, or taking the tone of your piece from somber to silly. Lightbulb! I knew what I was going to do!
A few years back I started a story that I stopped writing because I couldn’t see where the story was going. After reading the
article, I suddenly knew where I wanted the story to go. I was going to take the piece I had started and turn it into a hilarious adventure about four women who….well, I’ll save that for another day. I haven’t written silly, or funny yet which is exactly the type of book I would love to read.
So, I will be participating in NaNoWriMo! I cannot wait to dive into it!
Writing every day takes discipline. It takes dedication. What NaNoWriMo does is help you with that discipline. I finished my second novel last November during NaNoWriMo, then went on to write a middle grade book. Since then, I have been revising….revising….revising…..blech.
However, if I hadn’t participated in NaNoWriMo, I would never have realized how much I love to write. I knew I liked to write, but I fell in love with it (weird, I know). When I write, I feel the most amazing energy surging through my body. I love starting with a blank page and filling it with words! I have never felt that with anything I have ever done before, ever.
If you have always dreamed of writing, why wouldn’t you try NaNoWriMo? Let’s face it, if you write 50,000 words you will have something close to a complete novel. Being supported during the month with emails from NaNoWriMo as well as the local moderators help keep your spirits up and definitely show you that you can do it.
Winners and Losers
If you complete the 50,000 words you WIN….a virtual badge. But, it’s not about a prize! It’s about writing those words that are bottled up inside you! Whether you finish 50,000 or 20,000 words it’s still something that wasn’t written before! Try it, you’ll like it, I promise!
Let me know if you will be writing, and follow me on Twitter so we can share NaNoWriMo trials and tribulations.
I had the most amazing and wonderful AH-HA moment at the writer’s conference (Write Angles) I attended last weekend. At the beginning of one of the workshops, the moderator asked for a show of hands if you’d written a novel. I raised my hand, as did a few others in the room. The moderator and panelists seemed impressed that some of us had already written novels and there were also a few audible gasps (and even a faint clap) from other participants in the workshop at those of us raised our hands.
At the end of class, as I gathered my things, the woman next to me asked if she could ask me a question.
“Did you really write a novel?”
Surprised and slightly embarrassed by the question I nodded, and then said, “Actually, I’ve written three.”
Her eyes went wide. “That is really impressive!”
“Thanks,” I said tentatively.
Then she asked these questions: how did I to write the novel? Did I make an outline? When did I find time to write? Where did
my ideas come from? How many hours a day to I write? And…. is it really hard? As I answered her questions, I tried to ignore the fact that she was taking notes and seemed to be hanging on my every word (ok, well maybe that’s an exaggeration, but still). As we were
parting, she thanked me profusely and said that my information was much more helpful was than the panelists who had actually presented. I blushed, and felt strange about that.
I said to her almost apologetically, “I haven’t published anything yet.” But, she didn’t care.
Oh…..wait….AH-HA!!! The light bulb was so bright!
She was putting ME on a pedestal because I have done something she is dreaming of doing. I have written a novel! No, I've written a couple of them. So why did I feel so strange talking to her about it, asif I didn’t have any right to tell her about my process? As if I was a fraud of some sort? Because I am still looking at those who are published writers, as being better than I am. As if they hold some secret key to a society that I am desperately trying to get into.
Writing, finishing a project, publishing, fame, sustainability. Is each its own pedestal? A series of steps? Am I on step three? I
actually do have some published work, even if most of it is ghost writing, I also have some Yahoo pieces, and two magazine articles and I should feel great about that. Perhaps I’ve touched pedestal three but just need to fully plant my feet there to feel like I have arrived.
As I drove home, I realized that writing is a journey. A journey of self-discovery. It can be lonely and frustrating at times but staying on course will reap wonderful benefits.
Last year, I read Stephen King’s “On Writing”. A wonderful book about writing, go get a copy if you've never read it. I copied down tons of great quotes, but my favorite (and it’s on my computer right now) is: “Do you need someone to make you a paper badge with the word WRITER on it before you can believe you ARE one? God I hope not.” Back when I read that book, I really needed validation that I could call myself a writer even though I hadn’t published anything. Stephen King gave me that validation (even though he
doesn’t know it!).
I feel confident calling myself a writer now but I don’t think I am an author yet. Maybe I will make myself a badge today that
says AUTHOR so that I can start believe it.
I know one thing for sure: I’m not someone wandering around saying “someday I will write a book”. I’m on a pedestal! I’m actually on pedestal 2 reaching hard for pedestal 3! Planting my feet onto pedestal 3 is going to be a tough one. And, just because I am one of millions out there vying for a spot on that pedestal, I deserve it just as much as anyone.
I really hope that woman I met is writing her novel and having fun. Enjoy the first pedestal my friend, because you are now on
your way to becoming an AUTHOR!
I attended a wonderful conference at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA this past weekend. The Write Angles Conference is a one-day event that features keynote speakers,panels, agent one-on-one meetings, and workshops. I would highly recommend this conference to anyone who is a writer or who wishes they were.
For those of you who may not know, I have written two complete novels and one children’s book. I have one other good start for another novel, as well as an idea in my head for a young adult novel series. I went to the conference mainly to hear what the agents had to say, since I feel that is my next step (if I’m serious about this writing thing). I registered too late to get a one-on-one meeting with an agent but knew there would be a panel discussion where I could hear “how they think.”
What I walked away from was WAY more than I could have imagined. I left the conference, not only with a new friend, but with a
trough full of inspiration. Published authors led the workshops and so I, of course, hung on their every word. I took loads of notes and had some huge AH-HA! moments. My biggest AH-HA! moment deserves its own blog, which I will write soon.
The first workshop I took was The Novel as a Marathon: How to stay the Course. There were three authors on this panel. The
two that I connected with immediately took years to finish their books and had many revisions , and they both raised their children while doing it. I was so happy to hear that I wasn’t the only person to take almost a decade to finish a book. It is coming up on 10
years since I wrote my first book, and I am on revision number….I’m too embarrassed to tell.
The other panelist was a professor at a prestigious college. And well, let’s just say, he reminded me of Mitt Romney:
Clueless and out of touch. Sure, he has many published books but he has no clue what it means to be a writer. He is an academic not a creative. And, yes there is a vast difference. Not only did he contradict everything the other panelists said about their creative process, he put them down about it, which meant he was putting me down. He even sat in on another workshop that I was in and contradicted those authors as well. At one point, I had to talk myself out of standing up and calling him a jerk in front of everyone. Take away: I thank god that I don’t have to listen to him every day in class.
The next workshop was Why YA: Writing for Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction. Again, both the authors provided some great information and I got some great ideas that I can put into play with my young adult novel, which I hope to get writing for NaNoWriMO (National Novel Writing Month)
Maria Luisa Arroyo and Ann Hood were the two keynote speakers and they were beyond inspiring. I would need to do entire essays on these two women and how they have affected me because just a paragraph or two won’t do either of them justice.
It was a great conference and the price (at just $100) is unbeatable. I hope that I can attend next year as a published author!
To my fellow writers, don’t ever let anyone put down your creative process! Even if they are “published” To those who dream of
writing, get writing! Write a journal, write a poem, write anything that will get your creative juices flowing. Don’t think about writing the next best seller, or some sweeping novel that spans years, just write from your heart.Now….go write!
Hi! I'm just a small town girl writing in a lonely world. Please let me know if you stopped by for a visit!