Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I've Been Keeping Something From You...

My personal writing road has seen it's fair share of hurdles, potholes, and ditches lately. Each time I take a step forward, something pushes me backward. I finally finished that total rewrite of Marked Beauty, went through all my beta reads (which were awesome), and polished a bit more. In between, I took my hiatus this summer from blogging and spent the rest of my time with my four kids and the hubby. I did, however, attend WriteOnCon. My goal was to explore my picture book fetish a bit and hobnob with other PB writers. That in itself was very informative--a great experience. But something else happened. 


I noticed the call for writers to post the first 250 words of their YA novel. That's not what I was there for but I figured What the heck? So I posted. And an agent noticed. She requested everything I had--query, synopsis, and the full manuscript. Needless to say, I was surprised. I visited her agencies website. They seemed fabulous, but my gut told me she wouldn't be for me. Her agency represented mostly spiritual stories aka the cancer suffering teen, etc... MB is about another realm within our own filled with supernatural creatures that are not so heavenly. But she asked, so I was sending.


My gut was right, but that was okay. She loved what I sent (actually read the entire manuscript) and seemed to believe I'd have no trouble finding representation or a publisher. She actually told me that. So I started querying--just two weeks ago. I have a full and a partial out, and one refusal (said it just wasn't her type of story). But I've heard absolutely nothing from the other nine queries I sent. 


Though I thought I'd be all cool about this, I'm not. Waiting has completely stifled my creativity. And with all this, I'm taking an online writing class. Last week, Dianne and Marcy posted my first page in their First Impressions segment. I received awesome suggestions on how to improve the piece. It was a positive experience and I felt really good about where it was going. Then I subbed the first paragraph from that same first page to my writing instructor. Let's just say she didn't have much good to say about it. That did it. I was crushed. Haven't written a thing since.

But then, as always seems to happen in my writing life, another writer came along and said the exact words I needed to hear. Susan Kaye Quinn gave me a new lesson in the lies we writers tell ourselves, how we beat ourselves down when all we should be doing is just keep writing. Dianne, my first connection on Twitter, sent me a private email with amazing encouragement and advice. 

And then I visited my friend Jen Daiker, and read her heartfelt words about her recent querying bout. I think she and I are lofting in the same pothole, except she's decided to drag herself out and start a new blog--if she can't find inspiration out there, why not find it within herself. For even more inspiration, Christina Lee reminded me to whisper my goals and let them take flight on the breeze of nature, always keeping in mind that there's room at the publishing table for me. Of course there's my Oasis Sisters, too. Heart them!

Lastly, Elana Johnson asked What skin I was wearing? Yeah, that rang a bell. I'm the mother of four and wife to one, and wear almost every hat imaginable. At that moment, I remembered my chunky bracelet with a heart dangling off one of the links. I also gave one to my daughter. Years ago, I had both engraved with the same words: To Thine Own Self Be True. Nothing more. Nothing less. I really CAN do anything. It's time for me to be true to myself again.
This is for those writer friends I've mentioned and
for all of you who visit and share yourself with me!!
So writer, if you can't find motivation next to you, surf cyber space. Inspiring advice, perseverance, and endurance is waiting for you...not to mention a cyber ((hug)).


Tuesday was another edition of WS4U! Progress Report. It's a great exercise in both support and accountability. Please take a moment to show support to some of our members, also writing posts today. You never know the similarities you might find to your own writing road to publication and beyond.

41 comments:

  1. I'm in the same boat as you, but for different reasons. It's so hard to keep motivated sometimes, I swear. I started a new YA I really love, but I can't stay focused on it right now. Anyway, you've gotten some great feedback. And sometimes things just take time! Once, I got a request from a query I'd long given up on. Six months!?? I'm not kidding. Good news for you is you're on to something. Here's to hoping that partial turns into another full request! And that the nine outstanding queries you've sent out get a response soon! (Hopefully not six months!!!!) In the interim, I'm sending virtual hugs from France!

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  2. This was so sweet! Thank you for including me with some of the most amazing people! I'm so honored.

    I'm not sure what I'm doing with my two blogs. I suppose you can say I'm making do and hoping in the end it all pays off. This process isn't easy. The fight is long and hard, but something tells me we'll all be rewarded in the end!

    Keep your head high you amazing girl! One day it'll pay off for us all.

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  3. Thanks for the shout out! And I've lost track of the number of times I've been uplifted by writers in the blogosphere. It's simply a blessing I couldn't do without. :)

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  4. Oh Sheri -- you must keep the faith! You are a brilliant writer, but not every book is for every person. Remeber how I loved Firelight and A.E. didn't? It's exactly the same for you -- what one person thinks is gold, another will not like. It's nothing against you, just a reflection of how we're all different.
    I believe in you and know you'll find a home for MB soon!

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  5. Thanks for sharing where you're at in your journey, Sheri. I love your honesty and candor. Hang in there, girl! Ebbs and flows. <3

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  6. SHERI!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *hugs you tight* Are you kidding me? It's rough out there and it sounds like you are getting kind rejection (that MEANS something)!!

    Even as I was signing with my new agent last week, I was getting gut-wrenching rejections in my in-box (one not so nice one)--still making me question myself. Rejections sting no matter what.

    Hold that head up high, girlfriend and keep on keeping on! xoxo

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  7. I am so with your, Sheri! I've been querying, too, and it's discouraging to say the least. The thing that bothers me the most are the black hole queries - responds only if interested, no time frame given on when a response might be expected. I've come to not expect a response at all, and when one comes, even a form rejection, it's almost like a gift - an agent is acknowledging my existence - yahoo, I'm not invisible! I've got several queries out and a couple of ms requests, but I wouldn't really say the waiting is getting in the way of my writing. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm so beat down by the process that I'm already assuming the worst. It's a tough world out there in queryland! But I read your first page in that First Impressions segment and I was HUGELY impressed. You've got what it takes - just keep going!

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  8. Sending things out is so hard. I do like having PB manuscripts and shorter stories that I hope to send to magazines to work on. Plus sometimes if you've worked hard to do a rewrite and query you might need a break. I also like to journal when I'm stuck creatively.

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  9. Thanks for sharing! It's wonderful how many people in the writing community are willing to pick us up and wipe the dust off and help us. Good luck querying!

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  10. It is frustrating, especially since you've been so close before. Your day will come, Sheri. I have no doubt about that.

    And as for the writing instructor, I've had similiar problems. I've even had great feedback from instructors that were nothing but lies. How am I supposed to grow as a writer if you're too lazy to point out my mistakes. Wasn't that why I paid for the course to begin with? Guess not!

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  11. Awww, I love this post! Sounds like you're in a really great spot with your YA novel~ requests already~ fantastic! Waiting is hard, but I loved hearing about all the places you go for motivation. Thanks :)

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  12. What an inspiring post. I'm nowhere near the querying stage yet, but I always appreciate other writer's candor w hen talking about their experiences. Congrats on the requests, you're doing something right!

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  13. Best post ever. You are awesome and the best at inspiration. Thank you!!

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  14. Thanks for sharing this. You have reached out to an awesome network of support and that is great. I'm still waiting on a response for a full and I couldn't write anything new until I was forced to come up with some creative shorts through Rachel Harries Campaigner challenge. And though the stories are not "publishable" they have opened up my juice within snippets of time and that has felt great. Sometimes you find your strength in the most unlikely places. Good luck!

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  15. Thanks for sharing. I love to know what's going on with other writers. You're awesome. <3

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  16. Yeah, the query boat is hard. I'm there with you. Waiting, waiting, hoping that someone likes what I have written. And in the meantime trying to make myself keep writing, even if the stuff I churn out needs a ton of work.

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  17. Sheri, getting full requests is a great sign! I'm crossing everything for you. Keep querying and mention that full request when you query others. (It tends to get you more requests.)

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  18. I know how you feel with wearing the various hats in life. It truly is hard to juggle everything when we're not just writers but moms and wives, too.
    Though I know you are feeling glum, I would definitely walk away with the positive aspects of what people have said of your writing. There will always be someone who doesn't like what we write no matter how famous we become. Simply stay true to your writing and never give up!

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  19. It's so hard to be positive all the time in the writing life, because it's so subjective. Someone tells you nice things - you're ecstatic. Someone slams you - you're depressed. Ultimately, I think it comes down to if YOU'RE happy with what you've done. Is it what you want it to be? Easier said than done.

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  20. I'm so glad you found encouragement and put your tough skin on! That's fantastic that you have another full out. Buckle down though, it could be another few weeks before you hear. But the first agent's response tells me you'll find the right agent soon! *hugs*

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  21. I think it's AMAZING you've had a request for a partical and a full so fast. i know the waiting stinks, and I know it saps creativity (I try to have something ready to edit--doesn't interfere quite as much with that as straight writing). It's great you've got such a wonderful support system.

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  22. You can only be you!
    I could be discouraged that at this point, I have no new ideas, but I'm not going to worry about it.

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  23. Best of luck! Querying is not for the faint of heart. Hope we hear good news soon!

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  24. I think the hardest time for me to write is when I have queries out, because the response time (or no thanks response) makes me start doubting my work. It is so true that writers need to find some source of inner inspiration and strong belief in your writing. Great post!

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  25. The waiting is hard, but it sounds like many are liking what they are reading from you!
    Good luck to you!!

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  26. Amen...and ROCK ON! Attitude is everything and it sounds like yours is well-adjusted. :)

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  27. We all get down from time to time, especially when putting our work out there with the hopes of hearing how much everyone loves it, but hear the opposite instead. That's why our online community is so great--and important! You know you have something special if agents are noticing you from contests and your pages are getting requests. Keep writing. GO WS4U! Christy

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  28. So many of those you mentioned have done the same for me. Where would we be without each other?! Hang in there, Sheri--it WILL happen for you. And we're here to keep you trudging through the much until it does! :-)

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  29. Sheri, Thanks for the shout out. I'm glad I was able to help you feel better, at least a little. You're right. It's a wonderful supportive world out here in writer-blogging-land. I don't know how I managed to write my first book without even knowing this was here.

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  30. Gee, Sheri,

    I had no idea. Look at all the positive. There is so much of it. Don't let the negative bog down your muse. Also remember writing is SUBJECTIVE. Never forget that.

    Congrats on ALL the positive.

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  31. thanks for the shout out :) I know it's hard waiting but really, you've come a long way in a very short time (I won't even tell you how long I've been writing) so chin up and think good thoughts. If you've gotten this far this fast just imagine where you'll be a year or two from now - probably signing books in some posh Barnes and Noble :)

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  32. Hey Sheri,

    Hang in there! It is so typical of you to lift others up while you are in the process of worrying! The road to pub is long and filled with sinkholes of communication. Or maybe those are black holes. Don't let ANYTHING keep you from writing, because the next book will always be better than the last. That's ultimately what saves us. You're such a bright light in the writing community. I'm sure that comes through in your pages, too!

    Hugs,

    Martina

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  33. How refreshing. Thanks for sharing! I'm also fussing while I'm waiting, and I THINK I'm climbing out of the pothole by focusing on my WIP. It's working pretty well, and another writer sent me encouragement on my writing--a big boost. The writerly community is so great and supportive. Rah!

    And best of luck with your partial and full! That's great news and a big step (no matter what the results will be).

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  34. Aww Sheri I really feel for you, thanks for sharing your story. So glad we all have each other and can offer inspiration in the smallest of ways.
    Now get writing...

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  35. Oh sweetie I have been there! And all I can say is that it is OKAY to take a break from writing. When I querried FOSSEGRIM I had so many hopes pinned on that manuscript and suffered so many ups and downs that I couldn't write a thing besides blogposts for six months! But eventually a new idea came. I moved on. Hope was renewed. It will be okay, no matter what direaction your journey takes you are doing everything you should be doing! If you can't write- read, critique, blog, enter contests- keep honing your craft in other ways!

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  36. I'm right there with you! Querying...blegghhh.

    New follower from your Campaign group :)

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  37. Hi Sheri! I think I'm in the same pothole as you. Getting requests with nice comments, but no offers. It's tough out there, and sometimes I get tired of swimming thru the waves... just wanna kick back and enjoy life and my family. I've got big ideas for writers like you and I and some of those above.... there are amazing opportunities for us with the ebook revolution. We don't HAVE to go traditional... and instead of breaking our backs trying to impress agents, why not spend the time trying to impress all the readers out there who aren't nearly as picky??
    Anyway, my point is that we have options today that we didn't have a few years ago. I'm querying til the end of the year... then I may just see what else I can conjur up... and I'll offer more info on that later, if you're interested. :)

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  38. SHERI!!! That's fantastic!!! God, querying sux so bad, but you got some fantastic encouragement--from the agent, and from all our fantastic bloggy friends. Hang in there, girl. It is hard at first, but if you can push through the query-induced OCD, you'll find that writing does help while you wait.

    BEST OF LUCK!!! <3 <3 <3

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  39. You're the BOMB, Sheri. You can write, and write well, I've seen it. Don't listen to people who try to tear you down. They don't know what they're talking about.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Your courage is inspiring.

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  40. You are amazing. If anyone can do it, you can.

    I understand what you are saying. I've come to realize lately that I have to do it for me and my own way.

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