Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Excuses, excuses! Just sit down and write!” Not sure if that’s my own internal beratement or if somebody actually said that aloud but it’s been racquetballing around in my head a lot the last two weeks.
Blogs don’t come easy to me, but usually I have at least a germ of an idea that I can develop into something. Met with Larry yesterday and some germination finally took place. Maybe the disconnect of distance between us has dulled my creative blogging spark.
We’ve been working on our second book, and I use the word “working” very loosely. He’s mostly retired, but has a job, and I’m actively looking for work (preparing for and going to interviews is mentally EXHAUSTING, particularly when you keep getting Dear John letters). We both have other irons in the fire, so sitting at a computer and producing endlessly riotous passages slips to the wayside.
Maybe I haven’t been writing because of an annoying health condition that leaves me exhausted and/or listless after what most people would consider a “normal” amount of activity.  Also, there are the chronic migraines which are a separate health issue, but equally debilitating. So I might have two good weeks a month where I feel mentally sound and physically capable during which I race around catching up on all the chores I wasn’t able to do when my health had me down.
So, are my conditions excuses or reasons not to write?
Even for me, that’s hard to say. Are my headaches really always that bad? This week they have been. I’ve been fighting a string of them since Saturday (four days). Even now I need a pain pill, but keep putting it off because they make me loopy and I fear addiction.
Other days I just flat out forget. That’s right, those catch-up days when I feel well enough to be outside doing yard work I forget to fit writing into my schedule. Then I sit down at the end of the day, tired but feeling good about my physical accomplishments, and it occurs to me, “When was the last time I blogged?”
Reasons or Excuses?
Only I know for me, and only you know for you. Don’t let writing snobs make you feel bad when they say, “If you want to, you’ll figure out a way.” They haven’t jogged a mile in your Keds.
Only you know. Just be honest with yourself. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Who messed with my agent list?

Monday, March 25th, I decided: “This week I’m getting our book off to at least one agent!” Still in my pajamas, I tromped off to the computer full of committed drive and caffeine. Larry and I had already perfected a pitch, and I had a whole week. How hard could that be?
I decided to research agents as much as I could and select several potentials, because Rejection is Publishing’s middle name, right? A couple of days later I’d researched until my eyes ached and my back rebelled. Time for a break. Go outside and enjoy the sun. I had three more days. Plenty of time.
Unfortunately, Life has a way of interfering, and it did. A lot.
So last week I was back to, “This week I’m getting our book off to at least one agent!” I pulled up my list of agents, chose one, went to the website to confirm submission guidelines, and…
…couldn’t for the life of me remember why I’d chosen this guy. I scanned through the rest of my list thinking I’d just written down the wrong name. Turned out, I couldn’t remember why I’d chosen the next guy, either.
Frustrated, I sent an e-mail to a writing friend of mine, and she made me feel a tad better. She said, “Scary, isn't it? How you put all this time and effort and know-how into researching the perfect agent...then you leave it and come back and wonder who tampered with your list, 'cause else, What Were You Thinking?”
The following day, I went back to my list and found somebody I DID remember. So I reread through submission guidelines, and he said to include the target market and why our book is unique.
Our book is very unique, so that ought to be easy. Right?
Not so much when I tried to put it into words. It was easy to pick out ways that it’s similar to Tim Dorsey or similar to Dave Barry—quirky characters who get themselves into unlikely situations and we laugh while they take care of the bad guys.
This morning I decided, “This week I’m getting our book off to at least one agent!” I still have to write how our book is unique, but that’ll be easier having picked one of my beta reader’s brains over the weekend. I have a few more brains to pick for more clues, but by the end of the week I should have enough fodder to finish the letter.
Hopefully it’ll really happen this week. At any rate, once I produce the paragraph I need, I can include it in all pitch letters bettering our chances for acceptance. For me, writing can’t be rushed, which is why journalism never appealed to me. Paul Masson said, “No wine before its time.” Becky Lawson says, “No query before its time.”