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Monday, November 22 2010

Now what did I have to go and flap my gums for? Last week, I whined about how I hadn't heard from my agent, how she'd apparently forgotten all about me as I wore out my Check Inbox button, how my life was one big waiting period after another. And then I clicked on my inbox one afternoon and there was her long-awaited review of my manuscript (okay, really, she didn't take that long, but in my little world, it felt like an entire year).

Poof! Now all my free time has vanished. I'm already missing those leisurely days of taking the kids for walks and not feeling like every minute has to be justified. (I'm just never happy, am I?) Now those cookie-making, book-reading days are gone in an instant, replaced by the pressure of revisions. And that age-old adage, "Be careful what you wish for," keeps floating through my head.

Because now I'm once more too busy. At first read-through, in fact, I decided her recommended changes weren't even possible. Add more depth to the detective? Create more sexual tension between her and her love interest? Everything seemed too hard.

Then I ate dinner to level out my blood sugar and reread the comments by myself, without my five year old standing by my elbow and yacking in my ear the whole time. And I realized that while the changes might take some time, they were perfectly doable. I just need a game plan. Finding the time to write will be a bit tricky with the holidays here and my oldest out of school all this week and two more weeks in December, but I'll muddle through once I establish a timeline.

And escape the zone of laziness. Amazing how a few weeks of barely writing can destroy that sense of urgency, that hunger to jot down my thoughts. So I'm taking baby steps. Today, I'll dig out my hardcopy of the book so I can use it for reference when planning my changes, then I'll briefly work on some character development. Notice how I said, "briefly?" I'm setting the bar at ankle height so that even minimal effort on my part will result in exceeding those expectations. Each day, I'll add more to my to-do list until I'm once more productive and I can finish all the changes. Then I'll send the revised version to my agent and get back to those important things in life. Like watching Cash Cab.

Posted by: Staci McLaughlin AT 02:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 16 2010

Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. So describes life in the publishing industry. First, you finish a book and send out query letters to a handful of agents, then wait for those responses. After the first batch of rejections, you send off another group and wait, all the while running to the mailbox and checking your inbox a hundred times a day.

Then, oh joy, you get an agent. Finally, the waiting is over! But, alas, not so fast with popping that champagne cork. Now the agent sends the manuscript off to a group of publishers. And you wait for all those responses. And wait some more. 

In my case, all I got was a bunch of "thanks but no thanks" answers after waiting for weeks. I'm surprised my mouse still works, considering how often I clicked on the "Check Mail" icon during that period.

Now, I've finished my latest manuscript and sent it off to my agent for review. She promptly responded that she'd read it as soon as possible and send comments. In the meantime I would write that dreaded synopsis.

And I did. After I spent the first two days checking my inbox, of course. Just in case my agent stayed up all night reviewing my book. Turns out I haven't gotten any more patient about all that waiting.

After the second day with no response, I finally admitted I needed to focus on my synopsis. But now it's done, along with the summaries of the other two books. And I still haven't heard from my agent, three weeks and two days later (but who's counting?). I'm well aware that my agent hasn't contacted me because every time I talk to my mom, she invariably asks if I've heard anything from her. Nope, I say. Well, why not, she wants to know. Doesn't my agent like me anymore? Of course my agent likes me. She's probably just focusing on her published clients, the ones who make her money. At least that's what I'd be doing. Send those unpublished clients to the back of the line.

And so I sit here waiting, throwing myself the occasional pity party at how I've been abandoned by the world, then lecturing myself on being so impatient. And ridiculous. Surely she'll respond one of these days. Perhaps her email is waiting in my inbox as I type this. It's been at least three minutes since the last time I looked. I'd better go check. Then I can break out the confetti for another pity party.

Posted by: Staci McLaughlin AT 03:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email