Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Writing Freeway

Just a note on where I am on the writing freeway (I think of it like a freeway; get on, get up to speed, hit traffic, speed up again, come to a complete stop, get off for a while, back on and trying to get back up to speed, wide open and speeding, uh oh, traffic jam ahead...).

I wrote a manuscript in 1986 while I sat at a desk all day being paid to do virtually nothing. I tapped it out on a Selectric II typewriter--which I thought was pretty slick back then--printed it out and sent a proposal and sample chapters via snail mail to some publishing houses. Got a couple form rejections. Got one letter of interest requesting the full manuscript.

Woo hoo!

I send it. A couple months later I get a very nice letter saying my characters aren't developed enough and my story never really gets off the ground.

I am crushed. I am young and do not have the determination to keep trying and definitely don't have the energy to retype the entire 300+ pages. So I put it in a file cabinet and it still sits there today, 26 years later.

Then in 1995 I start a home business and have time to kill. I get the itch to write and start on a YA manuscript (on a pc this time). I finish it, thinking it is pretty good. My workload increases, free time disappears, and the manuscript sits on my hard drive.

I land a job at a regional magazine and become the main feature writer. I start doing freelance articles and get published in national magazines. I forget about writing from the imagination; all my writing comes from facts.

Last year the itch returns. I remember the manuscript. I want to find it, read it and see if I still think it is worth anything. I still have the pc, trouble is, it has gone through three teenagers and guess what? The manuscript has gone missing. I pull out every disc and CD I have stashed in my desk, hoping to find my elusive document. No dice.

Fast forward to June of this year. Work is slow. I am bored with time on my hands, Is that the familiar old itch I'm feeling?

Yes! I go into writing frenzy (wide open and speeding on the freeway) and pound out a manuscript. I am thrilled to find that querying can be done via email these days, as I am an email queen.

Edit, edit, edit, write a query, rewrite a query, write a synopsis, edit some more, rework the query. You know the drill.

Finally on Tuesday, August 27th, I take a brave pill and send out two query letters. I get one quick form rejection. I continue sending the query out the following three days, get one more very nice rejection and that's the extent of it so far. My inbox sits empty.

Every time I open my mail, I hold my breath. If a reply from an agent does happen to be there, I will steel myself to open it. I am confident that one of them will be a request for pages or better yet, a full.

They say to be a writer you must develop very thick skin and a determination that would win wars.

If others can do this, so can I. My gut tells me I have at least one bestseller in me.

Now, where did I put those brave pills?

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