Monday, January 28, 2008

Three for Three!

Update on my query status:

Friday afternoon I sent out three queries. By Friday night I had two requests for partials. Today I received a request from the third agent. Three for three!

I am beyond thrilled. Still very nervous. I suppose that doesn't get any better until you see the book on the bookshelf. When I set out to write, it was just to write. Then it seemed like such a waste of time to do all that work and let it sit around in a drawer (my husband says I am leaving a legacy for our kids, whether or not it is published), so I started looking into publishing. Who would have thought it was such a long road??? Still, after months of researching the process, I am floored by all the obstacles. Friends keep asking, "So when is it going to be published?" As if just finishing the book makes the rest follow by default.

I always thought of myself as an optimist, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to fall. I am waiting for the inevitable rejections, and having some interest almost makes that harder. How twisted is that?

I sent a few more queries off today, but I think I'll wait a while to do anymore, and see what the agents that have the partials think of my writing.

I am taking a break for a few days to get my house in order (I have been extremely neglectful as the end of the writing drew closer). Then I am starting a new book. This one will be very different, hopefully very fun. A new journey.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Time To Toast!

Everything is moving so fast I hardly know what I am toasting anymore. Late, late Thursday night I finished my first novel. Well, as finished as a writing can be, which is to say, I stopped rewriting and said, "That's it. I'm done." Because honestly I could keep rewriting for the next 50 years, but at some point I am just replacing one set of words with another that may or may not be any better. For better or worse, I am done.

Friday, I began putting together the query letters I have been working on in between writing the novel, and sent out my first three. Time to celebrate. I put champagne on ice, called all the people who have been rooting for me to tell them. And then, before I could drink it, two of those agents wrote back asking for partials.

I want to celebrate, but suddenly the fear sets in. So I can write a query. Yay for me. But a query only gets my feet in the door. The question still hangs in the air, can I write? Sometimes I read it and I think, this isn't half-bad. I've read much worse. And other times I think, this seems so tired and old.

I am throwing it out there. I will wait and see what happens. I have a few other agents I want to send it to, but at the end of that, if nothing comes, I don't know if I'll look for more, or just move on to something else. At the beginning of this journey my object was to write a book. I'd always said I would, I could, but I hadn't. I didn't want to be on my death-bed and wonder, could I have? So I did.

The rest: the queries and all that come after that: they are all just icing on the cake.

So for tonight, until the rejections begin flooding in, I am celebrating. I'm just not buying those stilettos yet.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Another Reason to Love Being a Writer

Yesterday it snowed. A lot. All day. And so my youngest daughter and I dumped our usual routine for the afternoon and went out to play in it. We threw snowballs. We made snow angels. And we built this awesome snowman.

When I was a teacher, I did the inside-out-jammie dance for snow days, but many times I spent my school day wistfully looking out the classroom window, like my older children did yesterday, wondering how in the world the superintendent could keep us in school on a day like that.

When I worked as a corporate trainer, there wasn't any such thing as a snow day, so no use even wishing (though I still did the inside-out-jammie dance in hopes that it would snow, just because I love snow).

But now that I write, I get to take snow days when they come, and take the time to do my other most favorite thing besides writing, which is spend time with my kids. I am so, so blessed!

The more I read other authors blog and give advice, the more I see them write, "Write because you enjoy it." Are there really people out there who don't enjoy writing who are trying to make a go of it anyway? I mean, this isn't like trudging off to an office to get the paycheck even though you hate the job. Why in the world would someone write if they didn't absolutely love doing it? It can't be for the paycheck.

I love to write. It is my passion. It is the things I love most in the world (besides making snowmen with my family!). The vast majority of the time, I wish I were in front of the computer writing. When I am not, I am writing the next chapter in my head. It makes for an interesting grocery shopping trip, when I come home with food I didn't really need and completely forget the milk and eggs, and my husband looks in the fridge and says, "Well, I hope this next chapter is REALLY good, because it appears you were very distracted in the store."

It is hard for me to spend hours writing, invest my mind and heart into people that don't even exist, and then come out of that intensity into the real world. There is a sort of adjustment time, when I can't hold a decent conversation or focus on a task well, until I transition back into life.

I love being a writer. I love being a mom. I love that I get to do both fully. I couldn't wish for more in life than this.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy Friday/New Years!

It's Friday again, and a new year. An end and a beginning all wrapped up together.

I love Fridays. This is no secret. But if today is any indication of how Fridays in 2008 are going to be, I may have to change that.

I've started mall walking. It is not a New Years resolution, but after I tore the tissue in my foot playing tennis (okay, it was Wii tennis, I admit it!), I've been a bit out of the exercise routine for a few months. Walking seemed as good a place to start as anywhere, except today it is 17 degrees and there is no way I'm walking outside in that! So our local mall offers walking hours every morning before the stores open, and I can easily fit in four miles between dropping my oldest off at school and getting my youngest ready for preschool.

First, I had to get past the very suburban feel of actually exercising in a mall. I mean, all this piped in music and recirculated air and endless rows of window displays seemed very not me. And then I realized, while I was exercising, I could window shop for my power suit and stilettos for that infamous meeting with my agent someday! I've got my eye on a few, and when I drop another two or three pounds, and finish my rewrite, I might actually try them on. When I'm not sweaty. Just to solidify my dream.

The best thing was that when I bent to get the newspapers off the driveway, my body didn't creak!

So the walking was fine, I suppose. A decent way to start the day, even if not ideal, but now I have my three hours of writing time stretching out in front of me and I realized that all this walking (and my cold medicine to boot) have me falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, which means that I am suddenly finding myself at the computer without a clue as to where to go after chapter six! Usually I toss and turn a good hour, playing different scenarios in my head until WaLa! The perfect next section materializes and I have the perfect wording and enough material to keep me busy the next day, and possible two or three. But the past few nights, I've slept, and now I am staring at a blank page with six chapters before it and twenty chapters after it, and wondering, "Okay, now how do I get from here to there??"

The end of this project is so close I can almost taste it. But in two and a half hours the kids come home, my Entertainment Weekly arrives in the mailbox, wine awaits, and possible a good movie on the DVR. So now, I've got my stilettos picked out, and no book to submit. Somewhere along the way, this year has gotten my priorities already turned around.