Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What a Difference Two Years (and 400,000 words) Makes...


I was just reading a journal entry from October, 2006. I'm a very haphazard journaler and I almost never read over old entries, but this notebook fell open by accident as I was reorganizing some shelves.

It took me a minute to remember that was the year I became a truly serious writer. I'd dabbled forever, and one day - inexplicably - I'd decided it was now or never. I joined Beth Patillo's Club One Hundred (you can learn more about this great motivator here) and then re-upped.

By October, I was close enough to the end of the book to be thinking about submitting it - and writing the sequel. Here's what I wrote:

"I need to make a final push to get this thing done. I don't think I can really start on book two until I do. And I need to act fearless with the agent search - definitely a case of Fake It Until You Make It - I have no idea how bad the self-doubts and rejections are going to be - safe to guess they'll be fairly bad though.

I know I'll be tempted to cause my own obstacles, procrastinate, head in the sand etc. - but I really need to work against that by making the whole process as methodical as possible.

Now it's just a matter of remembering and sticking to that."

Well, well. As it turns out, the self-doubts were near-debilitating, the rejections were daunting, but I stuck to it and methodically sent out about fifty queries. And fifty on the sequel. Eighty on the book that followed that. And then finally I wrote A BAD DAY FOR SORRY....and I'm really glad I didn't give up.

3 comments:

Chris said...

She lives! She breathes! And she returns with a post that should be required reading for any would-be novelist. This post is the perfect litmus-test; if you read it and are discouraged, maybe this writing gig ain't for you. If, like me, you think "Sounds about right -- sign me up!", then you might just be a writer.

For the record, I'm really glad you didn't give up, too, and I'm psyched to read SORRY!

Steve Ulfelder said...

400,000! You beat even John D. MacDonald, who wrote 240,000 words' worth of Travis McGee before publishing the first McGee book.

It was great to meet you at Crimebake. Sounds like our agents are each other's biggest fans.

Aspiring Writer said...

Congratulations!! Your book sounds great.
Any advice about the querying process?