Monday, January 9, 2012

Whoa there, Rena. Take it slow.



First I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words on my last post. I don’t think it’s any shock to you all, but I was blown away. Thank you.

I had a moment this weekend, and I bet I’m not the only one to have one of these moments.

I read an agent wish list (You can check it out here, if you’re into that sort of thing). But the very first thing that crossed my mind was: OMG that’s exactly what I’m writing right NOW! OMG! I need to send her a query for my snarky women’s up fic set in SPACE that bends all the rules.

Yeah, then I pulled myself back from the ledge and reminded myself that a) I haven’t finished writing it yet, b)first drafts are the nasty crap you get on the bottom of your shoes when you walk across a lawn shared with Canadian geese, and d) I haven’t finished writing my snarky women’s up fic set in SPACE yet because I’m furiously writing my dissertation and prepping to teach a 250 person lecture class (more on that later, o_o).

I’d like to think that it’s a mark of maturity—or at least professionalism, maturity has eluded me most of my life—that I didn’t fire off some sort of garbled up “I’m writing exactly what you’re looking for, just wait for me PLEASE!” sort of letter… but it was tempting.

I think this need to get it out there just as soon as possible revolves around this feeling that the world is rushing past while I’m sitting at home moving slower than molasses on New Year’s eve in New York. From the writer’s perspective, the world is flying past us, and our ideas are going to expire if we don’t get them out there Right. Now.

This is Relativity.

I know, I’m going science on everyone, but hang in there. See relativity is based on point of view. Every bit of it has everything to do with the reference point of view.

Writing a novel is slow.

Life? Not so slow.

It drives me nuts, but one of the most important parts of a novel is time. It needs time everywhere. It has to breath after I finish writing it. The idea needs time to breath before I even start writing it. Then there’s editing and revising, and more editing. So the point of view for writing a novel is glacial. By comparison, everything is faster. Even publishing.

So even though I’d love to fire off that “You’re asking for the novel I’m writing right now!” I know better. It's not like her tastes are going to change over night (although I can see how she might get tired of snark women's up fic set in SPACE with rules bent more than the front end of a corolla after it takes out an 18 wheeler). They probably aren't going to change any time soon. I just have to write a dynamite book. 

I’m practicing patience (I have to practice ‘cause I’m still learning how to do it for real).

So, ever have that “MUST SEND QUERY NOW!” feeling?

5 comments:

  1. I've never had that feeling, because my novels are never, ever ready. Short stories, novellas (especially if short) no problem. But I've got 2 novels in the drawer, with a third ready to join it soon.

    Well done for not sending the query, you never know what direction your novel might take in a couple of drafts time.

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  2. I am constantly wondering when life will slow down so that I can spend more time doing x (with x often being working on writing, but also occasionally learning to cook well or working out more or organizing my linen closet). I have been at conferences and wanted to tell an agent or publisher, "Someday I will have the exact novel you are looking for and we'll be friends!". Thankfully I have refrained.

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  3. ALL. THE. TIME.

    Like you, I am fine until I read the industry blogs. Then Dream Agent X talks about loving them some *insert book here* and I think, "that's me! that's me". And then I lose my mind thinking about agents and the market and then my first draft falls apart.

    Lather rinse repeat.

    My New Year's Resolution this year is to stop putting so much pressure on myself. It really does feel like if I don't have a book to query in a month I will die. All the agents will die. Publishing will die. But it's just not true.

    The only thing I can do to stop these feelings is to a) complain to a friend about how ridiculous I feel, b) immediately think of something else and distract myself or c) remind myself that the only thing jumping the gun is going to give me is a "no."

    Because yeah, that agent might love fairy tales with a twist, but it's not like I am the only person in the planet writing them. So if I submit before it's ready, it's just going to increase the chance of a "no" and then I have to start from scratch.

    Back to the writing board! Hang in there!

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  4. Annalise, I hope you can whip those novels into shape so you can send them out into the world. It's scary, but "nothing ventured..." etc.

    Megan, you're one up on me. I'm such a chicken I haven't even gone to conferences. Silly me, there was even one on the campus where I work (but it was 150 greenbacks that I just didn't have at the time).

    Elizabeth, I think your statement about jumping the gun is going to be my new mantra. Turns out, all it does is get you a no in many other areas of life as well.

    patience... I must learn patience

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  5. Oh I feel the same way! I don't want the world to pass me by while I'm sitting here at my computer!

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