Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Writers Voice, the other side


Right, so I haven’t been sleeping. It’s not the stress, or the dissertation, or the revisions, or the new WIP, or anything like that. There just aren’t enough hours in a given week to do all the things that I want and visit with my mom. So I stopped sleeping there for a while.

Yeah, this is not the recipe for success, in case you were wondering.

I spent yesterday bumping around the house like some post apocalyptic zombie. “EEEEhh, work? OHHHH, *shiny*! Wait, what was I doing?” (this may or may not be an actual conversation I had with the wall).

I had a fantastic time at The Writers Voice, and I even got a vote (SQUEEEEEE!). Whenever I enter contests, I always remind myself that there is a very real possibility that I not only won’t win/get picked/whatever—and not in the privacy of my own inbox, but in the bright lights of prime time twitter.

See when I first started in on the query and contest phase of it all, I had this little voice. Maybe you’ve heard it. When I first started, that little voice would say “OMG, my stuff is so incredible that when I enter this contest, it’s going to knock the socks off every agent on the planet. I’ll have to beat them off with a stick!” ::Checks to make sure stick is readily available::

We’ve all been there, I assure you.

But when the use of the stick isn’t necessary, well, that hurts. And let me just say, my stick has been sitting in the corner collecting dust. I’ve never been the beauty queen of a query contest. And that stupid voice turns on me as soon as the contest is over. “Well, your stuff wasn’t any good anyway, why’d you think it was? Because your mom liked it? Oh yeah, that’ll look good, a blurb from your mother in the query, good job. What made you think you could even write? Maybe they know my committee? Oh god, does everyone know how much I suck at this? Great Copernicus, does everyone know how much of an idiot I am?”

Yeah, I think I’ve talked about the stupid voice before.

So my project hasn’t seen prime time yet, but I’ve gotten some good feedback on it. That means for the first time ever, I entered a contest with my eyes open. I knew it wasn’t likely that I’d get picked. And I got picked as an alternate, squeaking into the contest in the very last seconds (Yeah, more on the squeaking in thing for IWSG). I’d already resigned myself to not getting picked, so already, the contest was way more than I’d expected. Also, to be near the top 20 % was just awesome. It gave me some validation (why am I always looking for that on the outside? Someday I’ll purge the dumb from my head). Since I didn’t think I’d get picked, I’d already picked the agents I would start querying. Still, having been picked, I knew something about the market, so I didn’t have my hopes set that high. There are plenty of people who don’t get me, and plenty of people who’ve told me that having a troll for a best friend is a HUGE turnoff. So I already knew my chances were slim. Slim like the width of an obsidian surgical tool.

Which is to say, getting a vote rocked my socks off. I did the happy dance and I didn’t fall asleep for hours because I seriously didn’t think I’d get a vote.

The other side of this is that I’m sure someone from the contest got only one vote and today feels embarrassed by it. If you’re that person, I just want you to know that your feelings are completely valid. It’s all about perspective. I once got an A- in a class that made me rage at the prof. I once got a C+ and sang my professors praises for weeks (I seriously grinned every time I thought about how I passed that class, cause seriously, it was really freakin hard). The difference is all perspective.

And for those of you who got no votes, I have no words that will ease your pain. All I can say is I’ve been there. It hurts. I’ve been passed by. The only thing I can think to tell you is that what we seek isn’t what we think we seek. You’re not looking to have your manuscript loved by every agent who comes by. You’re looking to connect on a profound level with one agent who will shepherd your manuscript from where it is now to the greatness it could be; someone who not only loves this book, but loves your writing so much that they want to see more of it, even the stuff they don’t usually look at. You are looking for that one agent. That one person who gets your work, who will be able to spot things you’d never dreamed of (and no, I’m not talking about a crit partner, those are different). You are looking for the person who is a perfect match for you. That person wasn’t at the contest. That doesn’t mean this book isn’t The One, or that your perfect agent isn’t out there, it just means that those agents aren’t one of them. And that’s hard. Chin up and carry on. Have a song. It’s currently one of my favorites. (not to mention, what an awesome band name!)




13 comments:

  1. It's all about your expectations, eh? Kudos on the vote, and way to be brave an put yourself out there! I LOVE the song btw. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, they're some of my favorites right now. You might also like On Top of the World. Good song.

      Delete
  2. That is SOOO awesome that you got a vote. YAY!!! Crossing my fingers for you. I love your new blog look. It's SOO you.

    And I love the band name too. My current WIP has dragons and I thought about stealing it, but my hubby likes my other name better.

    And I'm with you on the sleep thing. I've finally gotten to where I'm going to be before 1AM again. So not liking the Zombie thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, and yeah, the zombie thing. I think I just took leave of my senses there for a while. I'm back on track though.

      Delete
  3. This...was a really really great post. I particulary liked your comment about perspective, because sometimes i forget that. And i get bummed about something, and then get even more bummed because i know people who struggle to get even a single request and i'm feeling down about something that is a problem they would love to have.
    AND, i really loved the "we're not looking for every agent to love our work" line as well. I think we know this, deep down, but it's easy to forget when we follow so many cool agents on twitter or see friends or peeps we know getting multiple offers.
    It just takes one. I hope we both get there

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, we'll get there. If it doesn't happen with this manuscript, maybe the next. Or the next. Or maybe the next, 'cause I'm not going to stop writing them any time soon.

      Delete
  4. good for you! and just making it to that round was an accomplishment! rah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was very pleased to just get to participate. I know that sounds like what all the beauty pageant contestants say, but I really mean it. It was really fantastic. And I do feel for both the people who didn't make the second round and the people who didn't get votes. That's hard. And both rounds were just as subjective as the other.

      Delete
  5. Congrats on the vote!!! Yippie!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I was pretty happy when I saw it. (I may or may not have done the silly happy dance)

      Delete
  6. congrats!! yay!!! woo woo woo woo. Also, I love the song you posted.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yay vote! lol.
    I think the biggest pain I've suffered this year with my writing is coming to terms with the fact that I have to rewrite my novel. I am loving the new revisions, but I cried so hard! Very happy I did it, however. Hopefully I can get more votes now that I have!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yay for the vote! (Not totally sure what that means, I lost track of this contest.) But I'm glad it made you happy! I wish you good luck from there! :)

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! Let me know what's on your mind.