Monday, December 5, 2011

Agents/Querying/Writing and the Twisted Cycle it is...

I've decided to bring it down a notch today. I knew I wanted to do a post, but I'm not up to my usual snuff. I'm feeling a bit... morose, but not in a "woe is me" type way. Never that. I think once you've been through some pretty big issues like having a small child surviving cancer and other things that put a true perspective on life, you know to be wholly grateful for all that you've been given. (I know you know what I mean--most of us have been there)

But the truth is...

This writing/querying thing is probably the toughest thing I've been through. Emotionally. Ever. Am I crazy for saying that? It's something that (and not to sound cliche) I know I want/need/have to do, but it's also soooooo draining.

I know it's wrong to think that it gets easier if you have an agent. I've got plenty of friends in the business to know that isn't the case. But, I feel like it does say something to have an agent in your corner. It gives you credibility. It gives you confidence to know your work is good enough that someone of significance backs you up--that in and of itself says a lot.

I wish I had that.

Of course I've got amazzzzzing friends and family, but it's different. It's hard on this side of the fence. The fighting. Fighting. It's a constant inward battle to make yourself sit down and write not knowing if your efforts will ever come to fruition. How many times have I said, "I'm done!" ... only to find myself typing away at the keyboard five minutes later? It's a twisted cycle. 

The funny thing is I've never doubted my skills. I only doubt if the universe will line up for me. From what I've read/heard, it takes a bit of luck on your side too.

I do think that when (and I'm saying when not if) I get that agent who says, "yes" I'll take a deep breath. Because that one person does make a difference. At least that's what it looks like from where I'm sitting.

Am I way off? Or am I right? It's hard to know because I'm not there yet. I'd love to know your thoughts.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Oh, and on a side, happy note, if you haven't entered the 12-Days of Christmas giveaway, click here

21 comments:

  1. I think it's hard not to put all your hope into getting an agent. It's easy to think that things will get easier once you have that validation. For me, it's never been about the validation or having other people notice my work - so I find that looking for an agent isn't that emotionally draining (sorry!). I think it will be harder once I have deadlines and other people to make happy besides myself. I have a much easier/"funner" time writing when I only have to make myself happy. I'm almost not sure if I want to give that up ... That's my problem I guess.

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  2. How funny that we're such opposites, Tiana! *laughs* I need to be more like you ;)

    I do better with deadlines and pressure... and truth is it is hard for me to be content writing for myself... How do I put a little Tiana in me? LOL.

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  3. It really is an interesting world that we're trying to break into. So much different than most lines of work. But, then, that's one of the reasons we love it :)

    I've read your stuff. It's awesome. Like you said, it just takes finding the agent that can equal your passion for your work. I know it'll happen!

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  4. Ah, you said everything I'm feeling. I'm stuck in the query slush right now and it's one of the hardest things (emotionally) I've gone through. I've done it before, but it's just like pregnancy...a long time waiting when things seem completely out of your control. Scary.

    I'm here with ya!

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  5. I haven't finished a WiP yet, much less attempted to send out queries, but I can definitely say the thought scares the pants off of me. I started trying to write a query one day and holy buckets was it tough! Of course, I'd just come from QueryShark and observed the way she shredded people's queries to smithereens, so that could explain the terror. Not looking forward to the querying process at all.

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  6. Ryan, Cassie, and Jaime... thanks so much. It really is amazing what great writer friends can do to fill up the tank--truly! Whether we're right there in the slush, already agented, or have yet to take the plunge ;)

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  7. There are SO many factors. SO many.

    It's the right story, at the right time, to the right person with kickass writing.

    SO hard. I'm in the process again now that I DO have an agent of being on sub.
    I'm close again with editors saying - love her writing/characters/blah blah, but we just signed one too similar. Or almost, so close for us, but we have to pass. Or - I really fought to get your book published, but the people who hold the strings said they can't do it.

    And everything in writing is SO up and down. EVEN when you can see the bigger picture, it still rollercoasters for me.

    http://jolenesbeenwriting.blogspot.com/2011/05/this-is-when-i-have-all-power.html

    I never link back to my own blog, BUT this is an exception :D

    You'll get there. Your writing is tight, full of tension, and when you find the right person, you'll be SO glad it happened when/how it did.

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  8. Let me share with you something my daughter has learned while majoring in creative writing at BYU. She has had several published authors come in and talk to them - Ally Condie, Brandon Sanderson to name a few. They all say the same thing. Agents are looking for a unique voice - something that resonates with them. They can help an author change a storyline, clean up grammar, ect. but if the voice isn't interesting there's nothing they can do. I, too, am in that agent search mode. It is frustrating. When they do reply it so often is just with a form. But the one thing they say that is really true - is that it's all subjective. Don't give up. What one agent doesn't particularly like, another may. Most of the time it takes persistence and a little luck. I personally really liked your idea and think it will make a terrific book. If you have the support of your family - then keep going and keep searching for that agent. You're in good company. I'm amazed at how many of us are out there!

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  9. I hear ya. It's all tough. Before I had an agent I went through all the same feeling you did. Now that I have an agent I have a whole different set of emotions. I'm not sure it ever ends for writers. LOL. BUT, we do it because we love it.

    You'll get there. Soon you'll be querying this new project and the stars will align. I KNOW it and like you, I do much better with a schedule and deadline.

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  10. It's funny, because I'm still polishing and cleaning my first novel (which I would love to publish, but I don't think it will) and haven't yet send out any queries. But I have recently become good friends with a gal who self-published her novel.

    When I found out how relatively easy it was for her, just so that her family and friends could have and read her work, it felt like a huge relief to me. Now I know that if agents don't like this one, I'll just self-publish it and move on to another WIP. (I have like five outlined right now, it's crazy...)

    Something I did to help motivate me, was sketch out book cover ideas for my novels. When I'm doubting myself, I look at them, then close my eyes and picture them on display at Barnes and Noble or something. It helps a lot :-)

    Now, go get 'em Red Head.

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  11. Thanks for this honest post, Morgan. I'm currently in the process of finishing my first novel that I think could be sellable (I've finished 3 before this but I didn't bother to query them because I knew they weren't good enough.) Frankly, I'm terrified of reaching the query stage. Right now, with my novel still looking beautiful to me (well, okay, it has a ton of flaws, but I know I can fix them) and all my dreams ahead of me, I'm so scared to have them dashed. For now I can still dream that maybe I'll be that author who receives five full requests on her first batch of queries. And maybe I'll have several agents clamoring to sign me. Right now I can dream that maybe I'll be one of those success stories. When I start querying, I'll find out if that actually will happen. And it's the almost certainty that it won't happen that scares me. I know I'll get an agent eventually. I will MAKE it happen. But I know that, just like you, I'll be such a wreck during the process.

    Best of luck, Morgan. I believe you can do it. Cheers!

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  12. There is something so empowering about having someone in the profession (an agent or editor) like your work enough to represent you. I used to feel like writing was just a hobby and I couldn't actually refer to myself as a writer until I was validated by someone in the publishing industry. It's silly, I know. Of course we're writers long before we're agented! But it's hard not to doubt yourself and wonder if you think you're better than you really are (like one of those terrible singers on American Idol who thinks they're so good!!! *cringe*).
    But getting an agent is SO STINKIN' HARD. And even people who are published with reputable companies have a difficult time getting new agents. Rejections abound.
    Well, I'll assure you of this, Miss Morgan. You ARE a writer, with or without an agent, and you should NEVER stop while there's a story on your heart. Only you can tell it. So write. One day the exact right project of yours will fall into the exact right hands at the exact right time, with or without "help" or "luck." ;) I promise.
    Here's wishing you patience in the meantime...

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  13. "Hope is the bridge to success. We must take the steps necessary to cross it. No matter what sort of beasts we see lurking in the waters. Or what enemy may be waiting on the other side. Cross and claim your victory. Let nothing stop you. Let nothing stop you. Crash through those mountains in the way. Overcome the giants in your path."

    This quote is on my blog. Sometimes a fresh piece of writing is good to hear. And sometimes, a reminder is greater. Let that serve as a reminder.

    From what I know, you've already come so far on this Writer's Journey. You've conquered giants. But, Morgan, there are bigger others to bring down. For sure.

    Keep going.

    There are writers who are before, in and passed the query stage, publishing stage and of course, published stage.

    I was there, right where you are, not too long ago. It's still fresh on my mind. So I can tell you in all sincerity you belong here, where you are, and you deserve to be where you're going.

    This is the route you've chosen and my Friend, this is the road you need to keep driving on. Sometimes, on this road, you will encounter, speed bumps, flat tires and straight up run out of gas. But fill that tank, ;} and drive on.

    I am blessed to have an agent, I will never not still be amazed by it...but now I'm in the waiting patiently stage in submissions.

    IT will happen for you.
    It WILL happen for you.
    It will HAPPEN for you.
    It will happen FOR you.
    It will happen for YOU.

    #KillerOfGiants are you.

    Word.

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  14. You know how I feel about this, so just remember everything I told you. You'll find what are you looking for. I have no doubt in my mind. I'm not buying a Kindle until I can get your book(s) on it, damnit! ;)

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  15. Wandered over here from Twitter, and I just have to say, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I'm currently querying my fourth manuscript (well, it's the fourth manuscript I've queried, not the fourth manuscript I've written), and it's so, so tough.

    I genuinely thought Manuscript #3 would be the One, especially after the initial response was all so positive. But as the months went by and no offer materialized, my excitement slowly waned.

    Now that I've queried Manuscript #4 for a few weeks and haven't gotten that magical "Oh, I'm so in love with this!" e-mail, all I can think is that the same thing's going to happen with this one. I know it's still really early, but I can't help but wonder if there's some mysterious X factor that my manuscripts are missing. And I have no idea how I'm going to figure out what that is.

    Thanks for sharing this, Morgan. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

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  16. Lol- me neither, mindful wanderer!

    Go Morg! The future success of kindle sales (well, these two!) depends on you! ;)

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  17. Okay are you a mind reader or what? Lol this is exactly what I'm going through right now! And I can't believe how many others are going through it too!! It's such a tough thing, and it's so frustrating that it all apparently seems to be based on agents' personal taste and what they think will sell. But you got incredible responses from your first time ever querying!!! Waaaay better than my first time!!! You are doing swimmingly, and I am so glad you are keeping at it because you have talent, girl! I sat next to Eric Elfman, a freelance editor who also looked at my opening pages of the project you have now, and he said something that has just stuck with me. "Keep writing and you will get published." So simple and yet not at the same time!!! But he said too many people give up too easily, and we are not those people, my friend!!! You are so amazing, Morgan! Stick with it!!! (I had a total sob session with my husband over the weekend about this very topic, btw)!!!

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  18. It's definitely a matter of when and not if for you Morgan. You have story and voice - and now the YA readers of the world need you to have some ... luck!
    May 2012 be your year :)

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  19. Morgan - We've talked about this A LOT and it is AWFUL! Pure Hell somtimes! I think with writing or any creative field (ie: art, music, even culinay art, etc...) there's an element of wanting to give up. It is difficult to continue going on without that reassurance. I have felt you pain so many times.

    But!!!!

    It makes us better to say we've put ourselves out there so far on the limb that we almost fall off but keep clinging on for dear life. I shows that we have faith in our skills. It's just that holding on that makes it terrible. Muscles start to cramp, sweat pearls on your forehead, and looking down is terrifying.

    Just keep going, deary! You are VERY talented.

    Mwah!

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  20. Too many thanks to give to all of you! I feel like I'm back on track, right where I need to be, with the right perspective. All of your words and inspiration definitely helped put me back in my place. I'm excited to move forward and "conquer this giant" and Tymothy put it. I'm so lucky to know all of you! :D

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