Monday, February 25, 2013

Extended Hiatus

So, the last few weeks ‘baby brain’ has set in. I wanted to keep up with the blog and the writing community. I really did. But the truth is, I can barely manage to string two coherent sentences together that don’t contain the words ‘baby, labor, or birth’. I’ve searched the recesses of my brain, but unfortunately I’ve had nothing witty or relevant to add to the blog about writing, querying, books or publishing. I sent in my big revise & resubmit to the agent in December, and any further motivation to create has seemed to disappear along with my stretched-out belly button.

I knew this would happen. I hoped it wouldn’t- but deep down, I knew it would. I’ve always been useless the last months of my pregnancies. The growing baby sucks the last of my energy while mentally preparing for her arrival takes up any brain power I may have on reserve. Like Gloria said in Modern Family -‘I have two brains in my body, but never felt so dumb’.

And the worst part is, it’s not going to get any better after the birth. Because once the baby comes, so do the hormones. And in my case, breastfeeding and hormones compile to create a ‘drugged and in denial’ effect that allows me to go days without sleep, clothes that don’t smell like spit-up, or adult interaction and actually be happy about it. Now that I’m on my fourth time through this rabbit hole, I fully anticipate and accept the two-month mental, emotional and psychological journey through ‘la la land’ needed for baby and I to adapt.

Which is why I prefer to go an hiatus now, before I forget I have a blog altogether.

But I hate to leave things hanging. So,I was looking through my settings and realized in the last three years, I’ve written 415 posts (Holy Crap!).

Not to mention, a bunch of other posts surrounding those themes (agents, blogging, bloghops, books, reading, etc…) that haven’t been labeled or aren’t labeled under the above. You can scroll down to the ‘Labels’ section of this blog for a full list. For any newbies, I hope you find what you’re looking for here. For all my regular blogging friends and readers, I’ll miss you over the next few months and I will update my writer facebook regularly! (see sidebar)

See you all in the Spring!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Is Anyone Still Querying?

I’ll be honest. I haven’t sent a query letter out in ages. That doesn’t mean I've given up or don’t have material out there with agents. There’s still one full out with an agent who seems to have dropped off the face of the planet, and a big R&R I finished in December with an agent who I’m really looking forward to hearing from.

But that’s it. 

Every book I write, it’s the same vicious cycle: I get an idea I can run with, write like a maniac, finish the book, get excited, spend the necessary time revising and going back and forth with betas before that crucial moment where it’s time to query. I have an insane list of agents who represent the kind of books I write. I’ve done the research. And sure, those first few queries are always filled with blind optimism that ‘this will be the one!’. 

And time and time again, I came close, but no cigar. 

The last year, however, my process has been stunted. Sure, I’ve written 20k here, or 30k there on a couple different projects. But I lost interest in them before I could make it to the next step. Add in some personal drama and an R&R rejection that left me gutted for a few months and you’ve got the crazy mess that is my current creative well.

As you can see from my last blogpost, I’m not going to put pressure on myself to start the process anew. But I can’t help feeling kind of like the kid that stays home to work on the farm while all his friends go off to college. 

Or the middle-aged woman who’s still looking for Mr. Right while all her girlfriends settle down and start popping out pink bundles of joy.

So many of my writer friends have moved on. They’ve either given up, or gone forward. They’ve signed with agents. Or small presses. Or decided to self publish their first books. Their goals have changed. Their priorities and how they spend their time has changed. They've traded in agent-search sites, querying and craft-honing for goodreads ratings, amazon reviews and sales and marketing... 

Which is good. 

It’s what we’re supposed to do, right? We’re supposed to move on and move forward.

And while I’m excited, proud, and envious of all of my writer friends who have advanced in the process, I can’t help feeling like the pool of people still actually querying agents is getting smaller and smaller. 

I know that self-pubbing and small presses have become increasingly popular. But has the general consensus become that querying agents is no longer the next logical step when you want to become a successful published writer? Is anyone still querying? Or am I holding onto a quickly-shrinking iceberg?

I Don't Wanna Write!

As some of you might know, I’m officially on home bed rest due to some risks caused by the minor placental abruption I had a couple weeks ago. In the last week, I’ve discovered there are both good and bad sides of being stuck in bed 90% of the day.

Like discovering your husband is even more awesome than you thought (he really is:). Or realizing you don’t have to worry about what time it is, what’s for dinner, who needs to be where or how they’ll get there. (It took me a few days to figure out that worrying about these things was pointless, since I can’t control how anything’s done from now until the end of February and clucking like a disgruntled hen about how I would do these things only serves to annoy my entourage- which is not in my best interest, really.) 

When I think about it, it’s almost like I’m on a doctor-imposed momcation! I can enjoy my kids and my family, but nobody needs me for anything. It’s both humbling and liberating.

Months ago, while in the throws of reworking my novel, I would have killed for this kind of free time. And yes, one of my first thoughts while settling into invalid life was ‘Well, I guess now I’ll have time for writing and blogging!’

There’s only one problem.

I don’t want to write. I mean, I always want to write. I love writing. But I can’t seem to make myself want it enough right now to actually, well, do it.

I tried, of course. I re-opened the wip I was working on before the agent revisions became my main focus but I couldn’t manage more than a little tweaking of material here and there before I closed it right back up.

It’s not just a question of inspiration or motivation. I think my writer’s block is a reflection of the deep, dark, fundamental thing that makes me write...(cue Creepy’s auto-psychoanalysis) –  which is my irrevocable need/love of escape and adventure. 

And I think this fundamental thing might be different for every person- the driving force that pushes each of us to write in the first place. 

Through the years, I’ve found I write my best material when three situations arise and come to a crossroads:

1- I’m bored out of my mind with life’s monotony. 2- I’m out of things to read (aka distractions). 3- I’m gripped by an idea that pulls me out of my world and into another, thus giving me the exact escape/adventure I’m looking for.

When these three situations meet, I’ll usually find myself sitting months later with a brand new novel in my lap. 

Right now, however, my life isn’t monotonous or boring. It’s been uncharacteristically eventful, frightening, and uncertain- as is my future and the future of our family. Which is why, I think, writer Katie is simply taking a back seat and holding on until she’s needed again (which I pray she will be, and soon:).

What is the fundamental thing that pushes you to write- your writing heart, or center, if you will? Do you think it’s different for everyone? And what situations, have you noticed, have a direct affect on your writing ability/motivation?


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