Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG - March: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb


The Insecure Writers Support Group meets online every first Wednesday of the month. Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG was created to support and encourage writers in every phase of their work, from writing to marketing. Click here to join, and for information, writing tips and more. 

Co-hosts today are Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard! 

Hi! Well, if yesterday was any indication of that old adage for the month of March, "In like a lion, out like a lamb," I have proof! In one of our usual hour-long trips out of town, doing errands, taking care of eye appointments and vehicle needs, etc., we decided to take the truck so we could purchase cement blocks for a small garden wall we are building. All went well: Costco for warehouse purchases, a short stop at Winco for those Asian sauces I love, and Lowes to purchase our cement blocks. 

Image result for free clipart of march windWhile at Lowes we also discovered arborvitae on sale and decided to buy ten. So, with the truck fully loaded, we headed home about eight o'clock last night. Whoosh!! Thirty minutes down the road a wild wind came out of nowhere like a lion that nearly took off with our shrubs and groceries. The tarp we had tied down broke lose and was flapping in the wind like a loose sail. With the roads narrow in spots and limited shoulder, all we could do was slow down, and hope the drivers behind us had enough sense to pass. We didn't want things flying out and landing on their windshields. Thankfully, none did.

We finally found a save spot to pull over to access the damage. The shrubs had rolled to the back of the truck bed, but they were now protecting our purchases. The tarp, however, was shredded where the rope ties had been. Sitting on the roadside, deciding what to do (we contemplated waiting out the storm), we put our sailing knowledge to work. We untied all the short ropes and used sailing knots to tie them together. We also found extra rope in the cab. Crisscrossing these over the bed, Vince managed to tie everything down, enough to get us safely home. It's amazing we lost nothing. Utility lines were whipping around and one we passed was hanging precariously low over the highway. Vince had a well-deserved beer when we got home. Home sweet home felt pretty darn good. 

As to the contest between Vince and me--painting his airplane vs. publishing my novel, we have good news. Vince is hours away from finishing the paint project. I remind you that this is the plane he built in our garage over a period of 12 years. It's so beautiful and I share the almost finished plane below. Bear in mind it was gray aluminum before. I've joked before that it felt like we were flying in a tuna fish can. Now this little plane can hold its propeller high when it flies in. We're thinking of names: Blue Bird, Bird on the Wing, Blue Jay.... Any suggestions?

Vince's RV8. The canopy on top is still being painted (vinyl wrapped).

I'm thrilled to give the final win to my husband, even if it means surpassing my goal. I'm still waiting. I haven't submitted to any publishers yet. Seeking an agent first has always been my goal, but I'm in a quandary, as none have expressed an interest. This has been my goal from the start and I spent hours perfecting the 'perfect' query letter. I finally quit submitting, after a group of agents never replied at all. I reworked my novel some and added a prologue. Actually, it's a scene from the middle of my novel, and one that readers had liked in particular, because my main character experiences a new culture for the first time. I knew I could never start with that scene, because the prior buildup was essential to the story, but as a prologue it works. Nevertheless, the 'redoing process' kind of 'undid' any energy I had had to get this book published. I found myself in a slump and eventually put the ms down....AND the new project. It was that old love/hate feeling returning again, and a huge part of me was struggling to take my writing seriously. 


"Why am I doing this?
It's not as if I'm incapable of succeeding in other areas."

SO, I diverted my creative energy to areas I felt successful in and that made me feel good about myself. I know how to make things grow. I know how to landscape a new property and design the interior of a home. I make blankets for the needy. I'm on an interview board for teens running for Distinguished Young Woman. I do our taxes every year. I've been a food engineering editor in the past. But as an author/writer of fiction, I still crave 'professional' affirmation. I need a reason to take my fiction seriously.  

Then, yesterday, an agent replied after nearly four months. Again, it was a nicely written form reject that encouraged me to keep trying, but her words of respect for me as a writer and my hard work spoke to me the most. Her kinds words were enough to rekindle the flame. REALLY. It made me realize how fragile my feelings about writing really are. I wish I didn't need such affirmation to continue, but I do. A thoughtful reject helped me take my writing seriously again. A small voice inside started singing again. "You CAN do this. You ARE going to do this. You WILL do this." So I'm 'sort of' on track again. But considering it's gardening season and the A-Z is almost here, I have some competition ahead. 

One word I have consistently heard in agent rejects is that the selection process is  "subjective," and I'm trying to bear that in mind. I need to find my audience, the one that was clearly in my head when I wrote this novel. My audience is out there somewhere. So it's back to the submission process. I have a small publisher in mind too. Perhaps there are more. I'm whittling down all the options before I consider self-publishing, a whole different learning curve. I need to be patient and not rush things. Maybe the book will get published by a small quiet publisher, like a lamb, and then roar with success like a lion, OR the other way around. 

Oh, why not? Let's face it. Anything's possible!!   

 

14 comments:

  1. 12 years? Wow, talk about dedication! Vince's plane is a real beauty...

    And sorry to hear you've been struggling so much when it comes to your writing. I can relate far too well to the need for outside validation in order to stay motivated. It's tough to keep going when it feels like no one else will appreciate the effort! Glad you at least heard back from an agent, finally, even if it was ultimately a rejection. Best of luck with all your writing endeavors, no matter where they take you!

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    1. Thanks Heather. We are both in a good spot. Your art is amazing, and although the novel didn't work out for you, you've found another way to tell your stories. Love it. I'll get there too. I just need to be patient :)

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  2. Yay for Vince! The plane looks fabulous.

    As to the rejection, I know how you feel. I was about to throw in the towel after I got rejected by the line for which I had targeted my manuscript. But Mike got mad at my attitude--how could I quit, just like that, after putting so many years into my writing goal? It was nice to hear that he cared. ;)

    Anyway, I knew deep inside that my manuscript did not conform to the style of a Love Inspired Historical. Interestingly, the agent that I did not go with saw that, too. Unfortunately, the agent who I did go with did not see it. She thought it read "just like" a Love Inspired Historical.

    Anyhew, I'm back at it. Due to all the crises in my life at the moment, I was kinda glad for the rejection, ultimately. And I do want to see how long it takes me to write the next manuscript, at a comfortable pace. That's a key piece of information I need to know in order to feel comfortable about the submission/publication process.



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    1. Thanks Cathy! Sorry the agent didn't work out but kudos to Mike for not letting you give up. Your hard work and years of writing are too valuable to turn your back on. I know you will get there eventually. Also, I hear your relief at being able to write at a comfortable pace. Considering all you've had to deal with, it sounds like a good plan :)

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  3. that sounds like a nasty drive home but glad you made it. I love the colour of the plane since blue is my favourite colour. since it was 12 years in the making wig a lot of pros and cons over the years, I would call it the Blue Phoenix. Even though you got a no from the one agent, the agent took the time to write you and with compassion so it gave you hope rather than the other way around. Keep plugging away because you will get noticed and have your book published. I know this will happen.

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    1. Oh, we are both so excited with the results. Thank you. I'm passing on 'Blue Phoenix' as a name possibility. We both remember the phoenix in Harry Potter's story and love the idea. Thanks too for the encouragement! I know it will happen someday. Just need to stay patient and 'keep plugging away'.

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  4. If it's any help to you, I long ago gave up trying to find an agent and sold my books myself. Once I'd been accepted once, that helped get publishers to at least look at my manuscripts. So don't give up yet. Agents are very hard to get, but there are still some publishers willing to consider you without one. Check out their web sites and good luck to you!

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    1. Thank you Sue for the advice! I am considering all options, but for now...holding out for an agent or a small publisher.

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  5. So far March has been very tame around here. We are expecting a storm, but it's quiet at the moment.

    At least the reject was well-written and kind. Some are kind of neither!

    Love the plane. My husband's a pilot, but he only flew the big guys. We do take off once in a while in a rental, but he says he's tired of flying after doing it for so many years.

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    1. Thanks Lee! I forgot your husband is a pilot. We live on a runway and have quite a few pilots and families as neighbors. A great place to fly in, if you're looking for a place to fly :)

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  6. Some agents won't respond...some will come back and respond after a year. It's crazy! I had queries still out when I landed my agent and I sent emails to those who hadn't responded to let them know--you give them a set period of time to respond with a counteroffer, but at the time I had only submitted mine to one agent. I remember having to contact agents who had other mss. of mine and withdraw them, though. That's a good feeling--so keep submitting. I know one sent me a request for a full six months after I'd sent her that withdrawal email. I guess she'd missed my email.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Stephanie. I find the whole process bewildering and such an energy drain. At least you found an agent, and one you like too. That's so encouraging!

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  7. Thanks goodness you made it home safely and the only thing damaged was the tarp. Those are easily replaced. The plane is exquisite! For some reason French occurs to me when I see it, and the name Ciel Bleu. The query process is totally subjective and most agents don't have any true knowledge of what will succeed and what won't. They go with individual likes and tastes and can contradict each other. You're doing the right thing to keep querying, and also making a list of possible small publishers. Keep going -- it only takes one "Yes" and I bet yours is out there! :)

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    1. Thank you! Vince speaks a little French, so he'll love the name suggestion :)
      Oh, golly. The submission process seems never ending. But as you say, I just need to keep going. One 'yes' is all I need!

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