Thursday, 2 December 2010

Being dynamic vs. being...well...not

Every day at work I hope that something amazing will happen to change my life. I obsessively check my email (work, personal, random web-mails that no one knows anyway), check my phone in case I have missed The Call (ever hopeful there will be a call), and check my blog. What am I waiting for? Well – like many of us here – I am waiting to hear that someone likes my novel, my ideas, and my fiction competition entry (go on, I'm nice; the stories are nice - please!) But am I creating enough opportunities for any of this to happen or am I just being passive?

I fear the latter. I always think there is more I can be doing, more I should be doing, to promote myself and my writing. I should be snuffling around every opportunity like a pig with a truffle (or like a girl with a Twirl chocolate bar). I should be hell for leather going for it, instead of sitting here waiting. So let’s see what I am actually doing and if anything can be improved.

1. Novel. Friends are reading it and giving advice on some small changes. I am working on these edits (mainly with dialogue contractions) and am doing more on my synopsis. I am also plotting another book with some of these characters and am reading back through the original to see what I can play with next time around. (So much fun!) This redraft (have lost count how many) should be finished in a few days. It will be then be shiny and ready for a fabulous agent to enjoy.

2. Ideas. I have sent two follow-up emails about something I hoped to work on, and sadly both seem to have fallen into a black hole. I am gutted as it was something I really wanted to happen but there is only so much I can pester without turning into, well, a pest. But it is a busy time of year so I must be patient, continue thinking positive, and come up with some more ideas just in case it goes ahead after all.

3. Competition Entry. People are due to be notified in December and I’m only two days in. Winners are not announced until March anyway so I should not be thinking about this at all. Oh but I wanna! I want it so bad. I want everything so bad!

So now I have listed things I can see that I am doing quite a few things already. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like anything is happening as there are no physical results but, under the surface, everything is ticking on nicely!


Terri Tiffany said...

Like you said, we never know what is happening behind the scenes:) I pray you success and some good news soon!

Old Kitty said...

You are doing all you can and then some!!! I go through the cycle of getting fired up about a short story, an idea, a new feeling of gusto for my edits so I send them all out into the world (competitions, critique partners et) and then I wait. And wait. And go mad waiting - checking emails every second trying to find out more info on the people/institutions/magazines I sent my stuff too - bordering on real stalker stuff! And all the while beset by my insecure demons.

I guess I'm saying that what you are doing and feeling for me sounds so normal and the only human reaction to have and go through!

It's the not knowing is the worst of it all!!!

GOOD LUCK with your submissions and your edits!!!!! I just know that persistence and being focused and working really really hard at your craft will pay huge dividends soon - yes SOON!! You must stay optimistic too!! :-)

Take care

Kittie Howard said...

Your post really hit home. Are you a distant cousin? I mean, wow, do I ever know how you feel! Yep, should be doing something...but what? When I break it down, there's logically nothing more...still, there's that blank space that nags. Frustrating! My hub says I need to cool my jets. But I like flying; don't want to take a cruise!

And I really enjoyed your romantic extension of staying in a room where my great granny may have stayed. I'd already mentioned that he's gotta go down to Bourbon Street and whistle. He asked if he should get a horse and buggy...I said Yes...they DO have horses and buggies in the French Quarter....ohhhhh, what fun!

penandpaints said...

I know what you mean, girl with a Twirl. :)
It's worrying when enquiring about a sub isn't it, that fine line between keen and annoying, but if you get no reply, what else can you do but ask again?
As for checking e mails, well about 100 times a day is perfectly normal I think!
Best wishes for your story editing!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

And the internet makes it all so easy to be compulsive about this. Check something, read something, post something, tweet something, go back to email, check, read, post, tweet, over and over. And in the process of doing all this, you're getting greater visibility, probably learning a thing or two, and feeling somewhat productive outside the actual writing. I think it's kind of a fun routine.

Joanna St. James said...

oh well you are keeping busy, that is the key. The moment I stop self doubt starts to creep in and we cant have that now, can we?

Guinevere said...

I know what you mean. I always feel like I could and should be doing more. But it'll work out. Good luck!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

First, trust yourself. Write the absolutely best story you can before showing it to anyone. If you show it to a bunch of folks, you'll get back a bunch of different opinions and may be at a loss about which direction is right. The only direction that matters is the one YOU feel.

Rosaria Williams said...

If you could only have one cup of coffee, what would you have? It's the same with daily priorities: put the time where you shine the best.

Janet O'Kane said...

In my experience the best happenings creep up on you unexpectedly. The work you send out oh so confidently gets nowhere and the piece you considered a complete no-hoper leads to something wonderful.
You're doing so much already (and holding down a 'proper' job) that I'm sure you are making your own luck, it's just taking a while to appear.
Hang on in there!

Kathryn Dyche said...

Wishing you every success. They say that patience is a virtue but one that I seem to lack. Sitting waiting can be one of the hardest things to do. Good luck.

Alex Cameron said...

Keep on writing! BIC - Butt in Chair... that's all I know. I'm not there yet either but it is the only thing you can do - keep in writing and the law of averages says... sooner or later... Good luck! TGW

Boonie S said...

Keep plugging away. I believe in you. You’re talented.
We have a saying out here, “It’s a sockless introvert who worries about his shoes”. I hope that you can find comfort in it.

Very best wishes, Boonie

Anonymous said...

Waiting and exercising patience is so hard. Fingers crossed for you that marvellous things are going on behind the scenes.

It's amazing that you achieve as much as you do, given your work demands and time spent commuting.

Pearl said...

Seems to me you are doing quite a bit and not passive at all!


Angelina Rain said...

I think waiting is just part of the game. First you have to wait for a response on your novel submission. Then you think the waiting is over once you get that contract offer and a signed contract, but no. Then you have to wait for the editor to decide if they want anything different, any changes, then you have to wait for the cover designers to do their magic, and then once everything is set and done, you still have to wait a couple of more months for the book to come out. Believe me, I check my e-mail a million times a day too. Good luck with the waiting game. :-)

Hart Johnson said...

Hang in there! There are things to be patient with and things to be a crazy, persistent person with and i think there are MANY routes 'in'.

Novel: when you query, THIS you do aggressively--make a list of maybe 50 agents and send them in batches of about 10 at a time (maybe 2 weeks apart), but when somebody has a query, partial or a full, wait until you hit their guideline stated 'should be' time before bugging them again.

Contests: I think they're great if they fit you, but yeah... once submitted... LET GO.

If you do contests, chances are you do short stories? I recommend looking at B. Miller's blog on submitting short stories to literary journals--it is super helpful and though there is rarely money involved, you may find homes for some stories, and can then at least add 'published' to your letters (I can't write shorts, or I'd do it myself)--but she had some GREAT advice on things like 'finding the right journal'

I think you're doing fine. I think this business is just the world's slowest. Keep producing stuff, because if you make it with one, then another, then another--only THEN can it be all you do...

Jayne said...

Hello Terri. Yes, I guess it works both ways doesn’t it – maybe good things are happening behind the scenes and I just don’t know it yet! Thank you for the good thoughts.

Hi Old Kitty. Aw thank you. That describes it very well – wait, wait, and then go mad waiting! I also google obsessively trying to find out as much info as I can on things – but it’s called research, right? Ahem. But this makes me feel better. At least we all do the same things. And oh I wish soon! But I love your support – thank you.

Hello Kittie. Perfect way to put it – the blank space that nags, and oh boy, does it ever! It’s so hard to cool the jets as well, as I don’t feel like my jets are on fire to start with! I don’t want to cruise either – hey, perhaps we are related after all! And I am so pleased he is going to whistle. Absolutely he should get a horse and buggy for the occasion!

Jayne said...

Hi penandpaints. Girl with a twirl made me smile! But yes – keen or annoying, enthusiastic or a nag – it’s a very fine line indeed. And I am so glad to hear checking emails 100 times a day is perfectly normal – phew!

Hello KarenG. That is exactly it – I think all this instant access to information gives a false idea of normal waiting – and then you have writer waiting time, which seems to be completely on a brand new level! But I like your positive take on it – will have to take that on board.

Hi Joanna St. James. I am so glad everyone thinks I am keeping busy. It gives me hope I am not moving at the pace of a lame snail!

Hello Guinevere. Aw thank you. So glad it is not just me thinking like this!

Hi Trish and Rob MacGregor. That is really good advice, thank you.

Hello lakeviewer. I’d love to do that. If I could I’d write at night as I shine better in the dark. My daily priorities at the moment seem to be mostly about my full-time work, fair enough as they pay me, but I wish I could make my writing the priority.

Jayne said...

Hi Janet. I love the thought of an unexpected best happening suddenly arriving on my doorstep! But I know what you mean – chance likes to surprise. I guess the key is to be as productive as you can and somehow coax it in! And thanks for reassuring me I am doing things – it makes me feel so much better.

Hello Dyche Designs. Sitting and waiting can be so hard, especially when you are just at the beginning of things. Thank you for your kind wishes!

Hi The Good Wifehold. Haha – BIC, I hear you. It’s not so much that I struggle with, more like BSLAC (Butt Shaped Like A Chair) I worry about!

Hello Boonie. Aw. That is so nice of you. I love that saying very much – in fact I shall print it out and stick it to my monitor.

Hi Christine. Thank you! Your comment has really cheered me up. I’m always so harsh with myself, but now I am seeing that all is well, and patience really is a virtue!

Hello Pearl. Aw thanks!

Evelyn J. Quinn said...

You and I are so alike in this sense. I always am fretting about more exposure and beating the competition. So much, in fact, that it has stolen the spot light away from my novel and writing other short stories.

There's really nothing more you can do other than send out your work to a heap of magazines, contests, publishers and just wait.

I've found becoming the assistant editor for a publishing company to be very helpful in the experience/exposure department. There's no pay yet, but it looks nice in a query letter and you get to hone your skills at the same time.

Don't fret!


broken biro said...

Well, you have certainly 'cast your bread upon the water'... so who knows what will come of it (hopefully not just soggy bread back on the next tide!) 8-)

wooo - message from the gods of the internet - my word verification her is: 'prosper'. Really.