Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Wanna Be Published Author

6:30 am

Stumble out of bed, head to kitchen, make coffee. While waiting for coffee t o brew check email inbox in misguided hope of finding email that states “We want to see your manuscript.” Hopes temporarily shattered when only mail received is “Oddly Enough News from Reuters.”
Read about weird things happening in world, drink coffee, play solitaire, allow a million and one thoughts about ways to get manuscript noticed stream through mind. Notice feeling of exhaustion after thinking too many thoughts. Drink more coffee, play more solitaire, go to bathroom.

7:30 am

Wake up child, make lunch for child, feed child breakfast and transport him to the zoo they call school. On departure from school parking lot look in rear view mirror and notice raccoon eyes- waterproof mascara from yesterday has smudged during the night. Put on sunglasses for drive home even though day is cloudy and rainy. Get home, check inbox, acknowledge to self that behaviour is starting to get slightly obsessive. Brush teeth and wipe mascara away from eyes. Check inbox. Play solitaire.
8:30 am
Scan “2010 Guide to Literary Agents”. Flip to middle of book looking for agents to submit too because maybe everybody else starts at the beginning? Cross off bunch of agents that only accept nonfiction and children’s literature. Briefly wonder why decided to write a novel when everyone wants real life…what’s with that? Wonder if only forms of escape people do anymore is drinking, drugging, gambling and internet. Play solitaire. Add gaming to list of escapes people use. Check inbox. Vow to self to not check inbox for at least another 15 minutes. Phone friend. Whine, commiserate and seek out compliments to keep self-esteem above the -5 mark. Drink more coffee. Pop some vitamins for breakfast. Get bout of indigestion. Drink some Pepto for dessert. Eat real breakfast. Try to get real breakfast flakes out from between computer keys.

10:00 am

Find agent in book that seems to be a match for submission of work. Read over their website. Re-do query letter for 25th time because it can only keep getting better…or more neurotic, but whatever. Take last look at their website. See line that didn’t see before. “Sorry but we are not taking submissions at this time.” Curse heavily and stomp off to bathroom. Come back and check inbox. Curse heavily and go do load of laundry, vacuum house and clean out Tupperware cupboard.

11:30 am

Find another possible agent after ten more cross outs. Read all of website…every single word, twice. Re do query letter for 26th time. Press send. Press send/receive button 15 seconds later. Realize behaviour is out of control. Get dog’s leash and prepare to take dog for walk. Look in mirror on way out the door. Realize very scary looking. Realize don’t care. Leave house. Thirty seconds later go back to get howling dog who’d been forgotten.
1:00 pm
Shower and get ready for paying job. Go to paying job. Think that paying job is a lot easier than non-paying job of trying to be a published author. Wonder if have turned into masochist.

4:00 pm

Child playing after school with friends. Head back home after clients. What else? Check inbox. No rejections, no acceptances. Check blog. No new comments. Play solitaire. Find another agent to submit to. Do the drill. Hope for miracle. Press send. Feel exhausted. Feel hopeful. Feel exhausted again.

5:30 pm

Get child, get dinner ready, etc, etc. Talk to child, talk to husband, talk to self in brain. Get child to do homework, everyone settled in. Check inbox. Realize is like gambling. Am waiting and hoping for the jackpot. Wonder if chances of getting agent are more or less than those of winning jackpot. Realize might be better not to know.

7:30 pm

While child watching TV decide better work on blog. Work on blog even though have minimal people reading it at this point. Realize it’s kind of like manuscript. Is all for the love of writing. Ha ha ha ha ha. But must love it, cause just keep persevering. Check inbox.

8:30 pm

Hang out with family. Thinking about inbox but know that is no point to check it. Leave family and check it anyway. Not sure what will happen if ever there is good news in there. Go back to hanging with family. Always thinking of book though. What did I used to do when this wasn’t in my life?
Oh right…I spent my time thinking about writing a book.

10:30 pm

Time to get ready for bed. Goodnight inbox. See you in the morning.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ping Pong

It’s Sunday, the end of the weekend. Weekends are nice. Agents don’t send out rejections on weekends. Altogether that makes life a little more pleasant. Rejections aside, lately I’ve noticed I’m much more prone to violent mood swings. On top of the world one moment and in the deepest depths of gloom the next. My life as a human yo-yo is tiring. Who knew that working toward one’s life dream would be such a mood de-stabilizer? My brain is in constant conversation with itself. “What you’ve written isn’t good enough.” “What you’ve written is fantastic.” “Great query letter, they’ll ask for more for sure.” “That query letter sucked!” ping…pong…up…down…and so it goes. The optimist in me is trying to hang on, but reading about the world of publishing is a little like having someone lift your fingers one by one as you hang on to a tree branch…your grip gets a bit tenuous to say the least.

My dad finished the manuscript last week. That in itself should say something about the manuscript. The book is written for a target audience of women, and my dad, who is 70ish, finished it…and really enjoyed it. He even started re-reading my Master’s thesis after finishing my manuscript. I guess he just couldn’t get enough of my writing. He still seems to be pondering where I learned to write so well. Um, Dad, it was during the seven years of university education, which I am still oh so happily paying off. Having actually written all my papers along the way to graduation, it appears I picked up a few skills along the way. And of course I have your brains. Need I say more? Feel free to make some sort of smart retort if you read this, Pop. The comments are few and far between at the moment. I’m still working at having an existence on the web.

Another reader has finished the manuscript. She’s a colleague and friend of mine…and yes, I would love to find someone who isn’t a friend to read the thing, but in case you haven’t noticed, if you ask most strangers to do something, they usually want money, or to tell you where to go. So… back to the friend and colleague...her name is Dianne G. She’s a Master’s level Counsellor, and these are her comments-edited to prevent giving away important parts of the plot.

Okay, I have to tell you right off that I loved it, Lisa. I genuinely mean that. I honestly sat with an overwhelming feeling of something almost spiritual after I finished it....it was like I could almost feel …{ ***}(as crazy as that sounds)… It was beautiful.

I think this book should be on the "Required Reading List" for new therapists. I learned a lot just in the session with the "good shrink" (an oxymoron?) alone. I laughed out loud when you wrote about how shrinks should be called {***}...hilarious. I loved the {}thing. Powerful stuff reading about how …{***}.

The book has a good flow to it, you segue so beautifully. We see Danny metamorphose from…{***}. And throughout the entire process of that character development you make the reader fall more and more in love with Danny with your use of humour. The {***}…was powerful for me. I'll remember that metaphor for the rest of my life.

I'm finding it hard to explain the feelings I was left with after finishing the book....a sense of possibility, hope....that it's okay to let go of certain people and situations in our lives if they are no longer working for us. To find humour in even the darkest times...that if we just open our eyes to it we'll see that there is no such thing as coincidence, that everything happens for a reason.

Thank you for writing this, Lisa. I'm proud of you beyond words.

Now let's get the {bleep} published. Dianne.

Any readers whose comments I publish are willing to give their names and numbers to interested publishers/agents to verify their comments.

Thanks Dianne, I believe in the book too. For good reason. Gotta go, I creatively challenged myself today in other ways and made some bread, and holy cow, it looks like it’s actually rising! Lisa