Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back to the Drawing, Writing Desk

Well, I'm at the end of the submissions rope with the last agent. Shortly before Christmas, I got a rejection from the #1 agent choice I had out of New York...or at least an agent I thought would be #1 for me. So it's back to square one with that submission. After something like twelve queries, 4 quick rejects, three or four requests for partials, three requests for full manuscripts...I'm batting .000 again. Time to start the process all over again. And in this same time frame I also received a couple of rejections on the Golden Heart book. This, too, discouraged me, until I realized that I was sending out basically eight-year-old writing for these agents to take a gander at. Eight-year-old writing! Suppose it's probably likely that my craft has improved in eight years? I suspect if I took and rewrote the Golden Heart book the way I write NOW... But of course conventional wisdom says, "Start something new." Only trouble with that advice? I don't have any new ideas. Haven't had any for years. A couple of flickers here and there, but no complete books that really at least worked in draft form have come to me in probably three years or more. Almost leads one to wonder just how long a writer's block can last...if one believes in writer's block. Which I don't. I do, however, believe in burnout. Which is probably what I've been through. Considering that over the past three years I've had enough stresses, changes, and general tumult in *real life* to send me off the Richter scale on those Stress Charts they all have. You know, the ones where they give a numerical value to the stresses in your life, and you're not supposed to go over 100 in a 12-month period or you're severely stressed and will probably need help? I saw those and, when I realized that three months into some very recent years I was pushing 400 points... There have truly been times when I could relate to the old joke: Patient: Well, Doc, how do I stand? Doctor: I've been wondering the same thing. So I suppose I should be gentle with myself for the next few days, weeks, months, or years, at least. Maybe confine my writing to this blog. (hah!) But I'd be blissfully happy, truth be told, if I woke up one of these mornings with six great ideas bouncing around in my head, and the only problem was staying awake long enough to write them all down. Heck, I'd settle for ONE great idea bouncing around in my head. Or half a one. So that's the status at this point. I'm not a "half empty" type of person...but I think there are times when our writing is running at "half empty," and unfortunately, this is one of them for me. How are y'all doing? Janny


Donna Alice said...

My heart goes out to you because I can so relate to this post!! I've been through those years of burnout and wondering if you were cut out to be a writer at all. Just lately, I've had some pretty good successes and I'm slowly coming into being a "real" writer.
My first book sold in July--a children's mystery. Finished the revisions in Oct. and am waiting to hear if they meet with approval. As if that wasn't enough of a good thing---two other ladies and I met at a writer's meeting, got to talking and dreaming and through a mutual friend we approached the editor of our local paper. TA DA! We are now co-authors of a monthly page for children. In '07, we are hoping to start syndication.

And yet----just at this time, I'm having some serious doubts, sleepless nights and worry sessions over a new series of ms. I've been writing for children. I strive seriously never to write anything that could hurt children. I take my craft and my moral responsibilities very seriously.

My main character is a bit of a Tom Sawyerish child--she knows right from wrong but often tilts more wrong than right. Through the books, she does come to the right conclusion and sees her actions as wrong, even learning the moral way to behave. I see the ms. as the real struggles children face in wanting to do right but being pulled by the world to do the wrong thing.

Okay, enter a crit partner. She expressed some honest doubts about the moral rightness of the character. Can't tell you how many hours I've prayed and worried and written page after page of notes about what I'm trying to DO with this character. Do I move ahead and start sending the ms. out? Or is she right and I start from scratch and revamp all the life out of the character? Ahhhhhhhh!

And we do this to ourselves! LOL- I'm sure a job at Wal-Mart is less stressful.

If it's ideas you are after---I've got about a hundred I'd be willing to share!

Deb said...

Ideas: $0.25 each. I've got a cartload of 'em and only the same 24 hours per day you have, to write 'em all down.

You sound as though you are stressing over your burnout. I hope this isn't true. None of the factors that fed into your burnout were in any way your fault. They constituted your life, not your writing, and as you know, those two areas sometimes work at cross-purposes, no matter how we'd wish it otherwise...

And as far as the rejections, someone is gonna take a look at this book and fall in love. I should know...I did.