The Grind

Right now it feels as if I’m just grinding along. In an attempt to prolong what’s left of my savings, thus giving me time to sell my book, I am working more hours. I’m getting up to an alarm 5 days of the week now. Gone is the midweek “weekend.” No more time for daydreaming on the sun porch while ideas float about my brain. There is little time left for my other job – writing. Survival is pretty much the focus now.

For the first few years, when I could balance work, writing, and social time, I didn’t feel the need to take time off and go on a vacation. Now that the work leg of my stool is getting longer and longer, I feel the need to balance things out, except I can’t really afford a vacation. I was very generously given a raise after almost 3 years on the job, but immediately watched my rent go up significantly, and thanks to ACA sabotage, my health insurance quadrupled. I have a dental appointment this week and probably need a crown. I owe what feels like a hefty amount in taxes. One step forward, five steps back. I’ll just have to tighten things up even more, and keep dreaming of a week of relaxation with sand between my toes and bathtub warm water so clear I can see those grains of sand. Hopefully someday before I die.

More work, more stress, less fun, less daydreaming… none of it makes for productive writing time. I was told I needed to focus on two things this year: patience and discipline. So far that is proving true. I need the patience to see the agent/publisher search to its conclusion. I need discipline to keep writing… to grind it out. Not how I work best, but what else can I do? The safety net is being dismantled, leaving me with few options if this all blows up in my face. I must grind.

The grind of querying is also back on. I had one rejection within 24 hours. However, I’ve received none since, and while I may be grasping at straws, I actually see a glimmer of hope with one. I’m using a website called querytracker.net. I originally thought a spreadsheet would work just fine for tracking my queries and didn’t see the benefit of online tracking. I was wrong. My spreadsheet only contained my query information. Query Tracker contains the query information of every author who uses the site, which seems to be a whole lot of them. I can see the queries an agent has received — genre, word count, and date submitted. When the author receives a response, that is also displayed. One particular agent I queried, who seems ideally suited for my story, has rejected submissions made before I submitted, as well as some after I submitted. Mine and a couple of others have not received a response. While this could mean any number of things, such as: my manuscript is making the rounds of the agency so they can make fun of how bad it is; or like my original birth certificate, my submission fell behind a filing cabinet never to be found again; or the rejection got lost in cyberspace. It could mean any one of those things, but I’m choosing to believe that it means I made it past the junior agent and my submission is now sitting in a pile, waiting to be read. Even a nibble fills me with hope.

Now limited to a 2-day weekend, I spent one precious day yesterday cleaning, catching up on my finances, and doing my taxes. That leaves today for really focusing on writing. I finally found the scene/direction I’ve been missing in order to move forward with book two, and despite feeling the grind, I’m looking forward to spending a day lost in adventure. And in the breaks, I’ll daydream about having more days like today during the week, and warm, sandy beaches, and hopefully that will get me through the grind. Hopefully someday it will all be worth it.

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Out of the Nest

It’s time. Time to push my chick out of the nest. For more than a year I have been putting words together to tell a story, and now it’s time to see what other people think about it.

One of the things I love about writing is that I get to hear the story first. There is no one else on the planet who knows this story but me. How cool is that? Then again, maybe it’s a story nobody wants to know.┬áThat is what I’m about to find out. It’s time to share. It’s time to see if anybody else thinks this is a good story.

I’m relieved to have a large part of the work done. In fact, until I start getting feedback, there is nothing more for me to do. But, behind the relief is terror. What if nobody likes it? What if I’ve done all this work for nothing? What if the characters I have loved so much, die a quick death right along with all the much loved screenplay characters I’ve created over the years. What if I have to face the fact that I will never have a writing career?

What if, what if, what if? Why are my thoughts never filled with things like – What if they love it? What if it’s a best seller? What if I have a contract to write the rest of the series? No, my brain never goes there.

Now that the major writing is done, one thing I’m looking forward to is rebuilding a bit of a social life. In the past few months, as I worked hard to finish up the book, I have let myself become reclusive on the weekends. This writing/social balance thing is one I’m still fine tuning. There have been times I have gotten out of balance the other way. I’m beginning to learn to recognize the emotional cues telling me I am out of balance, I’m just not always so good at finding it again.

I’m also looking forward to long afternoons, reading in my hammock.

But today, after a long day of editing and finally printing, and no hammock time whatsoever, there are 4 printed copies of my book on the floor behind me. It’s a weird feeling, both good and bad at the same time. It’s time┬áto see if my chick flies, or tumbles out of the tree.

Oh boy…

 

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