Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fears and Failures

On literary agent Nathan Bransford's blog, he says,

"Writers are by nature intense creatures. I really believe people who are creatively inclined tend to experience life, well, more intensely than other humans.

Combine that with trying to break into or stay afloat in a tough publishing business, and the writerly pursuit is not without its fears and anxieties."

He then goes on to ask what his readers' greatest fears are as writers. As I thought about fears and writing, I pondered a few lines I read yesterday in (oddly enough) Gene Edward Veith, Jr.'s The Spirituality of the Cross. Yes, it's a theology book. Bear with me. Veith says,

"Another ploy of the devil is to pry the person out of his or her calling. ... Thus, there may be the temptation to quit: to get a divorce, to leave one's children, to quit one's job, to give up writing or making music or whatever talents one has. ... Bearing the cross in vocation often involves the sense that one's vocation is worthless or futile." (page 112, emphasis added).
I know I've experienced my fair share of fear as a writer...fear that I won't be able to capture the thought or plot I have in my head, fear I'll never get published and fear no one will like what I've written even if I am published, to name three. Fear is strong, and often paralyzing. Think about what Veith said in relation to that, though.

True, some people try to write who probably have no vocation (calling) to it, but let's assume you do. Is there something you should be saying as a writer that will go unsaid if you submit to your fear and never get it out there? How miserable will you be if you leave your vocation as a writer and try to live as something else?

So, here's my modified version of Bransford's question: What are your biggest fears in writing, and what are they keeping you from accomplishing in your life today?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

There Are No Rules - Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#2)

This is the second of three posts on novel queries by literary agent Jane Friedman. Number 3 hasn't been posted yet, but be sure to go back and read #1. Valuable insights into an agent's mind!

There Are No Rules - Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#2)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Rejections from an Agent's POV

For those writers who are seeking agents, this is a wonderful blog post by literary agent Rachelle Gardner. No, it's not an inside track to an acceptance. (I know you were hoping!) And no, maybe it won't make those rejections feel any better. At least now you know there's (probably) a human being behind that rejection letter. Keep that in mind and don't let it ruin your day!

Here's the link:

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ramblings and Reflections

It seems I haven’t written anything for this blog in a while.

I have the worst of all reasons. I’ve been in a slump. Yes, an unproductive, self-pitying, paralyzing slump. I suppose it happens to the best freelancers as some point or another. At least, I hope it does. I’ve done little writing. What has managed to emerge from pen and PC has been gut wrenching and, well…blah.

I have been thinking, though. Sometimes I think too much. Yes, sometimes I need less thinking and more writing! Some of this particular thinking has gelled some productive results for me, though.

Ever since blogging on Christina Katz’s purity of intention prompt, I’ve been noodling that idea in my foggy little head. What are my intentions? What drives me? Where do I want to be in a year…five years…ten years…twenty? What things, if I never accomplish them, will leave me bitterly regretful?

As a result of all that introspection, I’ve come up with three areas I absolutely want to pursue.

  1. Fiction. Fiction is my first love both in reading and writing. Fiction, more than any other writing form, sets my nerves tingling and my blood humming. It gives me an emotional high that few other things in life instill. Yet, in my everyday routine, it is the writing form that most often falls to the bottom of my to-do list.
  2. Devotional. My faith defines who I am; it’s only natural to share that with readers. I’ve delved a little into devotional writing on my Lessons from the Shadowland blog. It’s tough going as I realize more and more how little I actually know or understand, but I’ve realized it’s something I want to continue, to dig deeper into my faith and cause others to do the same.
  3. Child Lit. I started out with one random picture book idea that seemed good (and has been dismissed by six agents so far). Once the floodgates were opened, though, I saw that there might be more than one, or even two, picture books in me. I’m now polishing a second text before seeking representation and roughing out a third. I love reading with my two-year-old, and I think I have my own stories to share with her…and with children everywhere.
The big question that remains is whether I should concentrate on making headway in these three areas exclusively or whether I need to continue with other projects—marketing, editing, tips and how-tos—in order to pay the bills while I slowly plod along toward my dreams.

Question status: asked but unanswered.