Becca Wilhite Blog

February 4, 2017

I though I knew what Busy was

Filed under: emotion,goals,musings,priorities,publishing,writing — becca @ 8:34 am

Once upon a time I was a high school student with a full load of challenging classes and a job and family responsibilities and I thought I was busy.

Once upon a time I was a college student with a full load of challenging classes and a job and no social life to speak of and plenty of food to cook and I thought I was busy.

Once upon a time I was a young mom with four little kids running in at least seventeen directions and I thought I was busy.

Once upon a time I was serving in a Relief Society presidency/Young Women presidency/Primary presidency in my church along with all the wonderful family things, and I thought I was busy.

Then I got a full time teaching job. And kept most of my other things. And I was pretty busy, and I learned how to be okay with sandwiches or pancakes for dinner (because, after all, sandwiches might be my love language, and pancakes are undoubtedly Kid 3’s) and a clean-ish home, and significantly less awesomeness in pretty much every aspect of my life: I still do all the things, I just don’t do any of them very well.

I miss naps. Wait. How did I take naps back in the day if I were so busy?

I miss small kids on my lap for story time. Wait. I had time to read books out loud back then when I was so busy?

I miss making bread. (Blessing: our congregation meets at 1:00 on Sundays now. Huzzah! Bread last Sunday! Cinnamon rolls the week before!)

I miss writing whenever I feel like it. Instead of its being a casual fling, I have to make time for the writing. We have to make a date with a beginning and ending minute. I have to get SERIOUS about this. And do you know what? I think it’s making me like it more. I have more respect for this thing that requires careful planning. And I have to think that’s a good development. It requires me to be grown up about it. As if, perhaps, this were a job. Which – well, they’re paying me, right?

I am in a place of perspective today that allows me to recognize the probability that I don’t know what busy is. And that it’s likely to arrive someday on my doorstep. And I want to be able to embrace it – that thing that life may bring me – wholeheartedly and generously. And I want to keep pressing forward with the other important things. And to do them better, more graciously, more gratefully.

May 11, 2016

Revitalized

Filed under: motivation,publishing,writing — becca @ 12:41 pm

I went to the world’s best [*] writing conference this weekend. There were many, many reasons to be joyful.

  1. I got to be with writer friends. Some of these are my most precious people I see only once a year. Some of these are my very favorite people that I get to see now and then. Some are new friends who make room for me in their hearts. Some are people I get to hang out with in other venues on some kind of regular basis. Some of them I run into at the movies or in Costco. Some of them do author visits at my school, or at my kids’ schools. Some of them are FAMOUS. All of them are kind, wonderful, gracious.
  2. My family is totally capable of living without me for DAYS at a time. They thrive without me. This is not an excuse for me to run away. It’s just a thrill that they all like each other and know how to wash their own shorts.
  3. I wasn’t in charge of anything. I didn’t teach a class. I didn’t emcee. I did have one tiny responsibility – I got to be in charge of the Teen Meet-Up, where I got to meet the (wait for it) teens who came to the conference and chat with them and listen to them talk about their writing… and introduce them to James Dashner, who was a total gentleman with them, making them all feel important as he talked to them about being a star (and called each of them by name).
  4. So much writing advice. I went to amazing classes where I heard talented, award-winning authors talk about character development, plot structure, story arcs, priorities, marketing, business, motivation, and determination. I listened to agents talk about what makes a story sing. I heard Brandon Sanderson read to us some original fiction… from his 8-year-old. It was about pill-bugs, and there was a twisty ending.
  5. I got re-energized. Re-excited. Re-vitalized to do this writing thing. I got inspired to go to work. I got eager to write beside my students — and (gasp) in front of them. I got ideas to finish my revision – and to start it in the right place. I had thoughts about genre. Genres. I had confidence, and wow — that’s worth the price of admission any day.

 

[*] ldstorymakersconference.com – this is the place. (Or will be, when it shows stuff for next year’s conference. Be patient. We just finished.)

July 29, 2012

Such Happy News

Filed under: BBM,debts to the Universe,publishing — becca @ 4:40 pm

Guys, listen.

Remember Bright Blue Miracle? And how I love that book? And how it was my first really, really published book? And how I love that book? And how it sold lots of copies, but not quite enough? And how, after a year, it became one of the Out of Print? And how I still love it inside my heart, even if it feels like the squinty-eyed, red-headed stepchild of the published-book world? Remember?

Well.

I got a letter (in the MAIL!) from the nice folks at Shadow Mountain publishers this weekend. They are very happy to tell me that BBM will be again commercially available to those of us who like books with pages (vs pixels — it’s been selling as an ebook all this time). ISN’T THAT HAPPY NEWS?

Well, I think it is. And if you’re interested, here is the link to a website where you can purchase one of your very own. Or, you know, two.

Is this all news to you? Are you unaware that BBM exists? Well, then. Here is a very short (off-the-cuff) blurb: Marriage changes everything. At least it does when Leigh’s mom marries Paul — and brings along his perfect daughter Betsy to misalign all that was finally right in Leigh’s life. Some laughs, some tears, some ice cream… and a love triangle. It’s all here. [1] (Contemporary YA. With squeaky-clean romance elements and at least one Really Great Kissing Scene.) (Also available from Amazon, with some great reviews, here.)

Is it any surprise to you that self-promo is not my greatest human strength? But guys, I do love this book. Really and truly and gladly. So I wanted you to share a second of my happy news.

Because, you know. I like you, too.

[1] I know. Just call me when you need a completely thoughtless write-up of a book you spent years writing. I can only do as much for you. 🙂

April 9, 2012

Publishing Path: Story Time

Filed under: publishing,writing process — becca @ 6:38 am

Once upon a time [1], I got a literary agent. This is one of those things that if you’re not (A) a writer (B) the parent of a writer or (C) married to a writer, you just probably don’t care about. But if you are (A) (B) or (C) (Mostly A, let’s not kid ourselves) then you know that’s a pretty big deal.

For those of us who are (D) (other), here’s the thing. A writer writes and writes and writes, cringes and revises and swears to never try again, revises and cringes and laughs out loud, dares to share the words with readers, cries for a while, revises some more, attempts to maintain composure and refrain from out-loud offensive language, and finally has a “finished” manuscript.

So what then? How does this thing that the writer alternately adores and despises become a book? With pages (or pixels) that someone can buy or borrow?

Enter the Agent.

The Agent is the go-between for author and publisher.

*Question: Does a writer need to have an agent?

*Answer: No. Or else Yes.

I didn’t have an agent until last week. And I’m an author, right? I have books — published, bound, for-sale books (and ebooks, too). I didn’t have an agent for the first years of my writing journey, and it was great, and it worked. But then I did what I do best and decided that I wanted more. Even though I’ve had a great experience with my first publisher, and through my interactions with them have made some Very Dear Friends, when my contract was fulfilled, I knew it was time for more. Here’s the more: I want my next thing to be bigger in scope, more national, from a bigger publisher with a longer reach. I want hardback (but, you know, I’m flexible). I want to stretch to the next level.

And in order to Next-Level it, I need an agent. In general, the Big Guys national publishers don’t accept submissions without an agent. (Not always true. I know. That’s why I said “In general,” you see.)

* Question: Where do you even begin to find agents?

* Answer: The Internet, my friends. The Internet.

See, there’s a wealth of agent-related information out there. Several years ago, I started with AgentQuery.com, where I looked up agents based on books I already liked, authors I knew, and the two agents I’d heard of. Then by genre, then by recommendation, then I sort of started getting the hang of it all. This time around, I knew a little more. I’d had a very kind agent send me a list of possibilities (who I then began to stalk [politely, you know] around the internet). There are agents who blog regularly, who have FaceBook profiles, who answer a great many questions that I don’t actually ask, but I wonder about these things. And there’s the Writer’s Digest website in general, and the Guide to Agents section in particular.

And then there’s the keeping it all inside my head, which is, obviously, never going to happen. So I tried out QueryTracker.com. It’s not the world’s most beautiful site, but it has what I needed to organize. It’s useful, you know, to keep track of everything. And it does keep track of everything. And there’s a community aspect to it (which I never used) where you can chat with other people who are in the Query Zone, compare notes on agents’ replies and response times, and give virtual high-fives and pats on the back.

* Question: So how does a writer get an agent?

* Answer: I’m glad you asked.

Here’s a short list of things you need in order to make it happen: A “finished” novel, a query letter, a thick skin, and a vast deal of patience.

First let’s talk about the “finished” novel. Are you tired of the “quote marks” yet? Me, too. But the thing is, you’re not really finished writing your novel yet. BUT. You should get to the point where you can’t make it any better yourself or with the help of your Very Helpful Critique Partners [2]. Then you sit on it for a while — a week or a month. Then read it again and polish. Trust me, you’ll be surprised how much there is to polish.

Then you do a query letter. This is painful and horrifying, I’m not going to lie to you. HERE is a place I talked about this once before.

Thick skin. Yeah. Writers talk about this one a lot. Because, apparently, you really need it. Here’s the thing. It’s PERSONAL. The book you just wrote was pushed out of your pores like sweat, and it is a little (or huge) part of you. Then a whole bunch of very nice agents and their assistants tell you it’s not (not even in the slightest) interesting to them. Ouch. This is why I went with the Large Pool theory. I submitted my query and pages (whatever the nice agents were asking for, exactly as they asked for it) to a whole lot of agents. I had a goal for 5 a day on non-work days and 3 a day on days I had a job. Then, when the rejections started coming in (and coming, and coming), there were moments of surprising pleasantness, too, like a request for a partial manuscript, or (insert Angel Choir) a full manuscript. [3]

The patience goes along with the replies. Some people (me?) might spend hours and days glued to the email, waiting for that magic reply. The one that says, “You’re brilliant! I love it! Send me more!” But the chances of the instant reply being a “no, thanks” are much higher, in my little experience.

And even the ones who tell you it’s brilliant and they want more… well, they have to do their jobs, so it takes a while. I decided before I started this process that I wanted to work with an agent who would be careful and aggressive with my story, once I was his or her client. But that implies that I understand that the current clients get first dibs on the agent’s attention, see? And as a querying writer, I was low down on the totem of the agents’ priorities. And I should be. I was lucky. I got replies and responses now and then. A request for a partial, then a different agent would request a full. Then a few form rejections. Then another request for a full, or more from the partial, then another handful of rejections. An excited response from a reading agent, then a few more rejections. And it really only took a couple of months. Agent Meredith and I had a phone conversation after she finished reading my full manuscript (three weeks or so into the querying process), in which she answered my questions, asked some of her own, and requested a fairly light rewrite [4]. I crossed my fingers for luck and plunged back in. The rejections and long pauses in replies were much easier to take at that point. Are you surprised?

Fast forward a few more weeks, and Agent Meredith made me an offer of representation. At which point I contacted the few agents who still had my manuscript and (this is protocol, no matter how weird it feels) let them know I had an offer. I think some people would have contacted all the agents who didn’t actively say no, but I just went with the ones who bothered to try me out. I told them that someone was interested. They replied, congratulations — go for it. Actually, I did get the nicest rejection at this point. It was so nice, in fact, that it felt like an acceptance.

Hi Becca, I am so sorry to have taken so long. I have been torn. There really was so much here that I admired– especially your writing and style. But something is holding me back from being confident enough that I am the perfect fit. I am so glad you have found an agent, and not at all surprised. Will be watching your career with interest! Thank you for considering me. All my best, (The Nice Agent Who Has A Bird Name)

Then I waited a few more weeks while Agent Meredith got settled in her new agency (she’d been six years with one and is now with another), and then we spoke on the phone again, and now we’re ready to hit this thing. She’s preparing another (more deep, more encompassing) editorial letter (some agents do that, some don’t — I’m happy to have her help) and then I’ll rewrite again. When I get it right, she’ll begin submitting to editors, and that will be another long story, I’d imagine, with another hefty dose of patience required.

And I’m ready to go. Working on some other writing, in the mean time. Reading. Playing. Dabbling in poetry [5]. Finding joy in the new laptop. Like that. But I wanted to share my story, because it’s really happy-making for me, and exciting, and Next-Levelish.

—-

[1] last week

[2] Once you’ve written and revised your book all by yourself a few times (I usually do 3 or 4 passes before I inflict it on my friends), you let someone else read it. Then you tape your mouth shut and listen to their questions, comments, and concerns. You can nod your head at this point, but no talking back.

[3] If you’re interested in numbers like I’m interested in numbers, you may be interested to know that I sent queries to 29 agents. There were more on the list, but those are the ones I started with. Seven of those (eventually) asked for full manuscripts. Many of them sent polite (form email) rejections. A few sent personal rejections. Many didn’t send anything at all, which is accepted code for “no thanks, unless we lost your submission, but you’ll never know unless you pester us, which we wish you wouldn’t.”

[4] It was a DivaCheck. She was seeing if I would be willing to take editorial direction. I was.

[5] Don’t worry. I’m fine. It’s happy poetry.

March 31, 2012

Let me introduce you.

Filed under: happiness,publishing — becca @ 1:58 pm

Guys. She’s shiny. She’s clean. She’s elegant and silver and has the most perfect action my fingers could ask for.

I got a laptop.

(!!)

I know. I did, completely, just purchase a laptop on the basis of “I love how these keys feel under my fingers.” Is that ridiculous? Perhaps. But I have never quite gotten into the groove of the Kitchen Computer’s keypad. Oh, but Regina, she’s got some great action. My laptop is named Regina. As in Regina Spektor. I don’t know why. I just decided right here in this paragraph that this should be her name.

She’s a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Which, obviously, is apropos and stuff, since I am, likewise, a pro.

I got a laptop because I got an agent. A little reward for a great accomplishment, don’t you know. Do you like how I buried that in here?

I’ll tell you more about that great story in another post. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying (very enjoying) the fact of blogging from the living room floor.

Also on the floor, I’ve completed the first unit of Rosetta Stone’s Mandarin Chinese lessons. Yes. Why not? I can almost tell the difference between these sentences: “The man is drinking juice” and “The girls are reading the newspaper.” But only when there’s text that looks vaguely American attached. But how cool is that? Who wouldn’t want to learn to speak Mandarin? I ask you. I ask you.

And I think I’ll quickly run out of excuses not-to-blog, since I can take Regina with me wherever I go. (Do you think the musical RS will approve my choice?)

Happy weekend, everyone.

February 26, 2012

My Grandmother, the Author

Filed under: gratitude,publishing — becca @ 11:18 am

Today I’d like to introduce you to my Grandma, Leola Seely Anderson. She died years before I was born, but there are moments that I feel like I know her. One of those moments was when I went to Virginia to help my parents pack for a move. We found a metal filing box, kind of lunchbox shaped, with organized notes about Grandma’s magazine article submissions, acceptances, rejections, and payments. She had a famous sense of humor and irony (well, famous for us.) She was a writer, a teacher, a wife, a mother, a traveler, a server, and a glove-and-hat wearer. The following piece was published circa 1957. Despite her use of exclamation points, I connect in a deep way with her words.

Here she is, at approximately the time the article was written. Thanks to Uncle R. for the photos.

 

As the Heart Grows

 By Leola Seely Anderson

 

“I LOVE YOU!”

No sweeter words were ever spoken, no purer thought was ever born. No greater joy was ever measured than the simple, exquisite infinity of “I love you!”

Within the walls of my heart are many mansions. Each is precious, lovely rare. Each holds an image indestructible; each is eternal there.

Once my heart was one vaulted chamber, dedicated only to a lonely portrait – myself. But it was soon invaded by another. My Mother’s bright blue eyes, her sunny hair, the light of her smile – these became my world. And I divided my heart once more to let my Father in – and later there were those other dear ones, my brothers and sister.

Life was full, my love serene. A gallery of cherished ones filled my every need, until the day a friend slipped in, and his image was engraved in its own hall of fame. My heart was no larger, but oh, the difference in my vision! I loved outside my family.

Others were admitted tentatively from time to time. Some came to stay; some grew dim, faded away, and were replace by faces new and fresh. Before any could be permanently fixed, a new room had to be prepared.

Once I thought my work completed – family and friends were there. And yet there came another for whom my heart pulsed with new meaning. This was an image to be superimposed upon my own; this one took my place. For my husband I ceased to think of self. I awoke to other vistas.

Love seeks not itself; neither does it demand anything. It asks only the privilege to serve, to give, to suffer, if need be, but always to be near the sweet flame which kindled its fire. This portrait I cherished in my heart’s loveliest hall, with gratitude and faith in its being eternally mine.

As the years passed by, my mansions increased in number. Each of my children possesses one, each immortal. Though he should break my heart and make my tears a flood, he could not erase my love. Though he walk in the farthest reaches of heaven or earth, he could not depart my heart’s door. He is loved.

Again I thought myself fulfilled – family friends, my mate, my children – surely one could ask no more?

But Jesus stood at my door and knocked, and for him its portals swung wide. He entered, and his presence filled every corner with wider vision. Miraculously, my capacity to love increased a hundredfold!

Not alone my own, those near and dear to me, but a whole troop of others crowded in. The tired, the needy, the afflicted, the discouraged – I found my compassion had gained new dimension. These were my brothers and sisters – God’s other children who needed me, even as I needed them.

True, there are now some rooms of sorrow in my heart, where portraits bring only pain; still their niches can never be uncarved, unfilled, nor forgotten. They have taught me that ingratitude, indifference, thoughtlessness – even evil, anger, revenge – can be forgiven if the love of God lends its strength to mine.

And though my heart’s mansions become numberless as the stars of heaven, yet is each one as large as at first; though each treasure possesses a room, my powers of tenderness are enlarged infinitely. As I love, my capacity to love expands; as I cherish, I become more nearly like him, and my reason for being is more nearly realized.

I love you.

In my heart are many mansions reflecting the joy I know. Perhaps, someday, when I have learned life’s lessons well, my chambers may encompass the world, and then shall I glimpse the majesty of the love of God.

Ah, the sleeves. I'm in agonies of jealousy.

January 25, 2012

The Query Zone and Hard Things (and what makes them Possible)

Filed under: publishing,writing process — becca @ 10:10 am

So when you’re a writer and you’re in the Query Zone, you have these REALLY HARD things[1] to do, which are not in any particular order, because this is MY blog and I can do things out of order if I so desire. And I do.

1. Put yourself and your story out there. I know it’s supposed to be different, you vs. your story. But guys. I’m one of the weak ones. I find it difficult to separate myself from my words, when it comes right down to it. Love me, love my book, right? So if you don’t even want to see it, I cry. (See #2, below.) But the Really Hard Thing to do is to be bold. Do it. Expose your book, or else how is Magic Agent going to know it’s the Book of Dreams? Things that make this possible: Beta readers, critique partners, agentQuery.com, and queryTracker.com. Also Blue Bunny ice cream and a great deal of buttered popcorn.

2. Not cry. Remember “What About Bob?” I do. I love Bob. “I just treat them like a phone call. Bad connection? Hang up and try again.” It is a Really Hard Thing to take rejection gracefully. But we can do it. We can. We can even send a very short “Thanks Anyway” email, if we’re so inclined. We can breathe in and out. All day long. Things that make this possible: Lindt Excellence “touch of sea salt” Dark Chocolate Bars. And I don’t usually even like chocolate. Also a hot bath or a few episodes of White Collar. (Also, one “yes” goes a long way toward making me graceful about several “no”s, but that’s not really within my control.)

3. Write the cursed Query. Yup. Really Hard Thing. What? you say. It’s a PAGE long. Just write it, already. Yeah, okay, I answer you. But it’s the ONE PAGE that an agent will see and then say, “Holy cow. That is the most charming writer / fabulous story in the history of charming writers and fabulous stories. I must, must adore everything that person ever writes.” So there’s that tiny expectation of brilliance at the beginning. Also, there’s the conflicting advice. One agent says “This is a business letter.” Another says, “This is not a business letter.” One says, “Make me laugh.” Another says “Gimmicks are the death of your query.” (The only non-conflicting advice seems to be “Spell my name correctly, if you please.”) But we can write the letter. Things that make this possible: Remember you’ve already written the book. That should help a bit. Also, agentQuery.com has archives of query letters, along with “formulas” and success stories. And Chuck @ Writer’s Digest has this ongoing Successful Queries” segment, where every couple of months he posts a (you guessed it, didn’t you?) successful query. Agents sometimes post good queries on their blogs. So go steal some good ideas. And then make them yours. And then ask people who read books to look at the letter. Would they want to read the story from your hook? Like that. Go get ’em.

4. Tailor said query. Because agents are human (oh, yes they are), they’ll want different things. So it’s not a very good idea to create and send a totally bland, generic query. You sort of have to tweak it to each one’s needs, personality, and current wishes. Have you met him? Say so. Does she rep someone you read/love/know? Say so. Has she recently given an interview wherein she announced that what she’s REALLY looking for is a post-apocalyptic zombie mermaid story told in verse? And that’s just what you have, right there on your laptop? Mention it. The research alone for such tweaking can take FOREVER. Okay, not forever, but hours a day. Hours. And then there’s the actual rewriting. That is a Really Hard Thing. Things that make this possible: Hello, computers? Just let yourself imagine doing all this junk longhand. Smile about your privileges. Carry on. Also, if you’ve done #3, you have a solid basis. Just sand it, paint it, and tie a little bow on it. Or something.

5. Add a synopsis, sometimes. And that’s what we’re talking about today, my friends. (Oh, did you think I’d already done plenty of talking? Pardon.) Several of the agents I’ve contacted request a synopsis. According to most sources, this is a 500-1000-word document (3rd person, present tense) that Tells Your Story. Remember all that business about Show vs Tell? You have shown. That’s your book. Now tell. Sounds easy, right?

*chirp*

It was hard. I found myself starting paragraphs, deleting them, saying unladylike words, starting more paragraphs. Repeat. And repeat. So here’s what I finally did that worked for me. And it’s not rocket science, but it’s a beginning. Take it or leave it, as always. The thing that made this possible: In short phrases, I wrote what someone did. NOT what happened. There’s a difference, because you only have 500-1000 words, so you don’t want to go into all the psychology, the history, the backstory. What someone did. Like this: Verb direct object.

I made a list. Maybe you’re one of those character-laden people who outlines. Of so, you win at this part. Just copy stuff from your outline. (Another reason it might be good to learn to outline. I’ll take it under consideration. Maybe.) My list was about 18-20 sentence fragments that told (with an active verb) what someone did. If I saw the words “realized” “understood” or “learned” creeping into my list, I deleted them. That’s not an action.

Let’s do one.

Walks in woods
Sneaks into house
Eats porridge
Sits in chair
Breaks everything
Sleeps in bed
Wakes to Bears
Runs away

When my real list (not this super-classy one) took me from beginning to end of story, I made each sentence fragment a paragraph, or combined a few into one. Then, when all the verb/direct object fragments became paragraphs, I whittled down what was too wordy and plumped up what needed more detail to be understood. As you can tell from my list above, I didn’t list everything that happened in the story. I didn’t list every character’s viewpoint. I can fatten up some of those things in the paragraphs, but just enough to give the gist. Now that you’ve stunned them with your storytelling prowess, they’ll be once again stunned, upon reading your manuscript, that you can also WRITE. Which, as we all know, is not the same thing. Also, a synopsis, most websites will tell you, is not a movie trailer. Tell how the book ends. If this goes against your grain, too bad. Agents who ask for synopses want spoilers.

If the writing the synopsis part seems too much work, maybe you’re not ready to query. Did that sound harsh? It was meant to, kind of. Because, yes, “finishing” your novel is the end of your work.

Want to know which end?

[1] assuming you’ve already done the Really Hard Thing of, you know, writing a fabulous book

January 18, 2012

On Ulcers, and Querying, and Rejectamenta

Filed under: anxiety,body image,books,emotion,familyness,food,publishing — becca @ 8:07 am

What? A week? It’s been a week since my Last Brilliant Post? How does such a thing happen?

I’ll tell you how it happens.

You just go ahead and live a little of your life and your blogging time diminishes to a little sparkly crystal of preciousness which you hold near your heart and stare at in your quiet moments.

Or something.

But we took a little family trip (to a sunny southern city) and we laughed and we hiked and we sang songs and we told funny stories and Kid 1 may have poured her coffee-machine hot cocoa into the bottom of her mug, forgetting that little detail of Turning the Mug Over. We swam and we fogged-in the hot-tub room and we ate 5 pounds of gummy worms among us. And those were a few really fun days.

But also. There was this other thing.

I’m querying, you see. And for me, querying is a mad mixture of exciting and horrible, much like cheese fondue or deep-fried anything. It feels so awesome right up until it starts feeling barf-inducing.

I’ve sent out several queries. I’ve gotten about 10% positive response. (No, Dad, that doesn’t mean offers of representation. That means people saying “That doesn’t sound too bad. Send the manuscript – or part of it – to me and I’ll have a look at it.” Which is so very, very positive. To me.) And I’ve gotten several very polite rejections.

Rejections, polite or otherwise, make me sad.

Because as much as I’d like to say I can separate myself from my work, it’s PERSONAL. You know? It is. And a tiny part of me wants to knock on the metaphorical doors of these nice people and say, “But LOOK at me. I’m nice. I’m groomed. I’m wearing accessories. And also, I know how to write a book that is Good.”

Which, naturally, I can’t say to them, because that’s not how it works.

Which, naturally, causes ulcers.

Naturally.

So I live with it. I put on a happy face and I do a few deep sighs once in a while. I send out five more queries. I eat a piece of something delicious (which was, up to yesterday, a square of almond toffee, but from now on until later, it will be something sugarless and without white flour, because also the one-pound-a-week thing isn’t working no matter how many positive thoughts I send its way. See note above re. gummy worms) and I move on.

Also, because I have had some successes (remember those positive responses?) I bought myself a book. “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. I hope it’s glorious. I have reason to hope. Because he’s brilliant, and stuff. (But mine wasn’t signed. And I might have to do something about that. If you’re not a Nerdfighter, you may not know that JG signed like 150,000 copies of “TFIOS” for the first run. Who gets a first run printing of 150,000? John Green does.) **UPDATE: I looked it up. Only the PRE-ORDERED 150,000 books are signed. Pre-ordered. 150,000. Signed. Go, John Green. You go.

So, on we go, ulcers and rejections and smiles and carrot sticks and all.

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