Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where Life is Bitter and Sweet

My road to publishness will be an ongoing, never-ending journey.  Even if I luck up on an agent and a book deal in a week's time (not happening since I'm not querying at the moment), that would not guarantee my next novel would get published.  I say this as a reminder to myself not to give up.

Remember that this path is not smooth for everyone.  Rocky moments aren't just bound to happen, they're what will make me better, stronger and improve more as a writer, if I choose learning over ignoring.  I prefer learning :-)

For many of us, this road is filled with rejections, many we may heap upon ourselves because we do things like what I did: jumping the gun.

Olympics watchers see it.  That perfect ready stance of the runner, muscles corded, tense, waiting for the starting gun.  Then a second too soon, one runner jumps the gun and false starts, messing up the moment for all the runners.

Well, my false start didn't mess things up for other runners - or writers - but it did rattle my self-confidence a bit.  For about a 24 hour period, all I could think was that my writing must truly be horrible, detestable even. I didn't show it to the world because they didn't deserve me taking it out on them.  So I took it out on myself.  I internalized my disappointment.

Oddly, a ray of sunshine came in the form of a critique of the work I false-started with.  My CP tore into the story.  Ripped it with great comments, questions and concerns.

And I loved it!

No, I'm not a masochist, but I recognize someone helping me when it's plain as the nose on my face.  And I like my nose, just as much as I liked the critique provided on my work.  Plus, some of the issues mentioned made me reconsider if this project is best served being self-published instead of trying to go through a publisher.  So many words of wisdom sprinkled my critique that I knew she'd made every effort to make sure my work could truly reach full publishable potential.  Which in turn means I provide my readers with a book I can stand by.  Isn't that what every writer wants...along with the highly coveted NYT best seller status, movie deal and red carpet events that include a video game based on the characters of the novel?

The feelings of bitterness and sweetness are a bit much to bear at this time.  For those who came back to see how I've done with my #writemotivation goals, please accept my heartfelt apologies.  I'll do my best to address them in my next post.

No questions to end this post as I usually do.  I just appreciate you listening to my little rant and whine.  Now off to drink some Fuki plum wine, re-situate my self-confidence and get back to work.  The road to publishness, after all, will not pave itself.

51 comments:

  1. A good critique partner is worth their weight in gold and silver! You'll get there, Angela because you're determined, and we're all here to give you support. Write on :)

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    1. Thank you, Shelley. Disappointments can be rocky things to deal with. But this writing community is awesome.

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  2. If they find issues and still love it, then that's an awesome thing!

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    1. Very true, Alex. Made me feel good despite the changes needed to make it better. And I want to make it better :-)

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  3. Good critique partners can help so much. Though it's hard when you feel done to see you're not. I have yet another revision to do too. So agree about how you describe the road to publication.

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    1. Yeah. I suppose that's why I jumped the gun. But the moment has come and gone. Hopefully, I won't jump the gun too often. lol!!

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  4. I oughta pin this post on my bulletin board (or my fridge!) where I can see it every day. Well said Angela.

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    1. Please feel free to pin this wherever you'd like...well, within reason lol!!!

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  5. I'd be lost without my crit partners! Each brings a new perspective that helps me dig deeper into my work.
    Great post, Angela! And hang in there. It's a tough road, but you'll get there.

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    1. Thanks, Cate. Sometimes, getting the reminder of how tough a road can be is hard to deal with. But forward movement continues.

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  6. There are fabulous CPs out there. The trick is to find the ones who you relate to and relate to you. It's like dating, building a true friendship. It's important. Don't worry; all will work out. You have tons of gusto!

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    1. Thanks. The person who did the critique was just so awesome. Sometimes, we just get lucky.

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  7. A critique that helps you envision your work in a new, better way is a godsend -- a real treasure.

    But usually, at least for me, it causes some heartache at first. For example, I recently emailed my 2 CPs, telling them how I had resolved a problem they noted in my first draft. They both emailed me back to tell me why they didn't think my solution worked AND they each had a (different) suggestion of their own.

    I was depressed and unhappy to see them tear apart my solution. I went to bed miserable and woke up the next morning to the perfect vision of how combining their suggestions completely portrayed one of my characters in a new light. A better light. The light I never saw because I was stubbornly looking somewhere else. Thank heavens for CPs.

    I hope your critique does the same for you!

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    1. Thank you, Dianne. I was actually surprised at how I reacted to the critique. Comments everywhere about why this or that didn't work. But also suggestions of how it could be addressed, may not be needed or how to take it in another direction. It was good to get feedback intent on my benefit. I needed it after my brief disappointment.

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  8. Sounds like you have a winning attitude and that is all that really matters :) Keep going!

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    1. I'm trying, Angela. But I guess that is all any of can do, right?

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  9. I know exactly what you mean. My cp does the same thing and after my initial what-the-heck-are-you-talking-about-it's-practically-perfect I calm down and realize she was absolutely right and further that her suggestions will make my book even better. Keep writing Angela; I've read some of your work and I loved it, too!

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    1. You are so sweet. It is easy to question if the writing is any good when things do go as you want or fantasize lol!

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  10. It can be so hard, but so wonderful to get those tough critics. As long as they are changes you agree with and know will improve it in the ways you want it to improve, then that's excellent. It has worth, it has merit, and you will make it fantastic!

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Heather. And the critique even includes that caveat, basically a use what you can and throw out the rest kind of perspective. Makes it easy to take the words to heart and use them to improve what I have.

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  11. It is so hard to know the right things to do as a writer, but I think that as long as we keep working and moving forward we will find our place in the world. God bless you, and if you self-publish I'd be happy to have you tour my blog :)

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    1. You are so awesome, J.A. Self-publishing would be a big step. I appreciate knowing I have great folks like you in my corner to help out. Which that would be so necessary with self-publishing.

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  12. I'm sorry to see you're feeling insecure about your writing. I do that too. I'm convinced everything I write is horrible. Glad to hear you have a great crit partner. Those crit partners are amazing, aren't they? They really rip your book up so that you could perfect it.

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    1. It reminds me of building good muscle tone. You have to work and rip the muscle so that it rebuilds stronger and better than before.

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  13. I love getting critiques that are really in-depth because it shows they were interested enough in the work to be picky. The worst is receiving back a MS with almost no comments...

    And how wonderful for you to have a great CP!!! I know how difficult it is to get a good one :)

    We all have those moments of thinking we suck... but I know you're not the kind of person to wallow in it :)

    ...rage, rage against the dying of the light ;)

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    1. I'm raging, 1000th.monkey. Me and a nice glass of Fuki wine. Then more raging with my MS. :-)

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  14. I don't think you will get lucky, Angela. You are a talented writer, and your hard work will land you an agent. Peace. :)

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    1. You are so sweet, Linda. Doubt can be a bugger. Argh! But I appreciate your words of encouragement. Everyone has been great.

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  15. Honest feedback and a good critique CAN make all the difference - if only because one person obviously believes you can be published and put a lot of work into helping it happen. :) And don't let your self-confidence get too low! You have tons of talent, don't give up!! :)

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    1. This is why the writing community rocks. I haven't had a whole lot of moments of seriously doubting my writing. And this time was one of those times where being a part of this encouraging group has been a blessing. Thank you so much.

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  16. Like you said, the road is up and down, and we all need a to whine and cry a little sometimes. Glad you're back on your feet and yay for awesome CPs!

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    1. You're right, Krispy. I needed to vent a bit. Enjoy some great wine. And now, onward writer soldier :-)

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  17. Since I'm in the middle of Neverlove I know what a great writer you are! And I got way more out of my crit partner than the freelance editor I paid for a critique. The editor followed strict critique guidelines and nothing more - a matter of $$$ of course. CP's do more than just critique to include critique, editing, proofreading, opinions, suggestions, etc. I only have one CP but could use 2-3 more, for sure.

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    1. Oh goodness. I would expect you to get way more out of a freelance editor. But that is something for me to be aware of.

      I'm glad you're enjoying NEVERLOVE thus far and look forward to whatever you may share so I can learn from it as well. Maybe we can work on CPing each other?

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  18. I love your attitude Angela. You will get where you're going because you are dedicated to learning and growing as you go. You go girl!! :)

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    1. And I have great folks like you, Raelyn, giving me the extra strength when my tank drops to vapors. Thank you so much!

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  19. A good critique can really help, it's up and down sometimes isn't it. Good luck with the MS.

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    1. Thanks, VikLit. I've been very lucky to have CP's, even if they only critted something one time, who were honest and open with their feedback. This critique happened to come at a good time when I was feeling down on my writing. It reminded me that imperfections don't mean the story isn't publishable and that there were a few good things in my story so it really helped, both the rips and smiles.

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  20. Not easy for ANYONE!

    You'll get there! You're dedicated, and dedication is what it takes. Much luck on the road. If you pass me, turn on your blinker so I have a head's up. ;)

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    1. Ref: If you pass me, turn on your blinker so I have a head's up. ;-)

      You bet, Charlie :-)

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  21. My very first critique partner gutted me like a fish. I was bleeding for days. It took me several weeks before I could read the crit again. By God and by golly. He was right. He's still one of my best friends--and still my CP.

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    1. He gave you the "what for and why" straight from the beginning and let you know he believed in your ability to be and do better...which probably has to do with me enjoying your stories so much :-)

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  22. Before my first novel was published, my CP went over every line and letter with a fine toothed comb. Yes...it was a tad painful, combing all the tangles out of my manuscript, but it was necessary. I take great comfort from something I learned about Danielle Steel, one of my favorite romance writers. She wrote her first novel, which was snapped right up and published with a fair amount of success. Then...no one would touch her next five (five!) novels. She kept writing! Her seventh novel was picked up - and she now boasts well over one hundred published titles! Wow! She said something in an interview that struck me. 'If I had given up, I'd not be where I am today.'
    I try to remember that when the going gets tough.

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    1. Wow, I didn't know that about Danielle Steel. Amazing what can happen with some serious stick-to-it-tive-ness.

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  23. Great post, Angela and great comments. I also find plum wine a wonderful standby. Never tried fuki plum - my version is damson.

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    1. Thanks, Mike. I think I'll have to check Damson out :-)

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  24. You got back into the saddle and that's the most important thing.

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    1. Thanks, Joy. I suppose you hit the nail on the head with that :-)

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  25. Aww. These are rough moments, but it helps us writers grow. Hang in there. If you need a laugh, check out my post. :)

    IWSG #179

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    1. Hmmm...well alright. Going to check it out :-)

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  26. Constructive comments from a knowledgeable person are worth a lot, so I'm glad you had that kind of feedback. And don't worry about jumping the gun. I think we've all done that, and probably more than once. Sometimes we don't know how much we don't know...and we don't always know when we're done with a project. It's a journey.

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Talk to me :-)
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