Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Another Disappointment

Okay guys, here is my latest update on my journey to get published; and as you can tell from the heading…you’d better get out the tissues.
Yep that’s right, yet another rejection. I shouldn’t really use that word.  Rejection, it sounds so…final, so rude and I know that that is not the case.  I think that I mentioned that I had submitted to an agency, well today I received a letter, or should I say a ‘With Compliments’ slip stating, very politely, that they were unable to offer me representation.
I don’t want to sound negative, but I knew this was a long shot. The agency I approached is one of the biggest in Australia, maybe a tad out of my league, but hey…I had to give it a go. Now, I am going to keep harping on about this throughout my blogs, and it is just as much to reassure myself as it is to suggest to you, that these rejections are not a reflection on the quality of our work.  I truly believe that and you should too; if you don’t believe in your work, then don’t even bother to send it out. Don’t stop writing though.  If you get half as much pleasure and satisfaction from your writing as I do from mine, then it is worth every single second you pour into it, even if you have no intention, or desire, or opportunity to publish.
If you were a fly on the wall around my place you would often hear me talking to myself, one of my favourite topics is the preparation for the rejection letters. I am not being negative, though I imagine a lot of you might be thinking, hang on…she just said if you don’t have faith in your work don’t send it off, and now she’s saying she’s expecting rejection letters.  Let me reiterate, I am not being negative, what I am being is realistic. I don’t want to build my hope up just to have it shattered into a thousand pieces. I understand that this is a very subjective industry, and I know that this is likely going to be a long haul.  As a result, I want to prepare myself for the rejection letters so that when they arrive, I am not totally deflated, demoralised or depressed.
My reasoning above is good in theory, but not fool-proof, because no matter how much I prepare myself for the dreaded rejection letters, they still affect me. So…I went to collect the mail yesterday and sitting on top of a small pile of bills was an envelope that I recognised.  I recognised it because it was the self-addressed, stamped envelope that I sent off with my submission. I didn’t have to open it to know that it was a rejection, the envelope felt thin and empty, so too did my soul. I’ll be the first to admit that that’s a bit melodramatic, but at that point in time, that is how I felt.
Anyway, I walked back down the driveway dragging my bin behind me, that’s not an analogy, it’s just that Wednesday is bin day, I went inside, sat down and opened the envelope to read my letter, or should I say my With Compliments slip. Does anyone else see the irony here; that they are rejecting my work, with compliments? The point is, despite all of my preparation the wind was well and truly taken out of my sails for the rest of the day.  I felt dejected, disheartened and discouraged.  All of the things I was trying to avoid.  I guess I’m not as tough as I thought I was.
The thing is though; here I am today, writing.  I am writing this blog.  I am writing a short story, which I would like to enter into the The Annual Scarlet Stiletto Awards, and I am making notes to continue my second novel. In short I am plodding on. I have had my brief period of feeling low, and now I am once again full of confidence, determination and hope.  And that my friends is why it is important to prepare yourselves for those rejection letters, because when you get them, and you probably will, you have to be prepared to dust yourself off, get back to your keyboard and continue your work, and one day, the letter in your mail box, or the email in your inbox will be something better than a rejection letter, it will be a letter of acceptance.
Isn’t that something worth working towards?

And if you should fall...

Get up, dust yourself off...

and try again.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Finding the Time

Where is it? Where is the time? People keep telling me that I have to find the time to do everything I need to do. 
I have to find the time to keep on top of my Social Media; Facebook and Twitter, both of which have turned out to be very distracting. Even now I have to keep stopping to check what the new Tweets have to say, even though most have absolutely no meaning to me, and of course my blog.  Now I see my blog as being the most important of the Social Medias for me.  It showcases my writing skills, consistency and ambition. At least it does for those of you who take the time to read it, (a few comments and followers would be good as well guys.) But I digress.
I also have to find the time to research for my writing and to find potential publishers. I have to prepare query letters, cover letters and synopses. Why not send the same to all?  Simply put, not all publishers request the same information in the same format, and each new submission must be addressed specifically for the publisher it is intended for. No copy and paste here guys.
Okay, so what else is there? I sleep when I need, that is the one thing my body insists upon, I don’t eat regularly, but that’s not all bad as I could do with losing a few kilos. We live on 2 acres and since hubby works full-time, the property is my responsibility, as are the dogs the chooks, the orchard and the vegie garden. Then there is the house-work, of course, washing, ironing and preparing meals. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about this, I mean I love my lifestyle and not having to work is a blessing, but I need to write, and that is the one thing that I am having trouble trying to find the time to do. Does this sound familiar?
My first book is complete and currently holding its breath at the publisher’s office, I have outlined books two and three and have started writing book two. But…I want to really get stuck into it and I just can’t find the time, so…if anyone out there knows where it is, please…just tell me.
Seriously though, it is hard to juggle day to day life with a love of writing, but not impossible.  You just have to find a method that works for you, be it writing when the inspiration hits you or writing to a timetable.  Personally, I find it best to break up my day into timed segments, that way I can fit everything in, and I always factor in a good deal of fun-time with my girls. I have to…they’d bite me on the bum if I didn’t.  Anyway…I am an early riser so I generally have all of my domestic duties under control, the chooks fed and the girls’ first playtime out of the way by 9am.  That’s when I make my way into my office, with a steaming mug of coffee clutched tightly in my hand.  I then spend no less than 2, and no more than 3 hours on my Social Media, before stopping for a break and a play with my girls. Then it’s down to business.
Depending on what stage I am at, I will either get straight into my research, or pick up my story where I left off. Today, as soon as I have posted this, I will be making another cuppa, and then I will open my folder labelled, A Taste of the Past, which is the sequel to A Taste of Reality, and is the second book in my Reality Bites trilogy, to review and then to continue my work. 
I will take a break for lunch when my stomach tells me to, and I generally work through until 4:30-5pm when I start to think about dinner and begin to wind down. I know that some writers will go all night, (writing people, writing) but that is not for me. My body is very regimented and at 6:07pm precisely my brain clocks off, or as my husband so succinctly puts it, I hit the wall.
So for me a 9 to 5 working day suits me well, I fit in a good 6 hours of quality work per day and I am happy with that. But everyone is different and trial and error is needed to find the most workable regime for you. All I will say is, once you have found a good working routine, whatever it may be, stick to it.
There's always time to chill out
I take one day off work, writing,  a week to do the groceries and a ‘big clean’. I read whenever I can, I need four hours to mow the paddock, oh, and I have two new gardens to buy for and plant. I also have to make the curtains for the office and move all of our 1000+ books from the laundry cupboard to somewhere else, because the mice are eating them. The girls need a bath and the chooks need de-lousing.  The fruit trees need feeding and pruning and my rose garden needs tending to, I have to take the trailer to get more mulch and order the sleepers for the new sections.  I need…I need… bugger it…I need more time!