Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for...

Sing it with me...

Everything I do, I do it for...ME!

Well, not everything, but everything having to do with writing. Writing is the most selfish thing I've done for myself in a long time. As a mom and wife, most of what I do tends to revolve around everyone else. I think that's also why I'm so addicted to the night time; it's the only time I have entirely to myself, and it's hard to let that go. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having time with the kids, time with the family and time with just my husband. It's just that I also enjoy time to myself. I'm about one step up from a hermit sometimes in needing time to myself.

Writing, however, is something I enjoy, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone else. I'm very lucky to have a husband who is entirely supportive, and who watches the kids so I can go to all these writing things. He even misses work here and there for some of the meetings, as well as two days for the conference. He rocks!

E is also for...


I'm not a phone person, so I tend to prefer emails. However, some of those emails can be nerve wracking to send. For instance, submitting a story to a magazine/anthology/contest. Sending an email to make a connection with someone or some entity, like a writer's group, is also something that makes me uncomfortable, and that I've done recently. Once you send that email, there is no taking it back (well, most of the time). There's such an odd feeling of relief and trepidation in those moments after the message disappears from the outbox.

But the one that made me think of this topic is one I'm going to come clean about, because it is a bit embarrassing. There was an opportunity presented from one of the circles I've been in lately with other writers. It was to present an idea that could be pitched and possibly lead to something more, like publishing. I went back and forth on it for a couple days (there was a deadline of about a month, I think), then sat down and worked on a bit of a query letter, though it was an informal thing. I tried to make the query letter semi-formal, but also friendly, as it was meant to be informal, but I thought it would be good practice for a query letter, as well. I agonized over it, edited it, let it sit to be sure this was really what I wanted to do, edited it some more. I had to agree to talk on the phone if the person was interested, which, as I've already mentioned, is not my thing. I was nervous as can be about that aspect, as well as the risk of being rejected.

I'm not a fan of rejection. Who is?

I finally sent it.

Know what? I never heard back. No rejection. No sign it had been received. It was not an agent I was sending it to, so we're not talking about a situation where 600 queries are received. It was an offer open only to a specific group of people.

I have no idea if it was received, or if I even sent it successfully. It was not from my email, but via an online program.

It was rather anti-climactic after all the fear and pondering whether I was going to send it. All that back and forth and anxiety, for nothing. For disappointment, plain and simple. I wish I knew if the person thought the idea sucked, if my query sucked, or if it just wasn't received. However, I didn't want to harass the person by following up, thereby possibly burning a bridge or angering them and getting back a nasty rejection. I still have to co-exist with said person in said circle.

I don't wish I hadn't sent it, though. It was very far outside my comfort level, and I'm glad I took the step. I probably should have followed up, very briefly and politely, though it is too late now. For awhile, I just kept checking for messages and waiting, waiting, waiting. At that point, I just thought I was waiting for that response and giving them time. We learn not to harass actual agents with follow-ups, right? I felt like it was the same sort of thing, where my following up wouldn't be taken well. But now I wonder if I was just chicken and missed an opportunity.

What would you have done? Would you have followed up or let it go and waited? Would you have approached a situation like that with an official query letter or with a completely informal note?

And what selfish things do you do for yourself?

Happy Writing!


  1. Honestly, it would have depended on how important to me the specific project was. However, I do tend to be one to follow up, especially if there is no response at all. I'll just do the "did you receive the email I sent" thing and let it go at that.

    As for doing things for myself... I'm not very good at that. Even the writing thing is not totally for myself. Probably the closest I get is Farmville, which is the bane of my life, right now, and I need to stop it.

  2. Ah yes, I got hooked on various Facebook games at different times (including Farmville, which I finally completely blocked). I thought I'd finally saved myself until I came across Oregon Trail, which is also highly addictive. I've gone a week, though, so I think I might be over it.

  3. Hmm... yeah... I don't even want to make a list of all the different facebook games I've done. I've determined to not start any new ones, and I've succeeded for a while, now. Still can't force myself to get rid of farmville, though :(

  4. Yep, my writing time is awesome. It's a selfish thing, but not, since I do enjoy it and we all need a release of some sort.

    Also, I'd have done that same thing as you in that whole email situation thing. Frustrating though, isn't it?

  5. Great, having the courage to send it. Keep doing this again and again until you are accepted. It will happen.

  6. Do you know something Shannon - I could have written this blog. I so relate to the points - from the selfish time/writing being for you, right to the preference to send e-mails.

    The e-mail thing is something we shall have to conquer together. You do realise, it's because it's easy to 'hide' behind e-mails - with e-mails, you have time to think and consider what you write - or at least, that's how it is for me.

    I couldn't have said any of this so quickly to you if I had been speaking over the phone.

    Really good to make your aquaintance and look forward to following your posts, the A-Z challenge and all your writing.

    warm wishes

    Ps - to answer your point - I wouldn't have chased it either. It was a rejection, even if the agent didn't have the time (or inclination) to send a note to let you know. Many of them don't get back to us. Don't waste your time on it. Believe me, they would soon be in touch if they were interested. Yes it's frustrating. And rude ;)

    Keep going. Move on to the next. And see any rejections that have even the slightest snippet of feedback as a bonus, and an opinion/opportunity to use and devour.

  7. Hi there! Well, I also know the stress and aggitation of waiting to hear if you are one of the lucky few who have been published. I waited MONTHS, nearly a year, before I got my reply on nice pretty letterhead that said NO. I cried for the next year. Of course, that's what I get for trying to get into George Lucas' universe, but still...

    Good luck on your try!! Who knows...maybe you haven't been rejected after all!!

    And I absolutely LOVE your blog title!

    (My blog is This End Upside Down. As I am still new to this blogging thing, I have no idea how to link it so I hope you can find the time to find it and check it out!)

  8. I am totally not a phone person either - I avoid it at all costs, especially when it comes to talking to people I don't know. I'm pretty much a hermit, writing and family are my life right now. I really don't know what I would have done in that situation, I think it would be a case-by-case thing. I hate the idea of harassing someone, too, but then you're curious and anxious, and it would be nice to know if the email even got there or not. It's scary sending those emails in the first place (I sent a submission for an anthology the other day and even though it wasn't my first time, it was the first in awhile and I was TERRIFIED! lol), then to not even hear a word really sucks.

  9. Andrew, yes, I think part of the reason I was able to get out was that there were a bunch of glitches. Rather than deal with the frustration, I was out.

    Jolene, the most frustrating part is that it was another author, not an agent or publisher. Someone who knows what that feels like. Ah well.

    Carole, thank you!

    Debbie, Oh yes, the hermit in me is happy to be able to hide. I can actually talk face-to-face more easily than on the phone, but I think that's because I can read the person better in person. Very true on the rest of it. I'm sure I'll face many more rejections before I'm published. I just hope they will come with some manner of feedback.

    Lydia, I was able to visit by clicking on your name and finding your blog that way. Thank you for the compliment on the blog title! Wow at being made to wait almost a year. It makes me inclined to only query those that give you a time period for when you will hear from them before you can assume they said no.

    Marie, I imagine that since it was another author, I should probably have contacted her, but I was too wishy washy on it. Live and learn, right?