Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where I'm At

First, I hope all of you have a wonderful, relaxing Labor Day!

For this post, I just thought I'd share a run-down of where I'm at in my writing.

I have a proposal for an older manuscript with an agent, but she's had it a long time so I'm not sure if the interest is there. Hoping though, and still very excited that it's under consideration. :-)

I'm almost done editing this WIP and then I'm going to give it to a few people to read over. This is also the WIP I'm planning to pitch at the conference in two weeks.

Not only that, but I just got some contest results back on this WIP.

*cringe*

I'm smarting still, but mostly at my own stupidity. I forgot to change my synopsis to reflect the changes in my WIP. Therefore, my motivations didn't line up and both the judges caught discrepancies between what the plot was supposed to be and what the chapters were showing. There were also some other excellent suggestions, but overall my scores were low so that wasn't the best e-mail for me to open before trying to do edits.

But I'll bounce back. That's what writers do. We suck up the good comments, second-guess them but still LUV them, and we shudder at the bad (aka necessary) ones and plow forward with them to guide us.

What do you do when something doesn't go how you expected? Where are you with your writing? On a lighter note, any fun plans for Labor Day?

34 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

Hey Jess, great post. I think handling negative feedback can be difficult, but like you said, oh so necessary if we want to build the writer within us.

If things don't go how I expected they would, which is often :) I take a look at the expectation. I ask myself if it was reasonable, grounded in reality or planted in fairy land. Not that fairy land is necessarily a bad thing, some stuff that I didn't expect to fly has actually flown! But I think it helps to look within first and then see what I can take away from the experience.

I think everything thing happens for a reason. Even dashed expectations. I just don't always understand until much later what that reason was. And sometimes not at all...
all the best as you finish editing.

Wend's Place said...

I think we can be our own worse enemy at times!

When I make a mistake I am so hard on myself it takes me yonks to recover.

Recently I have been being less judgemental of myself and accepting I am only human and I make mistakes and often those mistakes can be useful! I turn them into something good.

I now believe in TRUSTING LIFE and relaxing and not being so hard on myself ~ enjoy! Then things flow and you become a lot better at dealing with stressful situations and promoting yourself.

Jessica said...

Hi Tabitha,
Great advice about expectations. I think you're right. Thanks for the encouragement. :-)

Jessica said...

Hi Wend,
I agree. I get too hard on myself too, and I'm trying to learn to stop. I like that thought to enjoy. :-) Going to work on that. Thanks for stopping by and for the advice. :-)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Way to take the critique positively. It's hard to hear our babies are flawed (even when deep down we already know it). But the comments will make your WIP stronger. Then you'll be that much more confident at conference.
I went to a cookout yesterday and today is a hair party (aka hair dresser comes to the house and does mine and my friends hair for half price.)
Enjoy the weekend!

Warren Baldwin said...

I like how you can see the good in the postive and the negative. I think that is important to hang in there for the long haul.

Where am I in my writing? My book was in the process of being printed when I caught a couple of things I wanted changed. That will delay it now for a couple of more weeks.

For labor day we plan on heading to the mtns in New Mexico. Hope you have a good day.
wb

Stephanie Faris said...

That's why I hate including a synopsis with my contest entry...my synopsis is often a work in progress...and I SUCK at writing synopses anyway but I guess I need to know if I have something off-kilter.

Nat said...

Oh, it's so hard to get negative feedback! During the revision process I was really grateful for anything negative. It gave me something to work on. Positive comments don't really make my writing better :)

When I was querying (up until last week actually), whenever I'd get a rejection I'd send 2 new queries out. It made the rejection sting a little less.

Good luck on the submission and the almost finished WIP! Happy Labor Day.

Marybeth Poppins said...

Now first off... I've got that Beck song in my head (I've got two turn tables and a microphone)

Now...sorry bout the contest results.

I'm still trying to decide what to do with my finished WIP. I have days where I want to trash it and other days where I have hope for it. I'm not really sure what to do. I added another chapter to my 2nd WIP. But that one is very slow going.

Good luck at the conference!

Janna Qualman said...

I'm sorry to hear about it, Jessica. But you're right, and I know you're resilient. Just think about how it's helping you grow! All those little uncomfortable pieces make up our whole, with it more sturdy and beautiful in the end.

Have a great Labor Day!

MeganRebekah said...

I think you definitely have the right attitude! Nobody likes receiving criticism, but you know you have to get it to truly improve your work. You're on the right path, so keep at it and keep working hard!!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Hi, Jessica!

Way to keep moving forward!! Those comments for your older manuscript will only help to make it better. I know how much they hurt, though. That definitely isn't fun!!

I actually wrote a nonfiction piece yesterday and I hope to write a few more for a magazine. So that's fun! Right now I'm still brainstorming my new story.

Have a great long weekend!

Tina M. Russo said...

You nailed that, lol. We writers spend most of the time sucking up the ouches. But it's a totally subjective profession so it's not going to change.

Kudos to for having the smarts to send your stuff out to contests. Makes it easier when you sell and some cranky reviewer decides you aren't the next Hemingway. To each his own.


I've got 8 chapters left on my WIP and hope a BIAW will help me finish it. Then doing a mini writers retreat --never done that before--to kick start the next manuscript. Leaving work on a Friday in October and staying at a hotel with another writer until we leave for work Monday am. No leaving the room (until Monday).

I'm jazzed!!!!

T. Anne said...

Good girl! Pull yourself up, and dust yourself off.
Oh Jessica, I could entertain you for HOURS just with the mistakes I made in writing alone. BIG ONES. Ones that would make your head spin. Don't worry. You can't mess up God's timing no matter how hard you try. (I'm certain of this). Also, if it's any consolation, I just finished praying for all my blogging buddies who are going to this conference a few minutes before I read this. Prayer avails much, right?

Jenna said...

Eep. But at least you're still moving forward! So many people just give up. But that's not what real writers do, now, is it? :)

I try to take things as they come, without getting to worked up about them. Got a rejection? Study it, improve query, and move on. Got a bad critique? Fix the issue in the MS and move on. I've really developed a thick skin lately.

As for where I am, I'm in the thick of what I hope are final revisions before I start querying again. :D

No real plans for Labor Day other than relaxing. I may try to convince my chef dad to make me a pie, though. :)

Katie Ganshert said...

This is a fun post. Sorry about the not-so-high scores. That's never fun. But just like you said -we bounce back!

With my writing:
- One of my ms's (my very first one) is getting critiqued by my fabulous crit partner

- My other two ms's are ready for submission. Proposals are finished. I'm not going to start submitting/querying until AFTER the conference though.

- One of my ready-to-submit ms's is submitted into a contest. Results due back at the end of Sept.

- And I just finished my outline for my new WIP, which is awesome, because I write incredibly detailed outlines.

Happy Labor Day Jessica!!

Terri Tiffany said...

I love your attitude Jessica and that you were willing to share with us the good and the bad. Makes all of us more willing to share cause it really is all about the ups and downs.
One of my critique partners finished my WIP and the other is almost done. I then want to have a few others read it. Non-writers. And then I will make more changes I am sure before I submit it. I have the query and synopsis done on it at least. Then to pick some agents to send it to. Ugh.

Kathryn Magendie said...

if something doesn't go as I thought it would, I try someone else, somewhere else, some way else - it's a tough business! But, it lead me to Bellebooks and I love them.

As for labor day - working on Secret Graces! and R&T zine stuff :)

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

It's so easy, I know from personal experience, to let the rejections of writing make you sometimes want to sit back and wonder if you'll ever get published.

But writing rejections is like the saying "If life gives you lemons (rejections) then make lemonade (write some more.)

I wish I could be there to give you hugs, get my pom-poms out and cheer you on and help you work through the edits. Even though I can't, know that I'm there in spirit sending you support and encouragement.

As to where I am...starting over. Last year was an incredible year for me. I accomplished so much with my writing, got short stories published, won contests and an award and wrote my first book.

This year not much has happened with my writing mostly due to illness. I've had to take time out but I'm back and learned so much during that time. I'm starting my second book and getting ready to do a couple of short stories.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i think you have such a great attitude about things! that's half the battle. take the good, get better with the bad. :)

i finished my WIP that i'll be pitching at conference. that's awesome. i decided to add some discussion questions and i'm almost done with the proposal, although, like katie, i won't submit until after conference.

i'm now toying with the plot lines for my new WIP!

Deb Shucka said...

At least you know what you contributed to the problem so you can avoid that next time. And my experience is that those mistakes often lead us to better places than we might have been if we do nothing at all.

I'm querying. Then need to figure out the next step. Yikes!

Terresa said...

Want to jump on my trampoline awhile? That's where I go to bounce back from time to time.

I had a *cringe* writing experience a few months ago...I'd submitted an essay for the Dreyers ice cream block party contest. I was excited, especially anticipating the prize: 10 gallons of free ice cream.

You can imagine my embarassment when I read the "You've won" email and then re-read my essay only to discover I'd spelled "Dreyers" incorrectly. Duh, that was the brand I was writing for.

It was a humbling experience. And the ice cream was great.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

When I've had negative comments to a WIP, I vent and then slowly sort through them. I'm doing some intense editing right now and not sure how my story or future books will be affected.

I'm going to a friend's birthday brunch tomorrow. Then, I'll head home, write, and do some work around the house.

Blessings,
Susan :)

sherrinda said...

I love your attitude. Acceptance and determination. Sure it hurts, but I am just now learning to swallow the pain and remember that I want to learn all I can and it is all for my good! :)

Having said that, after reading the edits for my first 5 chapters from my dad, I am scared to death to get started. I keep thinking about it, but can't seem to make myself just jump in and get started.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I'm sorry about the whole writing-contest sadness, but I'm glad you have such a positive outlook. Let's see when something doesn't go my way... Well you know about the lost words this week. I cried. Then prayed. Then wrote. Yes, writers must be the of the bouncing-back variety.

Debra E Marvin said...

Hi Jessica.
Hope your bruises are healing well. Like Deb S said, at least you know where you contributed to the low scores. And it can be fixed and improved. I can't wait to meet you in person at the conference.

My WIP that I hoped to pitch is not ready. This conference will be about meeting my new friends, attending the workshops and discussions and enjoying the fellowship.

Labor Day here is the last weekend the family comes for a get together till Thanksgiving. Lots of dogs and the highlight has been watching my granddaughter who is taking her first tentative steps.

Jessica said...

You guys are awesome! Thanks so much for sharing advice and your own journeys! I wanted to respond to everyone but I didn't get a chance. Hope you all are having a great day today!

Debra, I'm looking forward to meeting you too! Enjoy your granddaughter. :-)

Lady Glamis said...

Awww, sorry to hear about that experience. But you're right, you will learn from it!

My writing is moving along beautifully. Finally, I love this baby. Love it love it love it. That took way too long. *sigh*

Have fun on your weekend!

anita said...

So proud of you for picking yourself up, dusting off, and getting on that cantankerous pony again, Jessie!

I've reached the 80% done mark on my word widget for the WIP. WOOHOO!

Here's hoping I'll have another chapter to send your way tonight.

Have a great day, girl!

ElanaJ said...

I like how you said, "bounce back." That's what I try to do. Another thing: learn more. Get better. Anything that motivates me to do that is a win in my book.

Dara said...

I get disappointed when something isn't received the way I thought it would be. Even though my first chapter for my WiP went well at critique, there were still issues they found that made me have to re-evaluate the entire story. NOT fun, but necessary.

I'm currently in research for the book, deciding to do as much as I can before NaNo so I don't have to put (insert cultural aspect here) in parenthesis because I don't know. I've been very fortunate on the research front and have found a ton of info. I'm pretty glad I decided to move the main action of the book up 250 years or so because there's tons more info available there.

Anyway, this weekend was busy; went to Fair at New Boston and then the Labor Day parade today (which was seriously the longest parade I've ever been to). And then I took a two hour nap. :)

Jessica said...

A fair at New Boston? That sounds so cool. I didn't realize there was an old and a new.

Victoria Dixon said...

Hang in there and good luck! I think we've all done stuff like this at one time or another, so we all feel for you! :)

Jessica said...

Thanks Victoria. :-)