A Room of My Own

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged – sometimes life has the habit of getting in the way, something I’m not always proud of. I wish I could say a lot has happened on the manuscript front, but there is not much to report.

After my first round of submissions, I have yet to receive the “yes” I was hoping for. But I won’t let that hiccup stop me. I was given some constructive advice and now I’m in the process of making those necessary improvements. Unfortunately, it’s been a little more difficult than I expected, especially since my whole creative process has been thrown into a tailspin.

In the past, I’ve always had my own space – a room away from the pressures of everyday life. With my laptop in front of me and my books nearby, my bedroom was a writing sanctuary of sorts. Now, living with my husband, everything suddenly went from “my” to “our.” It’s not “my” room, but now “our” room. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great – on a personal note, I’m happier than ever, but I’m now struggling to find my place to think and write.

Words that originally failed to resonate with me in university are now ringing true, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Virginia Woolf must have been married when she wrote that.

Now more than ever, I realize that I need my own space. Away from the disruptions of life and household chores, a place I can just be with my thoughts. Since I don’t have that perfect room, I think I’ll at least try to find the mental space I need and give myself a designated time to put everything else aside and just write.

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Unpacking My Way Into A New Life

It’s amazing to think that my wedding and honeymoon are really over.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not one of those mournful brides, sad that this amazing, happy time is over.  It’s just that sometimes, I can’t believe that it really happened.  And I need to look at pictures just to reassure myself that it really did.

The wedding was perfect.  A cool, comfortable September day with ideal weather for our outdoor ceremony and the evening was a party that I will never forget.  The honeymoon was dream.  We visited places I’ve always fantasized about seeing – from Bath to London and Paris to the French Riviera.

But now that I’m home (even with a little jetlag), my husband and me (still getting used to using that word) are settling into our new place and trying to make it into our home.  And with all of the wedding craziness behind me, I’m ready to get back to my writing.

While I didn’t really have much time to write in the weeks before my wedding, I somehow managed to rework the beginning of my book.  I always knew it needed some tweaking.  But it wasn’t until I received an email from an agent I was querying who suggested that the beginning didn’t grab her as much as she’d hoped it would that I realized what I needed to do.

I spent the next couple evenings rewriting the first few chapters, trying to find a way to really hook my reader.   Even with those early changes, I know I’m not nearly done.  But I’m excited to see what I can do.

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The Countdown Is On

With my wedding now a mere three days away, I haven’t found much time to write.  In between vendor appointments, hair trials, and dress fittings, things have been really busy, to say the least.

I’m sitting in my bedroom now, looking down at my wedding speech (guess I’ve managed to do some writing) and glancing at my gown and veil, which are hanging on my closet door.  It’s hard to imagine that in no time I’ll be reading this speech and wearing this dress – completely surreal.

Even though life as I know it will change forever after this Labour Day Weekend, in some ways, it will still be the same.  I’ll still be writing, I’ll still be working, and I’ll still be doing every thing I can to get my book published.

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No (More) News Is Good News?

Well…maybe not.  No news can only mean one of two things – thanks, but no thanks or we haven’t got around to reading your query yet.  Let’s just say, I’m hoping for the later.

I understand that things slow down in the summer, explaining why I haven’t heard back from my remaining queries in the last week or so, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to hear some response.

Some response?  Who am I kidding, I want that ‘yes.’

So I’ll cross my fingers and hope that these agents are on summer vacation, enjoying the warm weather and the sun.  And when they’re back, they’ll be refreshed and excited to read something new.

For now, I’ll appreciate the last few weeks of summer (even with the back to school commercials already airing) and more importantly, enjoy the few remaining weeks before my Labour Day Weekend wedding.   I couldn’t think of a better distraction.

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Back to My Life

Now I’m back in the city and back to my everyday life.  Back to wedding planning, buying furniture for my new home, and inevitably hearing back from some of my queries.

When the reply popped up in my mailbox this morning, the butterflies returned, a slight grin appeared on my face, and once again I anticipated what could be waiting for me.   I clicked on the email and tried to keep the butterflies at bay as I read, “Thanks for this query but we are not adding to our overcrowded client list at this time.  Good luck with your project in the publishing world.”

All right, another no.  I can handle it, it’s just part of the game.  Now it’s back to waiting, waiting for more replies and actively seeking out the right agent.  I know the right one’s out there.  I just need to find him/her.  I’ve managed to find the right man, now I just need to find the right agent.  Let’s just hope that this one doesn’t take 20 years.

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An Interrupted Holiday

Even though I am away from the city, up at the cottage, overlooking the still waters of the lake, my laptop still tethers me to my everyday reality.  I can’t help but check my emails and stay in touch, even when everything here – the beach, the pool, and the Muskoka chairs – are screaming at me to relax.  I guess I refuse to let myself really get away, even when every morsel of my being knows I need this little break.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when I received another response to one of my queries today.  And even with the beach calling, I still needed to see what it said.  But this time I didn’t hold my breath, I didn’t pray for a ‘yes’ (even though I definitely wanted one), I just let whatever was going to happen, happen.  So I read.

Like all the others, it began with a pleasant greeting and a thank you for sending my interesting query.  Then this one continued, “The concept has many worthwhile elements, but due to our workload, I do not believe we are quite the right agency for this project.  We are rarely able to add new authors to our roster.”

All right, so it wasn’t a ‘yes.’  But at least it was a positive and somewhat encouraging ‘no.’  They thought my book was worthwhile.   And I know that someone else will feel the same, someone who can take on more authors.

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Late Night Reply

Late last night, before I was about to fall asleep, I decided to check my email.  I don’t know what prompted me to do it.  It wasn’t like I was planning on writing anyone.  But for some reason, I opened my account, and was hit with a rush of butterflies when I noticed a reply to one of my queries.

“Please let it be another Yes!” I silently pleaded as I clicked on the email.  I was still waiting to hear back from the agency that requested some of my chapters two weeks ago as well as the fifteen or so other agencies I queried a week earlier.

When I read the first few words, “Thanks for your query,” I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to be another rejection.  I don’t know if it was the lack of positive punctuation at the end of the sentence or the fact that it stood alone under the greeting, but a little voice inside of me started preparing me for another no.

As I read on, my suspicions proved correct.  The agent politely stated that her agency represented many fiction writers and that she was not passionate enough about the premise of novel to be the right person to represent it.

All right, I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you obviously can judge one by its query.  That’s all right with me.  You can’t win over everyone, even the most successful New York agent.  But success isn’t everything.  I’ll go for passion over success every day and hold out for the agent who is as passionate about my story as I am.

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