Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Forgive Me...

...for neglecting the blog. Besides lack of computer and internet access, the only other option (post at work) disappeared. There is only one reason I would stop blogging: the day job. After new management took over, I was informed that my performance wasn't measuring up. At the time, this crushed me. Especially after three and half years of proven success and six months prior receiving another exceptional performance review.

Then the rage followed. Me, my friends and family all raged. My best supporters in anything that I do, know from me telling them all of the extra stuff that I do on a daily basis that is not in my job description. I was more hurt that those who knew this meeting would occur, and knew how much I dedicated myself to this position, didn't warn me in advance.

Then I got productive. Looking for other jobs, while compiling evidence in case I am wrongfully terminated and need to take legal action.

After days of a blind rage, I realized what this really was about. Attacking my performance was complete BS. It's a numbers game. That's all the new people care about. How many people there is. And if the numbers are not what they expected or have dreamed up there should be, then it's my fault. I'm the person to blame. But it's not in my job description to secure numbers.

Now after weeks to calm down enough so the anger is just below the surface, I'm being truly careful to really use the internet at lunch, still looking for another day job where I'll be appreciated, see everyone involved in the situation as backstabbers and opporuntists, and still making a case (if necessary). To say that I work in a hostile environment is putting it lightly (only they don't know it).

What I did learn from this experience is that I'm not intimidated. I know what I've done and what I'll continue to do until I leave. I can't wait for that day, cause that will be the day I'll speak my mind.

With the computer issues at home now resolved, there is only one thing to say: It's good to be back!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Fleeting Milestone High

After receiving another rejection email today, I feel a little down (the milestone high is wearing off). In an insanity filled second I wanted to scream, "What do you want from me?" Needless to say, my frustration grew. It's hard not to be frustrated when you hear (read) that the business is subjective for the umpteenth time. Do you know how I hate that word? How it has become the equivalent of nails-against-the-chalkboard for me. How many times I've seen that word in every type of sentence trying to let me down the easy way after the inital version of I'm not interested. I'm a big girl, I can take the rejection without padding, or the implication that someone else might be interested. I obviously know that, which is why I researched and queried more than one agent.

Rant over. I feel better now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Small Milestones And Accomplishments

Sometimes it's the little things that make me giddy. A television show that I'm obsessed with, returns to the airwaves. My envisioned dish and/or dessert is executed without too much difficulty. Since I'm too cheap to go to the movies but have nothing but time, the DVD of a movie I've dieing to see has finally been released. I step on the scale and discover that I lost weight. All these instances produce the same glee, but the ones that keep me flying are those that pertain to my writing.

This morning I reached 25k (actually passed that) on my newest WIP (Work In Progress). This small feat means several things to me: 1. I'm committed to finishing this WIP. 2. My projected deadline for the first draft is doable. 3. I'm actually writing, despite bouts of writer's block and being overworked at my day job.

Very little can destroy my natural writer's high. It's a personal accomplishment that no one else will be able to understand or savor the way that I'm doing right at this moment. Even a rejection email for my manuscript wouldn't be able to diminish this.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It Happens For A Reason

If you're a believer that everything happens for a reason, then my recent up rise in rejections (querying, as well as job changing), then the (hopefully) last disappointment will add to the unknown reason. Not to be personal (it's better if I keep something's a mystery), I work in Higher Education (full time and adjuncting). I got an email that my adjunct class was cancelled due to low enrollment. Apparently, seniority doesn't mean anything, otherwise I would've been given the full class.

Hearing my recent plight, everyone is telling me that it happened for a reason. It would be nice to know what that reason was. Sure, I'll be able to focus more on my writing considering I only have my full time day job to drive me crazy, but I had that "break" all Summer and I was looking forward to teaching again. Plus, missing this semester blows my accumulated succession of semesters, making it no longer free to take non-credited courses. Although I didn't partake on them, I just reached such a status last semester ago (ergo, not enough time).

Now feeling really down about this latest debacle (though the anger has helped with my writing), I'm left speculating what "reason" there is for all of this opposition. Here are a few that I came up with:

1. Writing related. I will finish the first draft of my latest project, and receive representation for my previous one. Therefore, my days will be pretty busy juggling the two (i.e. revisions of two different levels).

2. I will prepare this Fall and get an even better adjunct position for the Spring.

3. Since I'm looking for new full time employment (keeping my options open), I receive an offer and begin a new journey at a different college.

4. Nothing happens.

Being a complete skeptic, I vote for option 4, but there is a little glimmer of optimism in me that I'll be surprised and have a mixture of the top three. Who knows, it could happen.

To Be Continued......

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Breaking the Wall

Everyone can agree that rejection sucks no matter what it's for. Last week was pretty brutal in terms of rejections (five for queries/ one for a full), and a job "we're going with another applicant" email. It made me a little depressed (for about thirty seconds), then it made me pissed. That anger fueled my creativity, ending the writer's block I couldn't escape for weeks. More sarcasm, less weakling, my words began to flow. This is probably the only time I would be thankful for a tough week, since it brought me to another level. It was the kick in the butt I needed to persevere.

Would it be in bad form to say, thanks?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Nothing Personal

If you recall, in "I'm Not a Stalker...Really" I expressed my desire to work with an agent who had an Internet presence in the form of an excellent blog. Well the email that I was waiting for came and it was a rejection (form) letter (email). Ending the possibilities of finding a home for my project and all projects to come. Normally, I'm able to take the blow and move on, but it has become clear, that a rejection over a query is very different than having a manuscript rejected.

In "Mixed Reviews," I ranted how it's mind blowing agents can decide on whether to see your manuscript based on a query (and possibly sample pages). Those rejections I can handle without seeing it as personal (I received five in the past two days and I'm still standing-unfazed). Agents (and gatekeepers) are bombarded with writer hopefuls, praying that someone will find interest with their work. But when a agent finds interest, requests more and than rejects you, how can you not take it personal?

Take this analogy if you will. To me, the query letter is like an annoying door-to-door salesperson ringing (and/or knocking) on your door. A request for a partial/full manuscript is the same as offering that person into your home. Do you know how rare access is? So once you get inside it's up to the salesperson to convince the homeowner to purchase what he/she is selling. In the world of publishing, once a substantial sample of your work is in an agent's hands, it's your writing that will have that impact necessary to obtain representation.

There are many reasons why an agent won't offer representation. Either he/she didn't connect to the material. The writing sucked. The story sucked. Too much to revise. Not easily marketable. Unfortunately, the agent most of the time gives a polite form rejection letter that usually implies that the manuscript wasn't the problem, but the agent's enthusiasm towards it was. It's (again) polite and encouraging, but still gives the author hope that one agent will have that fervor the others lacked. But, if the writing and/or story sucked, an agent's acceptance will never come. For some that might be okay, but for me I would like to know.

If a writer's growth is based on how he/she progresses through revisions and further projects, then it would be helpful to know an agent's honest opinion. Especially, if she/he thought it was worth reading. I'm not asking for line to line analysis, just one's overall perception. It still can be polite, just straight to the point. Why should I waste another agent's time if the manuscript is completely doomed? Besides, I'm still going to possess the same thoughts with a formed rejection then I would without being told the truth.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mood of the Day....


Blasting nothing but Kittie (Brackish and Charotte).

Maybe I'll discuss it further tomorrow.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Procratination 101

I am a major slacker when it comes to doing work. Writing doesn't become "work" to me until it's time to editor in preparation for the next draft or the final line edit. Besides the bouts of writer's block, writing is an enjoyable experience. It have everything in your head come neatly together on paper. It's the ultimate natural high.

But when procrastination does hits, whether it's writer's block or not, here are a few types that have helped me:

  • Discover the cost - Is procrastinating keeping you from getting what you want? If the answer is yes (which it usually is with me), then this might be the kick in the butt that you need to do the tedious chore (whatever that might be) that you've been putting off.

  • Let feelings follow action - Do it first. Your mood will catch up. Once I'm in my protagonist's world, it doesn't matter how I got there, I'm still riding the wave.

  • Be aware of your best time of day - That's when you can get your work done. I'm a night person. I rarely can hit my stride before 10pm.
  • Learn to Say No - Ignoring your own responsibilities to do something else, is one way to lose the grasp of what you need to do.
  • Ask “What’s My MIT (Most Important Task)? - Finding the answer to this question will help you realize what needs to be done.
  • Break Down Large Tasks - Expand the task over days for completion. Unless you're one of the lucky writers who don't work or have other responsibilities besides writing, the likelihood of getting all your editing (etc.) work done in one day is impossible, besides unwise (you'll miss something).
  • Plan Rewards - Rewarding yourself after completion of assignment is essential. It fosters positive reinforcement. It’s your own “pad on the back” for completing the job. And besides, you might not fall into the procrastination rut if you know a reward is waiting for you once you finish this daunting task in the writing process.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mixed Reviews

So far, agents (or the gatekeepers to those agents), either love me or hate me (my query that is), based on query alone. I find it odd that a one paragraph synopsis could have the agent interested or not. Some say that the query is harder than writing the manuscript in the first place. I seriously would have to agree. It's extremely difficult to say, "Read me!" within two paragraphs.

My usual query letter has two paragraphs dedicated to the manuscript (paragraph one: the hook; paragraph two: the synopsis), followed by a paragraph dedicated to me as a writer (my inexperience in the writing world and my marginal successes in other writing realms) and then I end the letter with why I thought the agent would be interested in my book (sometimes citing examples of work they've represented).

That is not hardly enough to base a decision if you like it or not. So obviously the agent (or gatekeeper) must be going on subject matter alone. Not the YA part, because I wouldn't have queried them if they didn't represent YA, it's the type. This seems to be the problem with my creativity.

I write YA (which I mentioned before), but not the fairytale "everything's going to be fine" type. I feel that if the voice is to be believable, there can't be a fairytale ending, just comprehension - growth. My protagonist has a journey to make, and she comes in contact with others on their own journeys. Naturally there's no smooth sailing, she's a teenager. That alone should scream the makings of an emotional rollercoaster in the land of the unknown (which could be anything).

Isn't that the goal of writing YA? To capture the uncertainty, while showing the growth that comes from discovering the unknown? I admit my world is darker or "edgier" than some, but it's still the same world. Nothing is sugar coated and syrupy sweet, but does that mean because of its rough edges, it will be passed up? Where only a brave few will be willing to read passed the initial query? Has it come to me making the edges disappear so that more agents will be interested? I can't even fathom an unrealistic imaginary world of force fed happiness.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Soundtracking Your Life

If your life was a movie, what songs would be playing as backdrops to the scenes in your life? On any given day (hour), I jump on the music spectrum from rock to rap, with some heavy mental scattered in. Not to forget the mid-spectrum rock-rap like Jayz and Linkin Park or Rage Against the Machine (Oh how I would've loved to have been Mrs. Zach De La Rocha). Then there's classical, R&B, Pop and those "oldies" no one can escape. Plus, there's the music I can't categorize like Tricky (Is he considered techno?) Regardless, these are the melodies that forever play in my head. My MP3 Player is a testament to my diverse musical palate.

Today I found myself wavering between a don't-mess-with-me-or-you'll-get-the-wrath-meant-for-someone-else mood and a just-leave-me-alone-and-let-me-be-glum mood. Since I'm borderline paranoid, I won't go into specifics. Let's just say that I am having a difficult time with a recent meeting I had with my supervisor, that left a bitter taste in my mouth. One that has me loathing waking up on a weekday. Couple that with my mild case of writer's block and a chest cold that refuses to develop or defuse, I'm a snarky force to be reckon with. Therefore, my soundtrack today thus follows:

Jayz/Linkin Park - 99 Problems

Kittie - Brackish

Beth Hart - Learning to Live

Howie Day - Collide

Howid Day - Sorry So Sorry

God Smack - Whatever

Garbage - Bleed Like Me

Everly - Maybe

Korn - One

Eminem/Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie (I guess the secret's out, I'm a closet Eminem fan.)

With the weekend almost here, I wonder what tomorrow's soundtrack will be. Stay tune...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm Not A Stalker...Honestly

I find myself once again falling for an agent. Between researching, querying and submitting requested material, it's hard not to find one agent in the process that you would love to work with. During my first round of querying I fell hard for a top notch agent. I never expected that this "no response means no" agent would actually request a partial (50 pages) of my manuscript. I was elated and then the obsession began. I did more research about the agent, her client list and the successes that she brought to first time authors. Then a week later, the rejection letter came. I was crushed. Initially, when she requested material I thought it was a fluke. When my hopes were dashed, I knew it was one. Now I can't even look at the agency's name without thinking of what could have been.

Presently, I'm completely focused on my next project. Keeping the querying manuscript far from my thoughts. But after two requests for the full manuscript, my stalkish ways have started again. Both agents who have the material are excellent and I know either one will do the book justice, but there is one who has more of an internet presence, making it easier for me to obsess. Since rejection has a possibility to be imminent, and more unanswered queries still out there, I don't want to focus on one agent. Hell, I don't even want to think about this manuscript and what agents are interested and who are not. Of course, rejections I have received still sting, but I've become thick-skinned. Both interests I thought at first were rejections. I guess I'm used to it.

Anyway, I found who I think would be the perfect agent for me. She seems passionate for her writers' work and is willing to put in the extra attention to make a deal. An added bonus is that she's looking for the YA I write. In my mind it's a perfect fit. Too bad there are two people in this equation. After reading it, she might not think we fit. Then I am once again bruised by the harshness of this business. Knowing me, only to find another agent to fall for.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The beating has begun.....

Today I embarked on my next round of querying. I'm either a true writer, dedicated to finding an agent or a sadomasochist looking to be beaten repeatedly by rejection. I would like to believe I was the first, but as the replies begin to role in, I might be proven to be the latter.

I sent them out this afternoon. Two will be snail mailed tomorrow. My last post will be tested. Hopefully, I won't embarrass myself by checking my email crazily. Of course, I already checked it and there was a reply. "So soon?" I thought. Barely two hours later. Don't get me wrong, I love an agent who responses quickly. I rather have an answer (good or bad), then nothing. But I was hoping I could have a day or two, considering the work week is almost over, at least until Monday before the beating commenced. I should've waited for the weekend. Then I had a surefire chance not to be rejected until next week.

Also, true to form, I didn't open yet. I'm instead, typing this blog entry, trying to stall as long as possible. But like this entry, that too will come to an end. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Watched Pot...

Can the old saying "A watched pot never boils" apply to emails? My inbox (my email dedicated to writing) has been empty for days, dare I say weeks. At first, I checked it twice a day, trying not to fall into the every hour trap that so many of us find ourselves in. Forgive me, for I have sinned. I found myself doing the one thing that I didn't want to do. In the beginning, I kept to my twice a day. Then agent responses started coming in. Naturally, knowing that a request could be waiting for me, I was compelled to continuously check my email account, usually to find nothing. Now I'm desperately waiting those agents who is so many words make it clear patience is a virtue one needs for their response. So I wait and watch...and watch...and watch, until I hate the very idea of email. It's so instant. It almost makes me wish that more agents were old fashion and insist on snail mail. The urge is so strong, I've already checked my email twice as I wrote this rant on the very subject. Is there such thing as an email checker addiction? If so, when's the meeting?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Risks & Rewards

With every risk that is made, comes a reward. Risk - Reward. Risk - Reward. I've been taking many risks, yet haven't seen any rewards. Actually, that's not true. It was a risk to even write a novel and I was greatly rewarded when I finished it. Shouldn't that be enough? Why do I have this - at times zany - need to have others read my work? I'm not egotistic. I don't want to be glorified. I just want others to find enjoyment in what I wrote as I had. Reading rejection letters that clearly state the agent wasn't interested in the story or not interested enough to read more, is discouraging. It's a business and I understand that. But for me, it's more.

Friday, July 16, 2010


When it comes to writing, you have to have tons of patience. The whole writing process warrants it; from the inception of the idea, to the polished final draft (before agents and/or editors), even to querying and waiting for an agent to find your story compelling and worthy of his/her representation. As a writer, I have accepted all of this, but, at times, my patience (which I usually have plenty of) thins.

Putting aside the normal waiting game that comes with querying agents, I have been working on a chapter for three weeks now for my newest project. I have written the first ten pages three times and still there is no ending in sight. I wouldn't say that I have writer's block (that was last week), it's more like I'm hitting my head against an invisible wall. None of the other chapters have given me this much grief.

As it stands, I know how the chapter should begin and I know how it will end, it's what comes in between that is causing all of this chaos, pushing me beyond the limits of my patience. I will admit that this chapter is important. I know that's the reason why I'm slaving over it, making sure the written word is just as powerful as the image that won't escape my mind; proving that there is a method to my madness.

It's so frustrating to be stuck, desparately trying to figure out a way to navigate around the obstacle so that your patience can be restored. I am a truly patient person, overly so, I've been told, but nothing makes my fuse shorter than not being able to write this chapter!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Old School

The reason why I don't regularly blog the way that I should is because my computer is temporarily down. After seven years the monitor, not so quietly, went. When this happened there was no real dilemma, since the computer itself is out-of-date. I opted to purchase a laptop, saving buying a new monitor for later. There's only one catch: I'm cheap. I refuse to buy anything when I know a sale is coming. In the next few weeks, back to school sales will pop up from every perceivable outlet. So why should I buy a 500 dollar laptop now, when I can wait three-six weeks and get one cheaper?

The downside is this, blogging and doing whatever else computer needed task at work. As I previously mentioned, I write pencil to paper, so that's not a problem, but it's the ability to create on paper or edit, and then be able to instantly implement it on the screen. Not to mention, I'm an Internet junky. It's hard not being able to go on whenever I please.

So forgive me when it looks like I have given up voicing my journey. I'm still here, just periodically.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

To Be Sixteen Again...And Again...And Again

In my haste to expel my thoughts on this blog, I forgot a crucial one, what I write. Due to extreme paranoia, I can't nor would I go into specifics, such a titles, and overall plots (that is until the book is on its way to a store near you). Just my extreme bad luck, someone reads this blog and creates a replica (or at the very least, a likeness) of my work and gets it published. That is definitely a worse case scenario that refuses to leave my mind.

If you were unable to figure out from the post title, I write Young Adult (YA) Contemporary fiction. What does that mean? I write about teens and their journey through life. Essentially, through my characters, I'm reliving my high school years over and over again, one book at a time.

Drowning in Words...........

The job of a writer is never done. Regardless, if you have moved on to another project. Case in point, I have been tweaking (omitting a word here, sentence there, etc.) from my novel for the past two weeks. It started when an agent requested a partial (the first 50 pages). I was so crazed, I made sure the submission was polished, with the help of a trusted friend and my long time reader, this was accomplished. After reading those 50 pages three times in a three day span, I realized how I needed to read the rest of the novel, all 302 pages of it. Of course, it's different than reading a book. You do that for enjoyment. When you're looking for errors and possible omissions, you read it with editor's eyes. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, part of my day job includes being an English tutor, making it very easy for me to fall into that role. Dare I say, also making it painless for me to separate myself from my work. But there is a thin line between writer and editor, and I'm straddling it.

Then there's the role of the reader in me, who just wants to read it. Not to mention, the writer hearing the voice from the protagonist of the other project, ready for me to pick up where I left off. With the addition of bouts of doubt creeping in, per title, I'm drowning in words. Despite my complaining, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What's So Great About Being Normal?

This is the question that I ask myself every time I put my pencil (yes, pencil) to paper. It's what my central characters ask themselves, contemplate and/or debate in my head. Personally, as someone who lived on the obscurity of normalcy as a teen due to ridicule and rejection (kids can be so cruel), I choose to exist there now as an adult.

Moving on to what this blog is about, my journey as a writer, it is important to start at the beginning. Not the very beginning, such as conception, but when my creative mind unleashed.

It was senior year in high school, second half of the year and the class was creative writing. Taught by an young adult author, my world was rocked. As a shy teen (for those who weren't, might still understand), I already imagined different scenarios of how my life could've been different and at times, lived in the land of make believe (though unlike Mr. Rogers, it didn't exist with puppets).

It was then characters began to talk to me. The first one was named Reed. Of course, they're not characters to me, they're people (voices really) who have a story to tell and chose me to tell it. Only fellow writers, creative types and eccentrics would understand that I'm not really hearing voices. It's my creative mind giving me an avenue for expression. Anyway, Reed and his "brothers" grew up together on the streets and became a family. Now I realize how much similar it was to The Outsiders. Although I can't remember the title or the rest of the characters' names, I know one wasn't named Ponyboy.

Fast forward high school graduation, college graduation, work, graduate school graduation and career, with many dallances in creativing writing (i.e. short stories, etc.), we arrive at the present. Not quite 2010, more like 2008 when this strange rollercoaster ride began. After reading a book and the further researching the author for her bio, I had one of those "if she can do it, I can do it" moments. So I did it. I wrote a book. And wrote it again. And again.

Three drafts and two and half years later it's finally ready for the public. More to the point, ready for literary agents to either love it or hate it. So far I've received more hate than love, but who's complaining. The hate doesn't weaken my determination, while the love (when I get it), strenghens that presistence within.

As most of the rejection letters (emails) state, "it only takes one agent." Who knows, he or she might be reading this very post. Regardless if he or she is, let me extend this to all: welcome to Lost and Delirious: Incoherent Thoughts Of A Writer.