Author of Middle Grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Birthday Thoughts

Today I'm another year older, and I have some time on my hands, since my birthday falls on a Monday this year and Monday birthdays are kind of awkward.

I just thought I'd reflect on the things that have changed in the past year.

Health Changes:

I reached my sickest point right before last year's birthday. So, this past year has been all about recovering from that. All in all, I'd say I made a few steps forward in the general "getting well" area. I changed doctors, twice. I finally found someone who really gets my migraines and pays attention to how I respond to treatments, instead of just throwing pills at me.

I finally have hope. Although my doctor did say that I will be chronically ill the rest of my life, she does think she can significantly reduce the number of migraine attacks I get, to the point that I'll be able to work a day job again. Fingers crossed!

Writing Changes:

In a broad sense, I learned that even when you think something is as polished as it can be, it still needs work. This applies to every manuscript I've worked on since last June.

I learned, from a rejected full request, that my old manuscript (we'll call it MS #5) had weaknesses AND strengths that I wasn't aware of. I'm so grateful for the detailed feedback I received. I shelved MS #5, but kept in mind what worked and what didn't.

I wrote, edited, and had MS #9 critiqued a bunch of times. I thought it was good to go. Nope, it still needed work. So I revised and revised. Meanwhile, my recently finished MS #11 is in the roughest of rough drafts, and I'm completely aware of how much work will need to go into this one.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I thought my crappy drafts were fantastic. I just... missed a lot of things. Critique partners are gold, and I realize I like having a lot of them (at least 4) to really see all angles of my manuscripts.


I think the big picture message here is that I can't see everything from where I am right now. On last year's birthday, I wouldn't have been able to predict everything I learned this year. But time and hard work (writing and revising, as well as trying medical treatment after treatment) might help me get where I want to be.

Sorry for the long post, friends. Hoping it makes up for hardly being around lately. I'll be visiting blogs this week, but feel free to drop a comment to remind me to check yours out.
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Monday, June 10, 2013

The Monster Under My Bed

Last night, there was a monster under my bed. Actually, it was a large centipede.

(I know not all of my followers have house centipedes in their region. Please, I encourage you, take the time to Google them. Now imagine one is under your bed.)

The centipede had been on the ceiling, but dropped to the floor, raced across the room (to the amusement of the cat, who, by the way, is FIRED from bug-catching duties), and ultimately hid under my bed. We have boxes and junk under the bed. There was no way we'd find it.

So I slept on the couch last night. And by slept, I mean tossed and turned and thought about centipedes.

Prior to discovering the monster that scuttled under my bed, I'd been dealing with another fear of mine: the fear of moving forward with my manuscript that's now ready to submit to agents or publishers. (I'm still enchanted by the idea of [legitimate] small presses - and I'm even flirting with the idea of self-publishing. I've always rooted for the little guy. So... I haven't decided which path I'm taking.)

It's all the fears you'd expect. Fear of rejection. Fear of making it, but my manuscript is actually NOT good enough, so I regret submitting it. Fear of wishing I'd taken another publishing route, whichever ones I don't take.

With the help of one of my CPs, (the brilliant and always encouraging Linda Jackson), I'm gathering the courage to submit my manuscript. And the courage to believe that after all the hard work I put into it, it might be somewhat good. But just like my fear of centipedes, it's a gradual process.

Well, I might never be over my fear of centipedes. But ranting about them in this blog post helps diffuse the anxiety, at the very least.

Writers, what are your fears? Do you have fears related to submitting? Receiving reviews? Exchanging critiques?

Anyone else terrified of bugs with a hundred legs?
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