Sunday, April 10, 2011

SEW Sunday: Maybe A Name Change is Already In Order?

So I almost forgot that I was supposed to start this NEW and IMPROVED blog today. It's SEW Sunday, the day when I give anyone who cares an update about what's going on in my writing world. that means, like 3 people...2 if you don't count my mom.

So this is supposed to be about three aspects of my writing: Sending queries, Editing, and Writing.  However, after having a remarkable experience with an incredible book that I did not write (but, oh, I wish I had), I'm thinking I've left out an important element. As an aspiring author, I need to write (goes without saying), edit (should go without saying), and send queries (doesn't go without saying because most people don't know what a query is--FYI it's a letter writers send to literary agents shamelessly begging them to represent a book). Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have very little time, I've forgotten a very important aspect of writing: Reading.

Do you know how long it's been since I read a book for fun? I don't. I can't remember. But recently someone (okay, okay, so it was a 12 year old) recommended a book to me. I plan on writing more about this book on Friday when I will attempt to write my first Fiction Friday blog...but we'll see how that goes.

Now, I had heard of this book before and it sounded interesting, and I know the last book in the trilogy had come out fairly recently (I won't have to wait for the sequels to come out!), so I figured I'd give it a shot. I reserved a copy at the library. I was something ridiculous like #192 on the waiting list. After waiting for a couple of weeks, I finally got the phone call that the book was available.  I picked it up.

And. I. Devoured. It.

Not literally. Books are for reading, not for eating. Keep that in mind when I'm published.

But oh my word, this book was phenomenal. I have already reserved the sequels from the library, but I'll have to wait for those, too. At least I'm not waiting years for the author to's hard to remember what life was like before J.K. Rowling finished Book Seven. Ah, what did I do with my life while waiting for Book Seven? My memories are fuzzy; I must have tided myself over with Eragon...which makes me wonder, when IS the fourth book of that "trilogy" coming out? Come on, with me.

Anyway, the reading of the book this week has meant that I have not had as much time for writing, but I can't bring myself to regret that at all. Sometimes, one of the most inspiring things for a writer is to read something excellent that someone else wrote. It helps me see areas that I can work on--things I need to call attention to about my characters and their thought processes. Yes, I think reading a book was just what I needed to start climbing out of this apathy pit I've somehow gotten myself into.

Because honestly, my head has not been in the game (did I just use a sports metaphor??) since November. I've written some, but not as much as I've wanted to. Editing? Psssh. And Querying? I've sent out one query all year. One. And I knew the literary agent I sent it to would never even get back to me.

It's April. I had goals of sending out at least five queries a month. I'm...a lot of queries behind schedule. The reason? I haven't cared. I know that's horrible, but it's true. I have had so many other things going on in my life that I haven't cared enough to put forth the effort.

But after reading that book, I started thinking about the characters in the book I'm trying to sell. I've started thinking about the characters in the book I need to edit. I feel as though I've really let them down.

These are good characters; I know they are. Sometimes I get hard on myself and think my stories are awful, and sometimes I'm right, but the characters in the books I'm trying to sell are not awful. They're remarkable.  They deserve a chance for others to know their stories, their relationships, their dreams and failures. The only one holding them back is me.

I'm still busy. I'm still going to have a hard time getting things done that I need to do. Life is just going to get in the way. There's no way around that. But I think I'm starting to get back on my feet. And in a couple of weeks, I'm going to have a day off. A. Day. Off.

No work. No church. No plans. So that will be a good time for me to organize some things for querying. In the meantime, I'm finally starting to have a breakthrough on my current WIP (work in progress). It's been slow going for a long time, and it still might be, but I think I've figured out a few of the problems. I still have more to work out, but that's how writing goes. I am starting to figure out the characters a little better, so that's good. One of them is pretty hard to understand--she's too much like who I was when I was a teenager...

I've also got an itch to start writing a new project. I'm wanting to experiment with point of views, tenses, and all of that. The last time I wrote something in first person, I was possessed by a fictional character and wrote the whole book in less than two weeks. It was scary...and fun...but mostly scary. So I'm going to be cautious because right now I just don't have the TIME to be possessed by a fictional character.

So yeah, that's how the SEWing is going, although I think I might need to change the title to also include an R for reading. I need to make time to read a good book every now and then. It has been a lot more beneficial than I realized.

SERWing?  Hmm.  Sounds like I'm from Minnesota.

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