Friday, June 06, 2008

"Unfortunately, after careful consideration, we have concluded that we are not the right agency for your work and must decline to represent it."

Okay. I get it. Not everybody who reads my book is going to love it. Some will just like it, some will be confused by it, and some (hopefully) will HATE it.

I get it that agents don't have to tell my WHY they have concluded that theirs is not the right agency to represent my work. I'd really very much like to know why. But I don't get to find out. If they explained it to every rejected writer, they'd never get anything else done. I get that.

I understand that all of us unpublished writers face piles of rejections. I know it's not just me. Part of the learning process. I totally get it.

Even though I really respect that agency, it is not the only agency out there.  I get that.  

What I'm not getting right now, not understanding, not fully grasping at this point, right now, is...

What am I going to do tomorrow?

I mean, obviously, get up, eat, take a pill, feel queasy, read for an hour, then get up and get in the truck... drive to the Little Valley, saddle up big Bo. I'll ride the Level 4 pattern, repeating parts of it until they improve.  I'll clean up the barn, scrub some bridles and blankets, pull some weeds in the sand ring. Then I'll go home and harass the kids to help pull weeds in the back garden.

Life goes on. Do something I love to do.

But what I really mean is... what now?

I'm not going to give up on this book, or on writing in general. Like, okay, that agency's a no-go. I'll just have to try some others.

The way I see it, I got a few options.

-Play tetris

-take another necessary look at the query letter, clarify a few things, cut a few more things, and make it all match up at the end.


-write a "jacket flap" for my book. Pretend it's a real book now and this is what it'll say on the inside flaps of the book jacket. They can't put it on the back because that's where they'll put the big photo of me in my denim and John Deere T shirt and magnificent hair and sneaky teeth leaning on a page wire fence. Write the blurb like readers will be looking at it for the first time in a bookstore. Make them want to read it.

-Read my own book. As if I'd never seen it before.

-play tetris  (I'm shockingly good at it)

-walk the dog

-force myself to work on writing new current novel project.

-cry (although I do think these meds have dried up my tears and I don't know if this is good or bad.)

-experiment: can I still write while under the influence of Ativan?

-stare at the wall, back of couch, floor, for unknown lengths of time.

-go through a neurotic breakdown, the whole mess, the not good enough, the doubt the blah blah blah.

-convince myself that it's not so bad, this is normal, some people had good things to say about your book, c'mon you know you can do this.

-rest hand in forehead, sigh deeply, look for strength to keep going, mock myself for being such a friggen drama queen

-get mad at me for calling me a drama queen.

-go out to the front garden and wander around, filling my eyes with plants, yanking out the occasional weed, not thinking about books, agents, riding instructors, editors, riding exams, or money. Think about how great my garden looks this year. It looks great. Look how great it looks.

-go through every bit of info I can find and put together a new agent list.

-go back to bed.

-pat dog and cat at the same time.

-read Rider Manual

-flutz my way through the Level 4 pattern on the big horse and maybe accidentally get better at it.

I haven't made a big deal out of it, but I've been having a hard time with everything this week. I grind my teeth when I sleep and wake with a clenched jaw. I'm having alternating bursts of compulsion to work, clean, pick, organize, followed by cement block heavy tiredness. I don't know what it's all about, but I am sad, sad, sad. I was driving around with my kids in my truck - now that right there should cause a zap of happy -- but I was saaaaaad. Just unreasonably, irrationally, inexplicably sad. Right down the the middle. I would have cried but I was too empty.

It doesn't make sense to be sad like that for no reason, especially when taking the pills that are supposed to solve that. I think I'll be taking a little trip to see the nice doctor again soon.

And what does that have to do with writing? EVERYTHING. Mostly, that I may be feeling this week like day old roadkill, but I am stubborn. If there's one thing that's gotten me through this, or anything, it's tenacity. I falter at times but I am so stubborn I'll keep at it. I'm so stubborn that even when I feel like I'm going to puke, I get on that horse and I ride. Slowly sometimes, but I'm on. I'm so stubborn that I have an empty space on my shelf where MY book is going to go. I'm so stubborn that I won't run away from home, or off myself, or lock myself in the bathroom and rock back and forth humming. Okay, well that last one, yeah okay I've done that but I'm stubborn enough to come out again after an hour or so.

Sometimes I think being stubborn has kept me alive.

So what am I going to do tomorrow? 

Ugh.  I am going to be stubborn.

That's what I'm doing today and tomorrow and the day after that.  

More of the same.  Slowly if necessary.  

I really don't feel like it, and I'm so tired, but that doesn't matter.  I have to keep going.  

And here are more pictures of Johnny Depp just because... well, because sometimes I need to be reminded to simply keep my chin up and keep doing what I gotta do.


Olly said...

Here's another one for you:

- blame self for sending book to wrong agent. Forgive self for that. Make rude comments about them (hell, draw some funny pictures of them, too)and then find a better one.

Holly Kennedy said...

It does make sense to be sad like that, Heidi. You are allowed.
Try this. It may help...

Whenever I got rejected (and I did) I gave myself 24 hours to be hollowed out sad (and I was, each time.) Then I put my newest rejection in a shoebox and forgot about it.

I then read my novel as I'd never read it before (you're on the right track with that, btw) and each time I did, I "kicked away the stool" and got even more determined to make that manuscript shine in the areas it didn't yet.

I told myself I'd find my "right agent" (a process I have often likened to blind dating, btw) and she/he in turn would find my "right publisher"....

And I did.
And she did.
And you will.

Be kind to yourself. It's gonna happen, just you wait :)

billie said...

Keep querying. Work on a new book. Keep riding. And talk to your doctor.

My two cents! :)

Along with lots of good thoughts for an upswing, soon.

Heidi said...

They're all right.

Just keep pouring yourself into what you love.

The greatest things happen when you aren't even looking. It will happen for you.

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm really glad I blogged about this.

Tod said...

I've been reading the agent blogs recently and I think the whole query process is a great big effing cirus freak show. There has got to be a better way. If I ever got around to writing a novel I think I'd self publish, even tho everyone considers it suicide.

But I do admire your strength and tenacity. Keep slugging away Heidi. :)

Nicole said...

Aw, sorry, girl. I must have enough of those stupid form rejection slips to wallpaper the whole house at this point. Don't give up, but maybe do something nice and completely hedonistic just for you.

Your Mom's a Duck!!! Ooohhh! DIS! said...

Oh Tod, I sometimes really agree with you! It's just that I have this ridiculously high expectations and the only way to get where I want to go is... through them. The advantage is that an agent could do all the business stuff for me. I don't want to have to handle all that, and that's a big reason why I don't want to self publish!

But I can see why people go that way.

As for your idea, Nicole... Yeah. After I get over my 24 hours of rejection-sadness (excellent idea of Holly's!) then I'll do something nice for me. And I'm not talking about a chocolate bar.

Heidi the Hick said...

Yeah, um... that previous comment posted by a clever character going by the name of..."You're Mom's a duck!!! oh! dis!"

That would be me commenting, without knowing that my son aka Bucky the Nerd had not signed out before I got the macbook back.

So... thanks Bucky. Now I look like a duck. Oh!!!!!!

Trailboss said...

Please don't beat yourself up about the book. There are so many publishers that would love to get it. I am no means a writer but I know it has to be depressing to get a letter like that. But know that you put your heart and soul into the book and if ppl don't like it so what, you like it. That is the main thing. Keep on sending it out. Someday the right person will see it and LOVE it. I know, easy for me to say, but I have some woes of my own. I just found out this week that I have cancer. Hopefully it's in the early stages and treatable but I don't know yet. Every morning I pray for strength and for my family. My mother used to say "no matter how bad it is there is someone somewhere that is worse off than you." That has gotten me thru so many things in my 50 years, literally. And it is so true. Keep your head up and know that it will happen when the time is right. Keep the faith.

JKB said...

You know Heidi, you're a strong female. You have problems yes and you choose how to deal with them always, and it's pretty much the same - bravely and progressively and consequently.

You are allowed to feel this way. But you are not allowed to stop. :)

It will happen ... I have faith in you.

Anita said...

I agree with Olly...

WE believe in you, always...

Lynn Sinclair said...

Stubborn is good.

We can't change how the publishing world works. All we can do is make sure our writing is the best it can possible be. That includes the query, the synopsis and the ms. While your query is making the rounds, start something else, but take time to enjoy your garden. Balance and all that.

And don't forget to meet your friends for tea.

CindyDianne said...

Damn them!

CindyDianne said...

Ok, not truly damned. But, don't they understand what opportunity they are missing by not picking you up? Silly Agents.