Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What up?

I haven't been here in awhile. First it was getting over April. That took all of May apparently (except for the first Wednesday). Then I went to Cuba for the first week in June and came home needing to recover from that. And now I'm wandering slowly back.

The thing is that it is very hard for me to relax. Very hard. The first day I went in the water in Cuba I told Ron that I planned to swim 21 times while we were there. Why did I do that? Why couldn't I just swim and go 'wow, that is so nice. think I'll do that some more, if I feel like it'? Because I'm mental and I think I have to be constantly improving myself with no time off at all. I get home from my work - which is very stressful mind - and immediately go and meditate, then draw for an hour, then do some writing. In between all of that I might make or help with dinner, I'll definitely do the dishes and I will probably skype or call a few people (my kids, my pals, a client...). Then a bath (where I read) and bed.

By the third day in Cuba I felt unwound. It was great. I didn't draw. I didn't meditate (well once or twice). I didn't write or journal or anything. I slept, swam, ate, and all over again.

Before I left I had planned to get at least some query packages for Bright Angel out to publishers and agents - but I didn't. I had this big block about it after working for a month on the query letter etc... This weekend I broke through that. There is a package out to one publisher and one agent. I'll send some more this coming weekend. The deal I made with myself is that I am allowed (!!!) to write on my newest wip - Crooked Knife - if I send out a package. So I jumped back into that, which was heavenly. Once I have five or six packages out I'll feel free to concentrate on CF but I'm still refining one page synopses and making sure my first fifty or so pages are pristine. I have a book that I created that helps me track my submissions. I know this is a long long game and I won't remember who I sent to unless I keep meticulous track and it has to be hard copy for me. Every single publisher or agent that I'm querying has a slightly different set of submission rules. Some insist on hard copy, some insist on email with no attachments or email with certain attachments. Some want just the letter thanks, some want big chunks of your ms. I am really trying to follow the rules but I must say it feels kind of like the Toronto airport - all of these young people in uniform rolling their eyes and scolding you for not being born knowing which line to stand in.

Ah well.

How are you all doing? I'm going to come and visit you now.


Liza said...

Great description of the query process. I find it frustrating and much so that for this last attempt, after sixteen letters out for my last book, I just stopped. I know that's not very many and I even received requests for partials and fulls before rejections...or nothing. I will get back to it again. I will. But the whole thing just made me feel defeated, and that I needed to go back and go through the book one more time to make sure, sure, sure. I'll get to that sometime too. I don't know. Perhaps they've called my bluff. Maybe I can live without a published novel.

Ugh. Sorry for that. Please just know I am wishing you all positive responses and happy writing on your new project.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had such a lovely trip, Jan! The 'photo looks gorgeous. The query process, however, is not. I wish you well getting through it!

Arlee Bird said...

Cuba is a trip that I've long wanted to take. I'd want my wife along since she's Spanish speaking, but she's told me that there is no way she wants to go to Cuba. I'd probably have to convince her to go back to her homeland of Ecuador, but she's said she'd rather have no part of that either. She prefers to just stick to travel in the U.S., though we might take a brief excursion through Canada this summer and she's fine with that.

It would be nice if every publisher had the same rules to go by. Don't know why life has to be so difficult sometimes.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks you three!
I'm trying not to lose heart during this process - I certainly know that the biz part of anything is trying - whether it is mounting a production, organizing an art show, or trying to get an arts grant so your family can eat. Nothing to do but do it I guess. I do not get the scolding attitude of some publishers and agents though. No problem - I just don't submit to them as I imagine how they begin is how they will go on!

Arlee - we love Cuba. I've gone three times in 15 years - (no moolah) and have seen amazing and not necessarily good changes - but still the spirit of the Cubans is phenomenal. And if you are coming to Canada - do come up to Labrador and visit us! We'll take you fishing and canoeing and feed you up good with flummies, fish and brews (no not what you think) and other local delicacies.

Arlee Bird said...

Jan, appreciate the delightful offer. I wish we had more time to spend, but we'll be entering the country in BC and exiting probably around Manitoba as we head toward NJ. Our main focus is to drive through the western mountain region. Even there we'll have inadequate time to spend but at least it will be something. That is if all goes according to plan.

But thanks anyway.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Mandy 'n' Justin said...

Your trip to Cuba sounds wonderful! It sounds like you did relax (at least a little) even if you were making plans (swim so many times) from the moment you got there. (I have a hard time just being as well!) Best of luck with the publisher submissions. They sound complicated and a bit overwhelming. Good for you for keeping a list of who you've already submitted your work to. Hopefully you'll find the right publisher soon enough and it will all be worth it! :)