Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why is the Song, Loser , Running Through My Mind?

Soy un perdedor.... I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me.... Well, you all get the idea....

So, missed my out date on Raskin’s Wings and the first word I could think of starts with a big fat F....

Not that one... well, okay, that one, too.

Failure: Breakfast of Champions



January was like a friggin’ brick wall for me... I swear it was. Every time I thought I was making progress some other stupid thing took my attention away from where it needed to be...

In the last few weeks I’ve run across posts by other writers, such as Tena’s fond farewell at In Her Write Mind, telling us that blogging was getting in the way of her work and so, she’ll be back but not until the work is done...

Josephine has been covering her meeting with uber agent, Donald Maass (cue choirs of angels singing), and her first post made me giddy... for a second, and then I realized, yes, this blogging thing really does scratch my itch... worse still, I’m not even under the delusion that this blog will be adequate platform to attract readers – if I thought that, I’d watch my mouth a lot more.

I could give you a list of reasons why the novel is not complete... I have them, believe me, and yet, I fit in time to puts around on the computer... so obviously, I was not so busy that I couldn’t have done it, or at least done more. And yeah, I did a few productive writing things this month. I submitted my pitch, jacket copy, etc for Moonrat’s awesome contest, which brings me one step closer to query ready.... I sent out two things on submission.... I put myself out there a bit more than I was... but the novel is not done and that was the priority...

(Pssst.... are any of you worried that I’m calling it quits?) I’m not. Can’t do it – I’ve gained far more from blogging than any other avenue of writing improvement, so no, I’m not calling it quits. I’m not even calling it hiatus, though I probably should. I stayed largely away from blogland this week and did a bit more writing and a lot of soul searching.... I abstained from Nathan’s Attempt To Bring Down Blogger, for God’s sake, I must have been serious... By the way, I missed most of the whole anonymice sniping about critique over there, but I still think Josie, JJdebenedictis, and a few other selfless writers from that thread should get standing ovations and bloggy kudos just for the effort. I know Josie was a bit miffed by the results there – but, for what’s it’s worth, most of the commentary I read was posted by people who wanted and appreciated the effort.... (okay, caught me... I read it, but I didn’t comment and return a million times)

The other thing I did this week was run across an old friend at myspace. How that happened I have no idea, but he was about my favorite person in the world back when I was twenty... we exchanged a few emails and the like and all of that’s nice, but what it really did was remind me of me at twenty... (gee, a little narcissistic, am I?) I should re-phrase this in case he’s reading, a side effect of talking to him again was being reminded of myself at twenty – I’m very happy we touched base in the here and now. Anyhoo....

At twenty, I thought I knew everything... now I realize that I know very little in the grand scheme of things.

At twenty, I used to say, ‘I just want to be worshipped, is that too much to ask?’ – I was only half kidding... now I think that would just be creepy... *shivers*

At twenty, I wanted to be a writer... never with grand plans of million dollar advances and legions of fans, I just saw this great future where my days were spent at my word processor (see how friggin’ long ago that was?) and afternoons or evenings out with friends... I’d have time in the day to drink coffee and read at my favorite place (I had one of those in my head, too) and I’d make up for it with long sessions of writing through the night......

I still have that last one – that’s why it sprang so readily to mind... at twenty I knew I wanted a family, but it was an abstract thought and not a reality in my little ‘I’m going to write for a living even if I have to live on saltines’ fantasy... they are obviously a part of the equation now and don’t really allow time for afternoon coffees, or writing through nights without payback the next day... but still, it’s largely the same in my little noggin and I think I owe it to myself, nearly fifteen years later than I thought, to really aim, really give it a shot.

Failure is not a problem. Failure does one of two things – it either makes you stronger or it defeats you... I’m not the second one. I know I’m not, I just don’t have it in me to lie down. I’ve made a lot of great progress over the last fifteen years, in my life and in my writing... if I hadn’t started my family over ten years ago, well, I wouldn’t be here – in any sense, I wouldn’t be able to write with the depth I’ve attained through my own experiences... it’s not the only way to achieve depth, but it’s not a part of the journey I’d give up... it’s also a path that makes the writing harder.... for a bevy of reasons that any working mother can explain.... add to it the fact that there’s no guaranteed paycheck and you have a job no one else takes seriously on top of everything else... Will that make me quit? No. I told you earlier, I’m not a quitter... this year is starting really rocky for me, it’s been a rough few, and I don’t know how long I’ll be able to give this my full effort without going back into the workforce for the paycheck... because that’s a consideration, too...

But whatever else happens, I’ll finish this one and I’ll start on the next... now’s the time to do it in earnest... so I just wanted to let you guys know, I haven’t abandoned blogland... I will be around, if less frequently... I will post, when I can get to it.... I’m still here – just a bit quieter.

Okie-dokie.... if you made it all the way to the end of this long and rambling little purging of mine, thanks for the ear... keep up the hard work, and I’ll stop in to visit when I can.... Take care guys.......

20 comments:

moonrat said...

good luck :)

to answer your question (the one you left on MY blog), i think it's ok that you frame the copy in Benny's terms even though the book begins with Raskin's story. many books have prologues or first chapters that tell a background story that's narrated by a non-main character; i don't think editors/agents will be surprised or confused. it is important that your copy is focused on the character who is the "main-est" character, and Benny is a good choice for the focus because he's the most sympathetic to your target audience.

of course, for the synopsis you submit to agents (which is a little different from cover copy book descriptions), you should mention briefly how the story begins with Raskin (when the fairy raskin gets banished....).

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Moonie,

Thanks for stopping in, and thanks so much for answering that question... I originally wrote my pitch from Benny's perspective only, but then I waivered back and forth over it...

Thanks so much for taking the time...

The Anti-Wife said...

You are not a loser. We all go through little valleys of doubt. Believe in yourself as much as we believe in you.

Josephine Damian said...

Merry, I've seen dozens of un- pre- and multi-published writers suffering from blogger (and myspace - OMG! you're on myspace? for Pete's sake! - friend me) burnout - the ones who shut down for good, or say they're shutting down for good and them come back.

I've also noticed that comment from Donald hit a lot of writers where they live cause I've noticed blogger activity has slacked off among my peeps - the folks who saw Donald's message on my blog. Which is totally cool.

But. The feedback I got from you, Moonie, Froog and others about my jacket copy was spot on - and a big improvement - improvements I never would have had had I not taken the time away from writing to post it and participate in Moonie's contest.

Then there are those days when you get such positive news that it's not so much you wanna share it cause you want a pat on the back
(trust me, the news itself is pat on the back enough) but that you take the time to blog about it to send a message to your friends that if you brush past the rejections - even the 20 years of rejections I've suffered through - and you learn your craft - you WILL BE PUBISHED - as I was - I received the news last night - and while I promised myself a break from blogging on the weekends I was eager to blog about my recent success, more than anything to give others hope.

Travis Erwin said...

That scratching the itch comment got me as well. A lot of truth to that. I hope to finish my WIP this month so I'll be a bit less visible myself.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Antiwife,

Thank you!!! I'm really just being tongue in cheek - this was just a sarcastic way of excusing my bloggy absence for a while so I can get the work in... besides, sometimes a little f-f-f-ailure gives me the kick in the pants I need to really get to it.

I'll be checking in from time to time, and back to old form once the work is done. Thanks for stopping in, I'll be over when I can.

Hey Josie,

Congratulations!!!! and I agree with you, I've made such excellent progress with my writing just from exchanging with everyone... between Moonrat, BookEnds, and all the great back and forth with you and JJ and a few others, I really feel like my pitch is ten times better than I could have gotten it on my own.

But, I was also spending so much time talking craft and generally blogging that it was taking me off writing schedule... so a break was in order... I didn't even attempt to say, 'I'm done blogging' - I don't want to be done, it is a great writing circle and one I'd never be able to duplicate.

By the way, I just friended you.

Hi Travis,

Yeah, that one hit a little close didn't it? I hope I'll be on your beta reader list for Plundered Booty - I really just want a free copy :-)

Ello said...

Aw Merry, no sweat. I'm doing the same thing. So if only now I can do more writing. Believe me, that loser song seems like my personal anthem.

We will still have to keep pushing each other on writing to keep it up is all.

And get on Facebook so I can friend you there. I don't do the myspace!

jjdebenedictis said...

I can only support a writer laying off the (oh-so-fun!) internet in order to write more. It really is too much of a time sink!

And I'll still be here when you get back. :-) Get lots of work done!

Mary Witzl said...

I haven't been writing lately: I've been revising two manuscripts and feeling guilty about not revising two others. Does rewriting count as writing? It sure is hell.

Blogging definitely eats into writing time, but I have a real need to be read, and blogging satisfies that at least a little. When I feel that I'm just using it to lark about, though, I'll have to stop or cut down, no doubt about it.

At 20, I'm sure I was worse than you were! I never really thought I would become a writer. It's much worse than that: I arrogantly assumed I already WAS one. I carried around notebooks and wrote in them all day long. I penned dozens of eight-page letters and sent them off to friends. I lie awake at night and get cold chills just remembering how obnoxious and overly confident I was...

20 years of rejections, Josephine? Dear God, if anyone deserves to be published, it's a woman who has held up under 20 years of rejections! Eight years have just about done me in.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Ello,

Thanks and yes, we definitely have to keep pushing each other - it helps... I'm trying to stay off face book until I'm in submissions at least... just hearing you and Precie talk about scrabulous makes me think that place will be a huge time suck.

Hi JJ,

Thanks for stopping in, I'll be around here and there, but probably won't be posting much for a while... Take care, and fantastic job on your crits for Nathan's by the way... I hope those people are spreading link love far and wide... really I think you deserve chocolates.

Hi Mary,

Ha, you and I could've been friends at 20 Mary - I not only had my journal with me at all times... I still keep one, but it doesn't get nearly as much use as the bevy I had then... I also had an array of sketch pencils and a sketch pad with me at all times... I would sit in restaurants waiting for my friends and either write or sketch people - who probably got very uncomfortable because I was staring at them.

Here's hoping we all get a few less rejections this year!

SUV MAMA said...

Merry Merry,

Will you write about your Aunt turning your husband green? This story I have got to hear.

Seriously.

:)

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi SUV,

I probably shouldn't as this is a family blog... and you have to understand that I've known her my whole life, so I don't look at her and see a frail older woman, I see the lady who wore bikini's in her forties and looked a damn sight better than I did in them at 20.

Anyhoo... I believe there were two phrases that did it... Dan was looking at her seeing this little, impeccably dressed woman in her late sixties. She was talking about an investment that she lost money on and said, and this is an actual quote:

"They dry fucked me..." she went on in a mini tangent about how rotten people are with the phrase, "every swinging dick in town."

Sorry, I love the woman. She's my hero... and now my blog will be pegged as porn central, I'm sure.

Demon Hunter said...

Don't stop working and finishing your projects. Instead of "Loser", think of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. Good luck! :*)

Mary Witzl said...

Confession: I still keep a diary. The truth is, I've kept one pretty much since I was 9. And I had a sketch pad too -- still do, in fact. I love sitting in cafes and sketching things. While sketching, you can do some serious eavesdropping, so for a keen observer of my fellow humans, writing and drawing are important activities.

I'll drink to fewer rejections this year. I'll drink to better, more detailed, encouraging rejections, too. Hell, I don't even drink, but pretty soon I'll be drinking to almost anything...

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Demon Hunter,

Fan-flippin-tastic, now I'll have journey in my head for days!!! I've been working pretty extensively with my real world crit partner and have made changes that I didn't even know I needed a month ago... but it's definitely coming along...

Thanks for stopping in and for the support.

Hi Mary,

Someday I have to come visit you, and we can sit in cafes together with sketch pads and coffee and people watch...

Except, I think we'll have to hire a driver - I shouldn't be trusted on the wrong side of the road and I've read your driving posts already :-)

Shelly said...

Merry,

Sounds like you've got it all together to me. If you don't feel like a failure sometimes, what's to motivate you to work all the harder????

My writing time has been eaten into more than I like recently. But I've gotten lots of rejections... that motivation to get me to work harder. :-)

Hope the rocky beginning to your year doesn't last too long, and that you make lots of progress on the things you need to.

Jerseygirl89 said...

Oh Merry, thank God you are not leaving!

Uh, I mean, it's important for you to do what's best for you and I am pleased that you are not leaving us.

And you are definitely not a loser!

ChristineEldin said...

I thought I commented here. Sorry! I've read this twice.

I've cut back my posting so I can actually write. Also so I can visit my blogging friends, which I wasn't able to do as much before.

You need to do what is best for your writing, but please don't go too far!!!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Shelly,

I'm hoping the rocky path simmers down to something more manageable soon, too... the writing's coming along - I think my opening chapters are near as perfect as I can get them... I just tore the heck out of my third, but I think it's an improvement... so I'm just barrelling along... I want to be query ready by March... March...

My loser song is no longer playing... now it's a monotonous I think I can... I think I can...

Hi Jersey,

No I'm not leaving, I just won't be as active for a while and I felt like I should post something so that you all knew I wasn't just a bad blogging friend... on the plus side, when I get back to it, I'll have lots of fun reading to catch up on.

Hi Christine,

You know, I had to follow the link because I didn't recognize you at first! I only knew you as Church Lady - love the new avatar... is that you with your boys?

SUV MAMA said...

Why is it when you claim to be rambling your thoughts blow my mind?

I personally look FORWARD to being out of my twenties. The women I konw who are in their thirties are just do much happier. Self confidence does amazing things for women- and apparently, their writing.

So put that in your pipe, lady, and get the loser song off your playlist.

Add "Older women make good lovers".

Not that you are "older". :) You know what I mean. :)