Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Blogger, LG: Put Your Ass in the Chair

What does it mean to be a writer? What does it take?

Putting your ass in the chair, that’s what.

I don’t often feel like a “real” writer because I’m not published. My childhood goal was to be the next S.E. Hinton, to get published before I was 14 years old. That obviously didn’t happen. And that’s okay. Because after working in publishing for three years full-time and now freelance proofreading for the last three, I’ve gained invaluable experience about the publishing process (and made quite a lot of amazing friends along the way, I might add). So I have an advantage over other writers in terms of knowing what the exact process of publication is.

Regardless, that doesn’t make it any less nerve-wracking when sending off query letters to agents, which I’ve been doing since late January. So far, three rejections.

My mantra?

The Help got rejected 60 times… The Help got rejected 60 times…

Of course everyone wants to get that enthusiastic email from an agent decrying “Your book kept me up all night!” or “I missed my stop on the subway because I was so engrossed.” Now that would be a dream come true.

It’s strange to have sent my novel, a piece of work I’ve spent the last four years working on (not consistently, I might add, which makes that “put your ass in the chair” remark all the more true) to complete and utter strangers.<

I was terrified the first few times I sent out query letters. Scratch that, I still shake when I send out query letters. But the first request to see my manuscript literally sent me running circles around my kitchen and living room screaming at the top of my lungs.

Okay, it was the first three chapters that were requested with a full synopsis. But still! someone wanted to look at my work! Someone whose job it is to discover new, unpublished writers and bring their work to readers.

After completing this first book, I’m confident that the next one will come a lot easier to me. I already have the story mapped out in my head, the character mostly defined, and the villain in place. But there’s still the matter of putting my ass in the chair. Books don’t write themselves, and books don’t publish themselves, and agents don’t go combing the web for witty bloggers who don’t get a ton of hits (at least I’m pretty sure they don’t).

So, here’s to publication! I’m going to keep trying, no matter how many rejections I get (though I may very well stop at 60 and start submitting the next book–because hopefully it would be done by then). And hopefully I won’t wind up looking like a beaten-up Chung-Li after losing a battle in old-school Sega Genesis “Streetfighter.” Game over.

And yes, I tell myself, I am a real writer, published or not.

NOTE: This article was re-posted with permission from LG's website, The Urban Alaskan. It was originally posted on 2/20/12. Look for more original guest posts from LG on RBtL soon though!

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