Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Between-Projects Slump.

I've written about the inital-query freefall before. What happens when you've been querying for nine days, and the form rejections start to roll in? Well, at least for me, my self confidence does this:

Yep. BIG nosedive. 

I thought my MS was good.
My CPs thought it was good (didn't they?)

But agents don't want it.

What was I thinking?
How could I have thought this MS would EVER work?
Will I ever be published?
Can I even call myself a writer anymore???

Yes, I am fully aware of how irrational this all is. Which is why I normally have a backup plan:

The Work In Progress.

Even though working on something new can't give an immediate rush to counter the initial crash of queries denied (and those awful red frowny faces Query Tracker gives you when you record them, what's UP with that?) a new project at least gives us a handlebar to clutch onto as our self confidence slowly inches back up.

You write some snappy dialogue - Wooo!
Anchored down some more plot points - You are a GENIUS.
That scenery description? - NAILED IT.
Wow, that kiss was incredible - *happy dance*

The rewards of working on that WiP are small, but they come at regular intervals.
Best of all, if it's a second, third, or tenth MS that you're working on, you've had the first draft high before. You can see the top of that goshdarn rollercoaster, and you know gazing out from the peak feels absolutely amazing. Your motivation to get there is HIGH.

This time around I know what the rollercoaster looks like. I have a super-shiny idea for my newest project, and I even know most of the plot points and a bit about the characters.

So, what's the problem?

For some reason, I can't make myself get in the seat. Can't write a word.

Anyone ever been in this position? How did you kick yourself in the bottom to tackle that blinking cursor?
My CPs are telling me to write something fun. (In case you need a translation, that means "a kissing scene.")
That sounds mildly appealing...I guess. *sigh*




    1. It's funny how you and Chessie say "the" kiss scene. Like there is only one or something.

  2. While I DO think the kiss scene will help, I also think you might just have to force yourself past this first part. So you've got the rollercoaster, right? And the whole time it's going up that first hill, it's got that belt on the bottom of the track pulling it, right? And it takes forever and it clicks really ominously, like it's trying so hard to pull the cars. THAT'S the first draft. Sometimes you can't wait for the inspiration to get you started, sometimes you just have to START. And then force the words onto the paper, no matter how bad they are.

    (I know I said not to force yourself, because the writing is bad when it's forced. But it's okay here because it's the first draft and YOU NEED TO WRITE IT.)

    1. Yeah. I need to tough-love myself. Which is exactly what I'm going to do tomorrow.

  3. Don't worry, you'll get there. If you really want to write, sit and do it. "Let the suck flow," as I once said.

    You might surprise yourself - either you won't like what you've written but you can salvage parts of it and use them to go forward, or you might be pretty darn happy with what comes out. Either way, you have to start somewhere, but only if you want to. Sit and stew, or take a break and just read/critique, and then jump on the horse when you're ready. <3

  4. I've totally been in that spot of not being able to write. REALLY in that spot. Like for way too long. Long enough that I wondered if I forgot how and if I'd never be able to do it again.

    The only way I got through was to MAKE myself write. And then make myself again the next day. And the next until I was back feeling like I totally should when I write. Like I finally found that place again.

    Best of luck on querying and on the shiny new WIP! WIPs are definitely the way to go while querying.

    1. Thank you for reminding me that this will take *days.* I suppose, just like kids, that each book is different, and makes us feel different, and demands something different from us. I was so head-over-heels for my last MS from the very beginning that it *felt* easy. This one doesn't feel easy, but it does feel like once I finally get it off the ground it could be great.

  5. Um, I was kind of there a couple weeks ago. I wasn't querying, but I had a new WIP that I *really* felt I needed to work on, and it just didn't happen. I couldn't do it! So, I don't know. Currently I'm going through the MS I submitted to Cupid to make SURE it's where I want it to be. But I think Zappia, Gina, and Peggy are right - you've just got to get on with it and hope the flow returns. I'm fighting it now, even going through my MS.

    (P.S. One of my good friends says she's come to terms with the fact that she just. can't. write. while pregnant. She's tried, and it all comes out blah... I'm starting to think I may be in that boat too. I can edit great, but my writing isn't working, lol.)

  6. Yep. Exact same place.

    And...I hope that what's true for your friend isn't true for me! I won't be able to write for the next 9 weeks??? The horror. 0_0

  7. ONE is awesome your queries are awesome and once I become an agent, agents will be awesome. But apparently my future colleagues don't know what they're missing, don't worry I will show them :P Keep your head up and definitely keep doing kissing scenes, I will see you at 5!

  8. <3 Write down the first word. Then the first sentence. Then the first paragraph. One step at a time, you can do it :)

    Also, it's not unlikely I'll be starting my new insane SNI tomorrow (yeah, I know) so if you want someone to sympathize with first draft woes, you know where to find me :P

    1. INSANE NEW SNI????

      Oh, I'm so glad we're going through the same stages together. So, so glad. <3

    2. Literary MG! I've known all about the MC and the setting since this summer, but I've only figured out the main plot today. It's going to be epic. A story of ghosts and grief and war and swings and fairy tales and I'm SO IN LOVE WITH IT <3

      Me too!! :D

  9. Just write whatever you feel like - beginning, middle or end! It's better than nothing ^_^

  10. Will everyone hate me if I suggest you take a couple of days off from writing? Whenever I'm feeling burnt out or stuck, I take a couple of naptimes off, and just watch some Pretty Little Liars or The Secret Circle and give my brain a break. Sometimes a couple of days is all it takes to get going again. And I'm about to start querying too, so we can wallow in our misery together in just a few days!