Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How I Handle Rejection

An old childhood friend recently posted on my Facebook wall that I shouldn't talk about rejection but be positive about publishing.  Yes, I agree that being positive is important (hence the title living in the upside) but rejection can be important as well.

All writers get rejected.  Let's face it -- there are far more of us than there are publishers.  That's is a fact.  Rejection letters are not really rejection.  They are replys that mean you are not a good fit for us today but perhaps in the future.

Basic sales philosophy.  Not today only means not today.  Perhaps next time or perhaps you need to look at your presentation or perhaps I am in a bad mood or perhaps I am too busy or . . . 

So sending queries and asking for the contract is selling.  Look professional, sound professional and someone, somewhere will pick you up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

And Again

So I was rejected twice in two days.  That makes a total four rejections in the past few months.  I know that seems so little but until you see those actual words "You are not for us," it really sends you.  Right back to the middle school feeling that you are just not good enough.  Ugh, like a punch in the stomach.

The punch felt so physical that I resorted to the turtle and hunkered down under the covers and hid.  For almost two weeks.  I just licked my wounds and felt sorry for myself.  I was almost convinced that I wasn't good enough.

Amazing how those adolescent wounds are so fresh more than 30 years later.

So I did what I always do - open up Google and research rejection.  Thank you for the inspiration.  I am reminded to reach deep down like I did fighting cancer and autism.  Reach deep down and find the resources to keep going on!

I can do that!  Not can but will!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hit Send

Friday, September 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm marks the time and date that I hit send on an email query for my memoir, Umm, God, How Do I Sit on the Toilet?  I am going to take the process slow and target first Christian publishers and literary agents who are open to this genre. 

If that fails, I will refocus the target list towards any publishers/literary agents open to memoir.  Paticularly those who are OK with multiple submissions.

As far as I can tell, it can three to six weeks for someone to respond.  Wow, it may take a long time to find someone.

But that's OK, because I finally feel that I have a little time!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Drafting a Query

Drafting a query is an exercise in brief.  Convey your idea minimally and quickly.  Hit them hard and fast and try to leave a positive impressions.

That is the advice from the book I just finished on query letters.  Good advice with a well thought out formula.  So why then the first initial rejections.

Not that I don't expect rejection.  I expect enough rejection to line the walls.  But what I found missing was my voice.  Following the outline was a good exercise in presenting my case quickly and concisely.  Yet there was me there.

So I reworked the query for the past three months.  Yes, that sounds like a long time but remember my fingers don't always and there are children involved.  Writing will always come second while they are home.

Today I am hopeful.  I woke up this morning with an idea in the front of mind.  I rolled it around and began to get excited.  I think it could really be a good hook.

Here goes:

The distance from the average toilet seat to the ground is sixteen inches. That is a long fall with tubes sewn into your leg. Yes, I fell often and talk about in my humorous and inspirational memoir, Umm, God, How Do I Sit On the Toilet?   . . . .

What do you think?  Maybe someone will sit up and take notice.  Here's hoping!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Memoiring Again

Last spring I put the final touches on what some publishers would call a memoir.  I am not sure what the genre is - part self help, part story, part devotional and part guide.  The book is titled "Umm, God, How Do I Sit on the Toilet?"  As you can see, there is a great deal of humor too.

Now, I am working on query letters, researching publishers and hoping that someone will take a chance on me.  So far, nothing but I am hopeful.

The difficulty is the query.  Advice is that the query should reflect your style of writing.  As you know, I am a former English teacher and published author but my most comfortable style of writing is conversational.  I like to feel that I am writing and speaking directly to you the reader.  Perhaps that will resonate with some readers.

I hope to have a solid draft on the query by next week because I also need to start work on another project.  Next years Kid's for Christ VBS program.

Sigh, if only these deadlines came with a paycheck . . . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Niece and Wonderlust

My beautiful and talented niece Kelly Taylor (who has traveled everywhere!  Yes, I am jealous!) is really promoting her blog and her Facebook page!/GetWanderlust.  I am so proud of her and only wish I could take a little credit for her success.  But alas, I can only admire her travels from afar and give the credit all to her own adventurous spirit!

I believe we all need a little wonderlust so I challenge all of you to breakout your top ten list of places I want to visit before I die and start wondering.

Here's to you Kelly!

How did I do it?

I was asked recently how did I get through the past fifteen years.  Yes, it is the subject of my manuscript but the answer can be summerized into a few simple steps.

My mom calls it "crisis mode."  Just like waging a war, a person under attack can shift into crisis mode.  This is the same tactic you see in parents when their child is injured.  Unfortunately, crisis mode is an all too familiar  area for my family.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer and Adam with autism; my husband and I quickly reevaluated or to-do lists.  Our lists went from fix this or that to call him or her.  Information gathering was our priority.  The more we knew, the better we could decide our next course of action.

Crisis mode also means that you have to dampen feelings.  Anxiety, fear or even happiness all become secondary to purpose.  Purpose being doing what you have to do to survive even if it is scary or ugly.  Like a starving person eats old food in order to live, a person takes the chemo or listens to her son's screams in order to treat the illness.

Of course, prayer is a constant.  Crisis mode is necessary but not without prayer.  It is only by God's grace that we do live. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Six More Months!

Break out the bubbly!  I have passed my four years, six months exam.  No sign of a tumor so I am dancing with NED for six more months.  I just love NED - no evidence of disease.

I am back home with the kids off to school and now I can continue to work on the house and my manuscripts.  Goals for the next six months:  begin and maintain diet, exercise, finish manuscript/start next manuscript, submit manuscript, porch/patio, organize house and more.

As each healthy passes and I am encouraged that I will live a healthy future!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Six Months Out

August 1st usually means dog days of heat, humidity, shorts and sun.  For me, it means all of that and more -- planning for winter vacation.  Yeah, six months out and I start thinking ahead for what to do over Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

I began to watch the airfare and see if they have specials over winter.  The fall fares are already out and winter fares are just beginning.  I check the school schedules including any concerts, benefits or extra activities that would affect planning.  I put a quiet reminder to my busy husband to watch for any scheduling conflicts or issues that may affect planning.

I know my family.  I know one child may or may not be home from college.  The other two are willing to go anywhere at anytime.  Just let them know and they will be ready.  This includes my autistic son who by now knows trips mean fun and adventure.

Today I will grab my travel notebook and start working through my lists.  Maybe we will go somewhere - maybe we won't.  But I can't wait until the week before break to decide.  Now is the time to plan.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Empty Bucket

I have mentioned it before but I face it again.  My creative bucket is nearing empty.  I find myself  craving alone time so I can fill my creative bucket.

The problem is simple.  It is summertime.  The children are home.  I have a great relationship with them.  I want to spend with them.  They want to spend with me.  So I am talking with one of them. or all of them, all the time.  There is never quiet, alone time.  Without alone time, my bucket never fills up.

Which wouldn't be a problem except for the promises I made to others and myself.  I promised to work on publishing my memoir.  I promised to start writing my new teen fiction novel.  I promised to write the curriculum for next years vacation bible school.  Where I will find the inspiration, I don't know.

The other side of the problem is this -- the added stress of the cancer and fibro pain and worry for children - scoops out any creativity in my bucket.  I do find time to meditate, blog or pray and little bits of creativity creep in and leak into my bucket.  I cling to those beads of creative moisture.

I need to work on a method of instantly filling my bucket.  I need a method or idea that will generate creative thought and energy with simplicity.  Perhaps one of those beads moisture will yield a good idea. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

To Whom It May Concern

I pray that this post does not come across as whining but here goes . . .

To Whom It May Concern,

When I was young in the olden days 'common courtesies' was preached in the classroom.  The nuns emphasized manners in every aspect of our day.  Elders were address as Mr, Mrs or Miss.  There was no Miss Ann only Mrs. Schlosser.  This was indication of respect for the older person's age and wisdom.

Now this post isn't about using Mr or Mrs but simple courtesies like Thank You or Excuse Me.  For example, when you bump into someone, you say I'm sorry or Excuse Me.  Even if it wasn't your fault.  It is an acknowledgement that you and the other person invaded space and you saw them even if after the fact.  It is saying simply, "I see you and I know that we touched so I am sorry."

I find myself sometimes just wanting someone to say Thank You.  I see you.  I see you holding the door, standing there and smiling.  I see that you are a person who unintentionally bumped into me in this crowded place.  Yes, you are a person.

That is what common courtesy means.  A simple acknowledgement of the person's humanity.  And a simple nod to our own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Riddle

If you don't know by now, my son is special.  So when he totally stumped me, his english teacher of a mom, I was totally surprised!  Here is his riddle:

What seven letter word existed before God and is greater than the devil; poor people have it and rich people don't?

Do you get it?

I didn't.

I know he got off the computer but you have to realize that he first read it, comprehended it and then retold it in such a way that he didn't give away the answer.

That's my boy.