Writing on Wednesday: Querying (again) and the Creative Process
I’m bored with my current memoir/essay project. The one I blogged about so enthusiastically here:
Turns out shaping the chaos is a lot harder than I thought it would be when I set out to organize those 126 pages of previously published work and write new material to tie it together. Maybe I’m not bored, just tired. Partly I think I’m tired from trying to market my novel and my essay collection. Here’s what that work has looked like for the past two months:
For the novel (Cherry Bomb) I’ve queried 29 agents and received 9 rejections. Two agents are now reading the full manuscript, and I haven’t heard back from the other 18. Lots of positive comments in the rejection emails, which softens the blows a bit, but they are, nonetheless, rejections.
For the essay collection (Tangles and Plaques) I’ve queried 27 presses and 2 agents, and I’ve received 7 rejections from presses—some indie, some academic.
It’s not that all the rejections are negative—several have been quite positive, with comments to the effect that the writing is good, the subject matter is important, but the timing is bad, as their press just did something similar or doesn’t handle this type of book (essay collection about long distance caregiving for a parent with Alzheimer’s).
The time and creative work involved in the query process zaps my energy away from the writing process. So maybe I need to take a break and refuel. I’m reading three diverse but satisfying books right now, and yesterday I gave myself permission to read for several hours during the middle of the day. It was refreshing. I think I’ll do that more often for a while until I get my writing energy back. It’s hard for a writer (and probably for artists and musicians and others who work from home and set their own schedules) to allow herself these breaks. I have a friend who is a fine artist/painter. She and I have talked about the need for refueling, and how she often spends time just thinking about her work, and that is part of the work itself. I’m going to try to remember that as I slow down for a few days…. But of course there’s always the temptation just to daydream about the beach!