Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Waiting Room

The last few weeks have been particularly difficult on the writing front, mainly because I haven’t had time to do any. I’ve found that this is really unhelpful when waiting to hear from agents. I go to sleep thinking about agents, wake up thinking about agents, and in between, well, I spend a lot of time thinking about agents. When I’m not checking my emails. It’s possible to obsess for several hours about whether the fact that I haven’t heard from Agent Q for four weeks now is a good sign or a bad sign. Even though I know it’s not a sign at all.

So I was very happy, last Saturday, when I was able to make a start on my next book. I could have started work on a sequel to the one currently doing the rounds, but that seems pointless unless someone picks up the first book. And, actually, I’m finding it fun to work on something completely different. I’ve learned so much about writing in the last few years, which doesn’t mean I’m a mistress of the craft or anything – far from it – but it does mean that I start further up the ladder than I used to. I have much more idea about how to build characters and plot; the importance of stress and conflict; ways to make dialogue and description really effective – lots of things, which make writing much more enjoyable, even at first draft stage. And you know what? As my crystal-ball-wielding mentor Debi so presciently foretold, writing something new takes my mind right off the whole agent/submission thing. It’s great!

15 comments:

Cathy said...

My first novel isn't even ready for submission but I'm already starting to research and plot the next one. I'll hopefully be ready to start the actual writing once the first novel hits the post box. I think it's great advice.

HelenMHunt said...

It's the same principle as with short stories really. Don't obsess about the ones that are out there - just get on with writing the next batch. Good advice.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Ooh, how exciting!

Definitely true that a new project takes your mind off submissions, but often easier said than done - not least because quite often submission is the last task in a whole project which has eaten large chunks from our regular life, and by that time we owe that life - and the people in it - a lot of payback time. So we just don't have the space for any new writing.

Can I say though, that I find it rather reassuring that so many people get similarly obsessed with their submissions, and unreasomably attached to their email inboxes. I find it particularly reassuring that you, Queenie, have fallen prey to this! I think of myself as a slightly mad bint who gets anxious and obsessive unnecessarily about all sorts of stuff, whereas I think of you as the most sensiblest and stablest person I know. So I'm almost a bit pleased that you too have experienced Multiple Explanation Fever*. ;)

*"Nothing has happened! It's probably because of this. Or maybe that. Or possibly the other. Or almost certainly this, that, the other and a pink elephant with square purple spots on."

JJ Beattie said...

Oh dear. I don't look forward to this obsessing because I know full well I will do it too.

I'm delighted to hear that you've been able to start the next book. Brilliant news.

Queenie said...

Cathy, it really truly is great advice. I'm glad you're on track with that.
Helen, you're so right - just send your babies out and let them find their own feet. (Or not, but there's nothing we can do about it by then.)
BS, I may just possibly be the second most sensiblest and stablest person you know, but I think we both know who gets the top spot ;-)
JJ, indeed you will. But now you know what to do about it, right?

SueG said...

I find that for the 1st month after submission I feel incredible relief. It's too early to worry. Too early to obsess. But then...wham! I have to constantly play tricks on myself not to write gentle hint emails and diving into my plans b, c and d. But starting to work on something else is a great antidote. While waiting to hear bout my 1st novel, I started writing my next (which turned out to be the 2nd half of a revised first -- so watch out about that sequel idea!)This time, I've written a poetry collection and a play. And lots of blogs! Good luck!!

Gemma Noon said...

Hey QUeenie,

you have my sympathy. When I first sent out novel One for submission, I felt sick after about a week, waiting for rejections. In fact, I do this whenever I have anything on submission, including waiting for interview responses!

FOr me, deciding that novel one needed to be shelved and have a huge revision done to it was actually a big relief. I'm working on something totally different now, but I'm already dreading the next batch of submissions :-S

Carol said...

I know how frantic i got after submitting my Uni work....i can't even begin to imagine how awful it is sending something that you have put your heart and soul into and not knowing when you will hear back!!

Brilliant news that you have started your next novel....well done you :-)

C x

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

"but I think we both know who gets the top spot"

Actually I'm trying to work out whether you mean your Top Bloke or mine! Personally I think mine is the bestest of all, but you are likely to think likewise about yours, but then again you probably would have anticipated that and therefore suggested mine as you were talking to me, but then again you said "we both know" which makes me wonder if it's someone else entirely...

See, I am a Multiple Explanation Expert par Excellence!

Debs said...

It's horrible having to wait, but I do love starting a new book.

Queenie said...

SueG, thank you, and good luck to you too!
Gemma, it's gruelling, isn't it?
Carol, it's dire - and thanks.
BS, mine comes a close second, but I think yours gets the top spot for sensiblest and stablest. Mine is loveliest, though!! (IMO anyway)
Debs, yes, that sums it up.

Debi said...

Oooh, I do so love it when people tell me I'm right ...

Pat said...

You seem to be doing exactly the right thing. Also enjoy the space where you have finished your book to the best of your ability and you can have a breathing space.

It's not all beer and skittles when you finally get hooked up and are constantly being emailed and asked to do things that you don't necessarily want to do.
I wish one could say - OK here's the book - get it published, sell it for a film and let me know when it's all over. It is quite a stressful period IMO. Just saying.

SpiralSkies said...

Oh, good grief, as if us writerly types aren't all barmy and neurotic enough. If you're battling a dose of the obsessives, there's no hope for us ordinary mortals.

Queenie said...

Debi, you're ALWAYS right. (Well, nearly always.)
Pat, it is indeed stressful. Hang in there!
Spiral, maybe it's catching? As in, maybe I caught it? From someone? ;-)