Working Hard

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but believe me, that’s a good thing. There are things happening in my writing world that are under the hood, but will ultimately propel me forward once the time is right and everything aligns.

Here’s what I’ve been up to since my last update:

  1. Working on a R&R for an agent I sent my MS to over the summer. There was great feedback, encouraging and challenging. So I’ve been revising, which hasn’t been bad for the most part. Of course I get my days of crippling self-doubt. What writer doesn’t? But then there are the good days when the ideas flow so fast and hard that I don’t even want to take time to eat dinner.
  2. Met Rena, my new best friend who also happens to be one of my favorite readers and cheerleaders. I never thought I’d find a new best friend at age 40 (now 41 eep) but here she is. Just what I’ve been needing and I adore her. She’s one of those people who energize the whole room when you’re around her, and she’s so smart and just amazing. I am so lucky!
  3. Applied for, and got accepted to the Writing in the Margins Mentor Program. I’m thrilled and I am also nervous. My mentor is a very successful author and I’m excited to be working with her.
  4. Joined Maggie Stiefvater’s Critique Partner Match Up. Honestly, when I posted my info and pitch, I didn’t expect any bites, but the response was overwhelming. I ended up sticking with three from that match up: Sarah, my cheerleader who is amazing at picking up inconsistencies, repeated words, and little things that are so easy for me to miss because I am so close to the MS. Reagan, who challenges me in ways that make my ego go ALL THE NOPES but once that gets pushed out of the way and reason sets in, make my book so much stronger. And there is Rachel, who is the perfect balance between Sarah and Reagan. She pushes but also heaps praise when warranted. Rena is balanced just like Rachel. I feel like I have the perfect mix of critique partners, and after flying solo with this project for so long, it’s good to have the outside perspective.
  5. Got invited to the most amazing tribe of writers who are all of color. The support in this group is overwhelming and makes me want to cry happy tears from time to time. I am so glad to have found this safe space of people who have each other’s backs and who are teaching me so much.

In a few months, I’m going to be ready to send my new and improved MS to the agent who requested the R&R, and I’ll be getting ready to start that fun process of querying. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that big time, so I know that I have to prepare myself mentally. Years of being away from this process, and years of breaking myself open with yoga have made my skin thin and I need to tap into … something … and build up my strength again. Here are some things I’m working on in regards to that:

  1. Remembering that it’s not personal, it’s business. A rejection is no different from me picking up a book, reading the back cover, and thinking “not for me.”
  2. Building up my network of supporters who indulge me a little, but also help me see things in an objective way.
  3. Changing my mindset! This is the most challenging one. I have to believe in myself and my writing. The self-doubt is a normal part, but sometimes I go beyond and I worry that I’m self-sabotaging. It’s time to stop that. It’s time to change my vibration. That, mixed with hard work, will attract success.
  4. Not rushing. Taking my time to do things right. It’s hard. I feel like I’m running out of time. I don’t know if this is a real thing or if my mind is playing tricks on me. The temptation is to rush so I make myself take time away every week.
  5. Not giving up even though I want to every four days.

I’m ready to be past the “You’re close but…” and right in the solid “Yes, yes, all the yes!”

Ronni’s Rules of Writing**

** That she may or may not follow herself but would like to try OK and why am I writing about myself in the 3rd person?

  1. It’s OK for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. drafts to suck. You’re just experimenting, playing around, trying things on for size. This is the fun part, even though it’s super painful at times.
  2. Stop comparing your 1st drafts to published works. Those drafts will never measure up and that’s OK.
  3. Don’t get discouraged when you inevitably DO compare your 1st drafts to the published works.
  4. Don’t compare your writing path to others, especially those in the places you want to be.
  5. Don’t be afraid to take risks and tell your truth.
  6. Write at least 100 words every single day. Or at least every other day.
  7. Read. Read read read. (this one is easy)
  8. Don’t feel like you have to follow every piece of writing advice out there. Not everything works for every writer.
  9. On that same note, don’t use the ole “checking out writing advice” as an excuse to keep from actually writing.
  10. Effing WRITE.

The Feels

I’ve decided that I need to put my WIP aside so that it could *marinate* so to speak. There are some problem areas that I need to distance myself from so I can fix them with a more objective eye later. My original start date was March 15. I put it away and tried not to look at it again. And I FAILED. I didn’t think I’d miss the characters and situation so much. They’ve been a big part of my life since late 2012, so it’s hard to cut myself off from them so abruptly. I keep sneaking the project out and saying “I’ll just read it over and put it away,” but then I start fiddling. I’ve got to stop that. If I want this to be a successful project, I need to leave it the heck alone for a while, right?

I think a lot of writers hate revisions. I LOVE revisions. Revising means there’s already something there to work with. Brainstorming is great because there is so much potential. So many ideas and things inspiring me. The writing, is the hard part, which is also my least favorite. But it’s part of the package, and I can’t revise if there is nothing to revise, right?

I am dabbling with a new project to hopefully distract myself. The feels, oh the FEELS. Meeting new characters. Hopefully falling for them. New situations and settings. It’s exciting and scary and taking that plunge is so…weird. And exhilarating. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this, so it’s almost foreign. I’d forgotten how thrilling it is to start a new project. I hope I never forget again.

I’m just glad to be writing. I’m glad I’ve gotten the joy back and that I’m actively working on projects. It’s nice to have a dream again.