WAITING

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Waiting for responses can be so hard. In writing, it can be unBEARable (yeah, I just did that).

Why you ask? Well, we send our work off to an agent, editor, publishing company, somewhere, and we wait for a response. We HOPE for a “Yes! You’re work is incredible!” But we know the reality is we aren’t going to always hear that. In fact it can be quite rare. Many times, as I’ve personally discovered, and many writers have mentioned it happening to them, we NEVER hear back- not even a form rejection.

Let me give you some stats that I have over the past year from a picture book manuscript that went through a mentorship at Highlights Foundation, and left in sparking condition:

Sent to 35 agents, editors, small presses, and mentor/fellowships.

16 said no - 15 form rejections and 1 loved it but had to pass

13 no’s because of time, meaning they never replied, even after the three month nudge reminder

6 I am waiting to hear from

1 Revise and resubmit (I’ll be sending a friendly nudge soon)

That’s just ONE manuscript. There were to other PB MSs I sent out to a couple agents, but were either rejected or heard nothing. I did stop sending them after some critiques came back with the same issues. It also does not count the poems- single, groups, and chapbooks- that I’ve had rejected, as well as a couple short stories in the past year.

All told, I’ve had 35 rejections, and waiting to hear from 14.

It’s disheartening seeing those number. I was disheartened counting them. Twice. To make sure they are accurate.

The 29 that have said No to the one PB make me want to give up on it. It’s polished. It’s undergone some changes since April as two editors mentioned the same flaw, and both said how to fix it. One is whom I’m waiting for.

It makes you want to quit.

But, when you love something, and you believe in your work, you can’t. Ever.

So, you don’t. You keep at it and you just. Keep. Writing. And revising. And revising. And rev (okay, you get the point). And YOU SUBMIT AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Tomorrow is a big day.

It’s the reveal of a mentorship program for PB writers from #PBChat. The process of applying was incredible. Regardless of the outcome, it was a thought provoking application to fill out, one that has helped to push me along, and get me back into a writing groove (Even on here!). Tomorrow several PB authors (possible chapter book authors as one mentor was accepting them as well!).

I’ll just have to let you know.

But, for now, we’ll just have to wait.

How do you deal with waiting or with rejections? Let us know!

Mentorships, Grants, and Fellowships

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No, not that fellowship. I’m talking about the one you apply for, to get some sort of assistance for your writing. I’ve applied for all three over the years, and paid for a mentorship through Highlights Foundation last summer- conveniently called Summer Camp. That experience was amazing, and I’d love to do it again.

That’s not what this post is all about, though. It’s about applying. There’s a poetry fellowship I’ve been wanting to apply for, and finally did last night. But I did something so unwriterly that I had to make up a word for it (it’s back there- unwriterly). What did I do?

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Well, I wrote it, checked for spelling and grammar mistakes, and sent it in. As is. Was I happy with what I sent? Yes! I wrote with heart and humor, something I want all my writing to show. Okay, if you’ve read my ooolllddd IG posts, you know my poetry doesn’t really have humor, but it does have heart- even if it’s dark.

I loved what I wrote. I researched the fellowship. I read and reread the information about it from the hosts. How I wrote it was how they wrote their informational post. Humorous, but with heart.

I don’t do that for each of the grants, fellowships, and mentorships I’ve applied for. I do make sure they have heart and humor, but I don’t just write and go- I take my time with them, edit, choose my words carefully. I’ll be curious to see how it goes. I have a mentorship I’m applying for as well, but those questions have been ruminating in my head for a while, and will come out carefully.

But, I make sure I don’t lose myself.

Have you applied for any grants, fellowships, or mentorships? How do you write for them?

Rip Van Winkle

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Geez, has it been 20 years already? I didn’t think it’d been that long since I last posted. Now, my beard is even better than Dumbledore’s ever was!

Okay, so neither were true. It’s just felt like 20 years, and I can’t grow a beard past a few months because, well, itchy.

I flat out haven’t posted because the motivation hasn’t been there to write posts. Or write. I’ve been doing some minor tweaking of things, but no major overhauls.

I did get a revise and resubmit (my second ever!) and a really positive rejection back in April. I did resubmit, plus submitting the MS to a couple agents as well. I’m still in the waiting game, but it may be time to put this MS on the shelf for a while, despite the positives I’ve gotten on it from many. Maybe it’s just not good enough. I have been submitting it since the end of Highlights Foundation Summer Camp last year. I think a year of rejections may be enough for one MS for a while.

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Now to figure out what to work on next…

Trunkers

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Those manuscripts that are so bad you want to destroy them.  I have several, some of which I want to work on again, but know they are so bad, they’ll take more time than I really want to give them at this point. Both are hanging out of the trunk, begging for help, begging for lap time on my iPad to break out of the smelly ole steamer trunk in the basement (yup, we own one- I refurbished that $25 trunk about 18 years ago). 

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What’s wrong with them? Well, they suck. No plot, no story development, no character development.  Basically, they’re just a string of words thrown together that don’t do anything except take up space in the trunk. Below the pillows and blankets.  

Eventually they’ll make their way out.  But not yet. Not quite. They keep poking away at my brain, like Ralph’s finger. 

 

Do you have stories like that? They suck so much they make you doubt you have any intelligence whatsoever, but they keep poking away at your conscience?  

Revise and Resubmit

Within a few weeks of each other, I got the best rejection ever from a small press and a revise and resubmit from an editor!

 

Both had negative comments about the same thing.  Luckily, I’d started working on it after the rejection, and had some ideas by the time I met with the editor at a conference at The Highlights Foundation.

 

The meeting with the editor was part of a paid critique for the Eastern PA SCBWI conference a couple weeks ago. We spent the meeting time discussing what to do, what it needs, and it’s strengths.  I was asked a few more times during the conference if I’m going to resubmit- I took that as a HUGE positive! 

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 And now, as each day passes, even though I got a response thanking me for following up, and being swamped, I have doubts.  Did I send it too soon? Did I not have enough eyes on it? 


Those doubts creep in, like the darkness as a campfire slowly extinguishes.

I checked my phone often- did I get an e-mail yet? Now? Now?

So, what do I do? What should you do?

Get back to work on the next story, and wait. Patiently or not, you wait. (GIF)

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