Rejection

 

Yes, I’ve received my first rejections on my project ‘Get An Agent’ and no, I’m not too disheartened. It was a little stunning getting those first few self addressed stamped envelopes, I had so carefully printed, stamped and placed inside the packages and letters I’d sent. Surreal. I knew without opening them that the answer in all of them was, no. Some of them were so light that I wondered if there was anything in the envelope at all. There was. The smallest slip of paper, politely declining my request. The common response was that they had full client lists and/or the material was not right for them.

I had to wonder though, when they said the material was not right for them, what did that mean, exactly? Was it just a polite way of saying, “Get away from me kid, you’re bothering me” or something else?  How could material not be right for an agent? Do they specialize too? Is the world now just full of people who specialize and work in niche markets? It could be, but I couldn’t tell you. All I know is that these folks were either too busy or my material was not ‘right’ for them.

The interesting thing to me was that it didn’t break my heart or make me utter an unintelligible curse in their direction. I expected them. I think you have to expect rejection before you can expect acceptance. Life is like that, isn’t it? You don’t just hop on a bike and zoom down the street, popping wheelies like a pro. Nope. You get on the bike and fall down. And sometimes it’s funny and people laugh at you. But if you want to ride that bike badly enough, you get back on, willing to fall as many times as necessary for you to master it. To get to the goal of zooming down the street and popping wheelies like a pro. Yes, you get right back on the bike and you keep trying until you get there.

But I don’t like the word, trying. Trying implies that your heart isn’t in it. You’re trying to cope. Trying to learn. Trying to make do. Trying to accept rejection. No, I think maybe learning is a better word or just doing. So, this week, I’m doing rejection. I may do it next week again and perhaps even the week after that. Eventually, I’ll get it right.

It feels a little odd to be writing these words and thinking these thoughts because they seem unlike me. I was always a sensitive child and often took things to heart, personally, and would get so discouraged. I was frankly, afraid to even try this because I was afraid I would have that very reaction. Afraid that the Drama Queen would come out and have tantrums and then feel sorry for herself. But the DQ, seems to be happily asleep while I contemplate this new attitude. While I step into this new suit and strut across the room in it.  Maybe a few more rejections will coax the Queen out and she’ll have her way with me, but I don’t think so. I think maybe I don’t need her that much anymore. I think that I know what I want and that I’m okay with going after it. Whether it takes days, weeks or years doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped getting torn up about what people thought of my work. Either they like it or they don’t. Will read it or won’t. It’s always wonderful to get the praise and please a reader but I think that sometimes you learn more from the reader who rejects your work. Whether it’s writing or anything else. If you’re smart and you listen, you will learn things about your work from the naysayers. Maybe how to improve it but more maybe about yourself and what your work really is and isn’t. Who it is for and who it isn’t for. That’s pretty valuable stuff.

I can accept rejection now, I suppose the real question is, can I accept acceptance? Now, there’s an interesting thought.

WC

Synopsize Me!

The bane of my existence of late has been the synopsis for my novel – or should I say the lack thereof? Yeah, probably. This is a puzzle for me, since generally speaking I haven’t much trouble writing anything. In my illustrious (or not so illustrious) career as a writer I have written menus, newletters, how-to articles, stock offerings, business plans, short stories, poems, novels, blurbs, ad copy, business letters and I guess pretty much anything else you can think of. Yet, this animal known as the synopsis stymies me. It sends me out to shop, pull weeds, clean baseboards, shampoo the dog, vacuum, even ironing. Anything so I don’t have to face the fact that I simply suck at these things.I’ve gone to countless websites, read countless how-to and advice articles on the thing, begged many of the writers I know for tips, tricks and advice and really to no avail. I do have one started. But you know it’s been started for quite a while now and despite constant watering and fertilization it hasn’t become a synopsis yet. Which probably means I’m actually going to have to do something about it, with it, around it.I have recently employed the help of a fellow writer and asked her to give me a deadline or something, to see if that actually helps. Well, she has given me the deadline, so she has held up her end of the bargain. And I’ve written it on a little piece of paper that I prop up against my monitor (and successfully ignore almost always), so I suppose I’ve begun to do my part. But…

Now, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a little background: A couple years ago, maybe longer, I wrote a murder mystery that was really quite a lot of fun to write. Then it sat, because…well, then there is that marketing thing that must be done. You’d think since I’ve done marketing for other people and was actually paid for it, that it’d be a snap for me to do some for myself – not so much. So, it sat some more. A few months ago I had a friend read the manuscript which sort of got me fired up again and again I was determined to do this synopsis and I did get started and about a 1/3 of the way through but then – clunk – stopped. The bitch of it is that I need the darn thing to interest agents and publishers in my novel. I can’t just send it to them with a note that says, please read. They just won’t go for that approach anymore. Too bad, but true.

So, here I sit, waiting for the synopsis faery to drop by and sprinkle some magic dust over my computer so I can wake up to a perfectly done and presentable synopsis. I am getting a little worried though, my last call to her wasn’t returned and time is zipping by.

So, now I’m going to do something that I probably shouldn’t – I’m going to tell you the deadline. That way, if you’re in a particularly naggy mood on that day you can rag my butt about whether or not it’s done. Or you can make fun of me because I am just a total synopsis slacker. Take your pick. The deadline is – June 5th of this year (damn it!). So synchronize your watches and get those water balloons ready. Otay?

WC

What’s the Secret?

 

I’ve been blogging in the whacky world of WordPress for a few months now. And in that short time these guys have come up with all kinds of bells and whistles.

Every month there is at least one new theme, which we all have to run out and try. For me, that usually means I spend several hours trying to get the widgets to work right and re-do all the sidebar items only to discover I’m an idiot and can’t do it. Then reverting back to the prior theme.

They have changed the dashboard, made it easier to have multiple blogs, added custom headers, snazzy and fun little widget thingies and all sorts of stuff. As long as it isn’t too technologically challenging I can usually play around with them and get it right.

Then there is the secret stuff. The stuff that I either don’t get or the stuff that is just truly too mysterious. Domain mapping???Eh? What the heck is that and do I want it? Little video gadgets and mp3 widgies, blog surfer, feed stats, other kinds of stats, search terms, referrers, links, the list goes on and on.

But in all the time I’ve blogged with WordPress there is one area I have never been able to figure out. It’s the right side of the dashboard. Top WordPress Blogs. Fastest Growing WordPress blogs. Blogs of the Minute. Latest posts. I mean, I understand the concept but what I don’t understand is how they arrive at who the fastest growing blog is. Logic would tell me it has to do with stats – but no, that can’t be because my other blog gets far fewer hits than this blog and yet it was on the list a couple of times and I think was Blog of the Minute one day too. Is it random? Is it the result of content? Stats? Is there a secret vote? Is a matter of who bothers the tech support guys less? Who bakes the best cupcakes or what?

I really want to know. How the heck do they figure this stuff out? Or maybe I should say make the determination. For example, there was a blogger I knew of who actually hit number one on one of these lists and he’d been doing it for about 2 months – he didn’t seem to get any more traffic than I did, yet there he was. Nothing wrong with his blog or anything but it wasn’t earth shattering or ground breaking either. Just a regular blog type blog. So wtf?

Right now, there is one blog that has been number one on one of these lists since the day it started – now how is that possible? Did he get like 50k hits on opening day? I’m just wondering.

If there is some secret, I really want to know. Does anybody out there have a clue? Any idea at all? I mean I know that in the greater scheme of things, this matters not one whit – but it’s one of those silly things that just baffles me. So, theories? Ideas? Thoughts? Knowledge? Anybody?

WC

50K, Whaddaya Say?

Well, I got so involved with my gang story, I forgot to brag about hitting yet another blogger milestone. 50K hits. I can’t really believe it to be honest. When I started this blog last summer I thought it would probably last a couple of months and then I’d get bored or it would be so boring that petitions would be circulated to pull the plug. Well slap me silly and color me surprised.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this little piece of real estate in the blogosphere. I’ve met some amazing people and even more amazing writers. I’ve learned about many new things, have become somewhat less technologically challenged and even learned how to use my digital camera. All good things.

I’ve learned how to employ discipline to write regularly. In fact, I’ve never written more, which is a good, good thing. I’ve also become more curious as a person again, thoughts constantly going to what subject or topic I want to post on the blog. Read a lot more too.

But the very best thing about blogging for me is the interaction between myself and people from all over the world, across the country and probably even down the street. I’ve had some amazing debates, conversations and ideas tossed back and forth from all of you guys out there – and I want to say, Thank you. So very much.

I am honored and thankful to all of you for coming, reading, commenting, helping, giving me a laugh, a run for my money and introducing me to your worlds as well.

Much love,

Annie (aka Writer Chick)

Beauty, We Hardly Knew Ye…

While Britney is off in Europe mumbling because she’s forgotten the words to her own songs and Paris is hurrying to be fitted for her prison jumpsuit – I think it’s proper we all take a moment of silence to honor every beautiful, vacuous and spoiled woman in American society.

That was nice, wasn’t it? I mean, these poor, poor, little rich girls are  having an awful time of it lately and frankly, I think they deserve our sympathy. I think we should hold bake sales and church bizarres and send the proceeds directly to their publicists – so they can at least get some decent hair, makeup and wardrobe advice.

I think we should do a celebrity run so we can earn the money to send Ann Landers to each of the Tartlet Sisters and school them in the basics of common sense. I mean, face it folks, they’ll be running the world someday. Don’t you think? Now before you dismiss this comment too quickly think about it.

What are two of the top search terms on the Internet in any search engine today. A-yup. Can you say President Hilton and Vice President Spears? Don’t laugh, the Terminator is the governor of my state and an actor from Law and Order is a fav pick for the upcoming election. Not to mention the fact that one of our greatest Presidents, in a previous life, had a chimp as a co-star.

In this high-tech, photo-shopped, air-brushed, teeth-bleached society we live in today – anything is possible. And as it has been true for generations, beauty always gets the first consideration.

You don’t really think that Hillary Clinton or Katie Couric look that good, do you? You don’t believe that Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts are really that beautiful, do you? You don’t actually believe that Madonna can sing, right?

Okay, okay – maybe we don’t really have that much to worry about when it comes to Britney and Paris (poor dears) because they seem unaware of the world around them. But you know, Sheryl Crow seems to think she has an opionion, Jennifer Aniston does too, Susan Sarandan and Rosie O’Donnel are on the band wagon as well.

If you don’t think any of these women aren’t considering a foray into politics then you really do think that Hillary has a soul.

Beauty, beware and so should the rest of us, too.

WC

Friend or Foe?

 

I have, as I’m sure all of you have, encountered some snaky people in my life. Unfortunately, it seems something no normal person can dodge. You are destined to meet and experience at least one. And if one is all you ever have to deal with, consider yourself lucky.

It seems I sort of have this sort of thing happening again. It’s very subtle, so much so that I wonder if I’m imagining it. I wonder if I am simply being paranoid, finding things where in fact nothing exists? It’s possible – I’m not brilliant or anything, nor am I without mistakes (a buttload of them) or flaws (an even bigger boatload of them) – yet I can’t quite shake this sense…of something.

Have you ever had someone in your life who seems to covet, maybe even crave what you have? Now it may be good, great or even not so great, but this person really seems to want it. Whether it’s a pink sweater or an easygoing friendliness with the mailman. You can almost see the craving in the eyes, hear it in their tone and words. Yet when you try to look at it directly, it seems to disappear out of view. (Anybody ever see that movie, Gaslight? I’m saying…)

Naturally, you chastise yourself, believing you are being overly sensitive, imagining motive that isnt there – giving that person the benefit of the doubt, while with yourself you will cut no slack.

Then you start to notice little things – they are suddenly using phrases that you use, making similar jokes, in subtle ways assuming your…I don’t know…is it style? personality? what? And it’s a sort of creepy Twilight Zone experience. First of all, who the hell would want to be me? you ask yourself. What the hell is there to covet? Who knows? Still, you can’t shake the feeling.

These folks also other funny little things. If they feel you’ve been ignoring them, they call or write complaining of it. Acting hurt or worried that you’re upset with them or don’t like them anymore. Honestly, after the age of 10, isn’t this a little strange? In my case, if one of my chums is upset with me I usually know and if I don’t I simply ask, ‘hey, did I piss you off or something?’ Isn’t that normal?

Anyway, I’m not even sure I know where I’m going with this post – maybe it’s a cautionary tale. Maybe it’s just ramble. But I’d say, beware of people who fawn a little too much at you. Beware of those who pursue you a little too often and enthusiastically. Be careful who you take into your confidence and introduce your friends to – because frankly, some people have more than one face and honestly, neither one is very pretty.

WC

Is Reflection a Bad Thing?

 

Lately it seems I’ve been stumbling upon various posts that complain about the introspective (selfish?) nature of bloggers. Too self involved, too much ME and not enough THEM or IT (I guess?).

It made me wonder because recently I’ve been writing some ‘think’ pieces. Have I been just thinking out loud, instead of writing? Thoughts that shouldn’t be spoken or written but kept to myself? Maybe I’ve just been bumming y’all out without realizing it. Cringe. And hey, maybe that’s something bloggers shouldn’t do. Or maybe it’s just something I shouldn’t do?

Is it arrogant to think that anyone out there is interested in my inner thoughts? Could be they’re ‘inner’ for a reason. Hmmm.

But if that’s the case, doesn’t that violate that old writer’s chestnut about writing what one knows? The goal of writing in part is to write it real and to be true and honest in what we write. If that’s the case, then how can we write without looking inward and reporting what we find there?

Is reflection part of that or is it just pure indulgence? I really don’t know – so please feel free to jump in and offer your opinions about it.

We all have our reasons for blogging – we all write for a reason, but isn’t it a universal truth that writers (or any artist for that matter) write because they feel they have a voice and want it to be heard. That they have something to say? I mean, somebody has to say something, don’t they? Even writers/bloggers who write as though they are above it all – aren’t they really just espousing their opinions too? Aren’t they writing from the core they call self?

 I don’t know – it could be there are those of you out there who can write from the ‘outside’ as observers. Maybe that’s the way it ought to be. But in my mind, if you’re writing from the ‘outside’ as an observer then aren’t you just recording what you see and hear? And if so, are you the origin or just the conduit through which the reporting of facts and events come?

Me? I write from the inside out. It’s my way and always will be. Call it indulgent, call it self-absorbed, call it egotistical – call it whatever you like. For me, it’s the only way to go.

What about you? From the outside or the inside? Is reflection actually a thing that is better left unsaid and in your head?

WC

An Answer For Everything…

 

When I was a kid, my mom used to say I always had an answer for everything, which was code for ‘you’re such a smart aleck’ but I enjoyed nonetheless.

Well, this isn’t really a post about that though.

Debi of Ms Crankypants has posed three questions for me to answer -an off-shoot of the whole Alabaster Crippens meme – and I decided to answer them here.

So here goes:

1) What event from your childhood or teen years still has a lasting effect on you to this day?

This is a tough one because it is quite personal. But what the heck… When I was about 12, I was very excited because I had managed to save a good deal of money for Christmas gifts. I really wanted to buy something special for my mother. So, I really budgeted the money for the other gifts on my list so I’d have enough left over to buy her a real gold cross on a chain. She had mentioned many times how she had wanted one and I was thrilled that I was going to be able to give her one. I bought the cross, tiny though it was and on a very delicate chain, it was still 14k gold and I couldn’t wait for Christmas day to arrive.

After weeks of agonizing waiting Christmas day arrived and I gave her the gift. Beside myself with anticipation. When she opened it, she cried and I was elated that she was so touched. But then she said, ‘It’s so small. Is that all you think of me, to give me something so small?’ (or words to that effect). I was crushed of course and disappointed. And I think I tried to explain to her but honestly, it’s a bit of a blur what was said after that point.

At the time, I thought she was being mean. Or maybe that she just didn’t love me very much or less than my brothers and sister. And I vowed I would never buy her anything that would ever enter the area of ‘special’ again because I couldn’t bear that kind of reaction from her again.

But in retrospect, I don’t think she was being mean. I think that she had many insecurities and self doubts. And that for some reason that necklace reinforced those insecurities and doubts. That in her mind, it validated her fear that she didn’t matter. And to me, that is even sadder that my mother wouldn’t know how much I was trying to please her and make her happy.

It has always affected my relationship with her and I’ve always felt tenuous with her and worry whenever I have to buy her a gift or send her a card. I try to pretend that it doesn’t matter but it does. She has a birthday coming up and I spent days trying to find something to send her that I thought she would like. I settled on something but I have little hope she’ll like it. I know she’ll say she does but…

Anyway, that’s the answer to that one.

2) What is the purpose of imagination and where does it come from?

I believe the purpose of imagination is to bring about the future. Without imagination, we would not have any of our modern technology, music, art, literature – artists are the dreamers of our society and they through their art dream and bring into reality products of their imaginations.

3) What book would YOU want to have written, and why?

Without question I would have wanted to write Atlas Shrugged. There are several reasons why. I strongly identified with Dagny Taggert, a true individual who did not care what others thought of her and was guided by her own conscience and values, despite incredible influences to act otherwise. She would not compromise her beliefs or ideals. Also, I believe it is one of the most important books ever written because it makes the case that we are each responsible and accountable for our actions or inactions and that no one is owed a living, wherewithall, possessions, or status that is not earned. To me, a definitive text of the 20th century and modern society. And probably most importantly, because it was an elegant and flawlessly written story that continued until it was truly over. Rather than ending on a specified page count.

Well Debi, there you have it. That was interesting… 😉
WC

How Does It Dream To You Now?

 

When I was a little girl, a very little girl, I wanted to be a ballerina. I could envision the stage, the music and my perfect, graceful body flying through space. But how did a three-year-old know about such things? My family came from farmers, people of the earth, not artists. What weird reconfiguration of fate placed me there? What master plan was in play?

I always felt just a little outside the family. As though I wasn’t really there. I was in a physical sense of course. I was the one with the blonde curls and soulful eyes. I was the wise child who didn’t say much but seemed to know plenty. The one who always wondered if the stork had made a wrong turn because of a snow storm or earthquake. The others fit into each other like puzzle pieces. They made a picture that made sense. I was the piece that no one could find the niche into which I belonged.

The next dream was to be a fireman. Then a teacher. Then a doctor. A bon vivant who strolled the streets of Paris singing out ‘bonjour, bonjour!’ My mind couldn’t settle on just one, I wanted to be them all. Perhaps that is how I came to writing. There are no limits there, you can be whoever and whatever you want to be. Just put the pen to paper and voila you are there, you are it. Simple. Easy. Well, not quite.

My head was in the clouds or off on some distant planet. My heart was wrapped in the colors of my imagination – such vibrant, dimensional colors that I never longed to be back on Earth. Yet, time and again I would be pulled back to perform a mundane task; laundry, cooking, making my bed, homework, going to work. And each time the me inside of me would protest, pout a little and carry on like the martyr I was. ‘It’s not fair,’ I’d mutter to myself. ‘I don’t want to do this.’ At which point the practical me would surface and scold. I had to work hard, I had to carry my weight, fulfill my obligations – life was expecting it of me and I acquiesced. Damn it! Damn it all to hell!

I comforted myself with the dream that one day I would have my dream. That one day I would finish all the chores and work and obligations and then I could really live my dream. Even though my dream was constantly shifting and changing shape and no matter how much I chased it, it could never be caught, I still dreamed of living my dream.

Is it an inherent quality of writers that they are never satisfied? Is it part of the spiritual and mental makeup of the scribe? Or is it that we can so easily assume the viewpoint of anyone and anything? That is a quality that has always annoyed many in my life. I can pick up an identity and be it – like that. I always have wondered if it’s a charm or a curse. I’m not sure I will ever be able to answer that question and maybe I prefer to have it lurking around in my psyche to tease and taunt me like a naughty lover who won’t commit. Meanwhile, half the time I feel like I should be committed.

So here I am, all grown up as they say and I’m still chasing the dream of the living the dream and I have to ask myself, ‘What is it?’ So many answers pop up, like impatient school children flailing arms in the air when they are sure they know the answer to the teacher’s question. But only answer that rings true is, writing. I want to write. I want to spend the rest of my life writing. And if I’m lucky I will die in front of my computer or at a desk with pen and pad in hand, in the middle of thought that was so pure and perfect that I had to get it down before I lost it. I may never amount to anything, be a someone, be sought after by fans or groupies or even get any of my books published BUT I will always write. And that makes me a writer because a writer writes. And so I am living my dream. So, it dreams to me now pretty damn fine.

Tell me your dreams.

WC

What Would the World Be Like Without You?

 

As I’ve said probably too many times – I love the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Because I love the premise – What would the world be like without you? To me, that is a fascinating concept.

I mean, think about it – how many lives do you touch during the course of your life? How many times have you intervened without giving it a second thought – and possibly saved someone’s life? Stopped someone from doing another harm. Made someone laugh and change their mind about taking some dark course. Encouraged someone so much that they went on to succeed at something they might not have ever tried?

Like the lady I saw looking at peanut butter at the grocery store. I didn’t know her, I’d never seen her before in my life. Yet, I was compelled to say ‘make sure that isn’t one of those brands they found with semonila  (sp) in it.’ Now why did I say that? Was there some perception on my part that the food would hurt  her? Did I instinctively know she shouldn’t eat the dang peanut butter? As it turned out, she didn’t buy it and thanked me for saying that.

Or the kid I chased down the street to give a sandwich to because I knew he was living on the street and was hungry. Maybe he didn’t try to steal money from an old lady later that day because he didn’t need to. I don’t know and I’m not trying to make myself out as some sort of hero – not at all. I’m just an average person who tries to live as a decent human being, despite my rants and the things that aggravate me. I try to help people. To encourage people. It’s so much easier to give love than to withhold it. To help than to harm.

I don’t know what the world would be like if I weren’t in it. I don’t know if anyone would notice that something was missing. Maybe so. Maybe not. But I wish I could be like George Bailey and get a 24 hour period where I could see my life without me in it. I suspect it would make me much more grateful than I am, for all the many things in my life that I take for granted. And perhaps there’d be a few surprises that would make me feel differently about me.

I guess my point is that we all (too often) feel small and powerless in the world. And maybe even feel as though our efforts don’t matter in the greater scheme of things. But I think they do. I think that the aggregate of our small acts of kindness, love, help and awareness are part of the greater scheme of things. And without them, the world is a smaller place. We are all special and important in some way, to those we know, those we encounter and even those we don’t know.

So, what about it? What do you think the world would be like without you? I really want to know.

WC