Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do you actually, like, write?

I had a couple of hours of daycare yesterday morning, time for me to write, and I thought I'd try to figure out what I actually did during that time. To be fair, I did write about 2,000 words on my WIP (the Twelfth Night with talking seagulls YA story set here in my home city), but that's only a fraction of what "writing time" means for me.

So yesterday morning, I:

  • read through my subscriptions to various writing-related blogs, noting items of interest to share with my online writing group
  • discovered a newer agent to query and entered her information into my query spreadsheet for The Dharma Bum Business.
  • discovered via the blogosphere that one of my favorite agents (I mean, favorite in the sense that I enjoy reading blog posts she writes and interviews she conducts...it's strange how writing becomes sort of a spectator sport at times!) is open for some types of submissions for the next month, and hey, my project fits one of those types!
  • researched both of those agents for submission guidelines, etc.
  • reread the first seven pages of TDBB that I include in my query letters with an eye to polish it up even more.
  • added a comma, removed an adverb
  • took away the comma
  • used a thesaurus briefly
  • deleted the whole sentence that used to be home to the adverb
  • followed a complicated process of saving as text to, one hopes, preserve the formatting when pasting the sample pages into an email (this process was maybe seventy-five and a half steps long and involved some burnt offerings and at least a dozen languages)
  • personalized my query letter
  • sent four queries and updated my color-coded spreadsheet
  • read several agent threads on a writing forum as research and updated spreadsheet
  • noticed that my google reader showed that several agents had updated their blogs
  • read blogs
  • made coffee
  • opened notes file for WIP and read through the summary of scenes I have left to write.
  • realized that the last time I was writing, I completely and shamelessly veered away from the "outline".
  • adjusted "outline". (okay, so the actual words I wrote were: "Oh no, I just realized this will all fall apart after that last scene, so...figure it out, all right? fix this. make it clever and shit.")
  • made toast to go with second cup of coffee
  • wrote 100 words of WIP
  • whined to writing group about how hard it was
  • posted excerpt, received praise
  • wrote another 100 words
  • checked email, found a rejection
  • cried
  • updated spreadsheet
  • reread query letter, trying to figure out what was wrong with it
  • took a spin over to Query Shark to look at query letters that *had* to be worse than mine. Instead, the entry is an example of a perfectly awesome query that I sure wish were mine
  • found that as usual, queries sort of all look the same to me, especially after I read a few in a row
  • got a headache
  • cancelled tentative plans to become a literary agent's assistant
  • wrote 500 words of WIP in a fit of pure, unadulterated genius
  • read a tutorial on synopsis-writing, and then another one
  • tried to start a synopsis
  • banged head repeatedly into desk
  • searched cupboard for jelly beans
  • sent myself a test email to make sure it wasn't malfunctioning
  • checked clock, found only thirty minutes remaining before I had to leave to pick up the kids
  • read over the last 700 words of WIP, found them to be utter crap
  • deleted and wrote 1000 serviceable first draft words
  • whined to writing group about how hard it was
  • checked clock, found that I was now going to be late to pick up the kids
  • sped away in the minivan like SuperMom, except unshowered and tardy and with no plans for lunch.


althrasher said...

Sounds familiar. At least you delete the crap--I just say, "Meh. I'll fix it in rewrites." I don't even read back over what I wrote anymore. It makes my life easier.

Krupskaya said...

Oh I know this song. Yes I do. I'm approaching the point where I'm going to set up a color-coded query Excel spreadsheet and I'm looking forward to it with the same type of joy I reserve for buying office supplies. In other words, intense and unadulterated.

elissa said...

alt, to be honest, I'm waaaay too ruthless with my deletion! at the first draft stage, I'm constantly banishing sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters to the void. some people cut and paste into a document because they can't bear to get rid of the words, but I just hack and slash.

krupskaya, sooo exciting! What's your genre? This is my third time on the query circuit, so certainly let me know if you have any questions! and agentquery is your friend!

elissa said...

(oh, and krupskaya, most of my writing babbling is on lj, so if you're on there you can friend me...I'm ellipssa)

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