Monday, June 3, 2019

June Update: Lackluster Progress

I'm still in the query trenches, and it's still really killing my creativity. I didn't get nearly as much done last month as I would have liked, only writing about 13k words. About 10k of those words were on my novel, but the rest were brainstorming and finishing up the SP adventure from April.

I'm starting to rethink my "quarters" after this month. In some ways, I like it. I like having three months to work on one aspect, because if one month ends up being a flop, I still have two solid months of work. On the other hand, writing 15-20k three months in a row is a lot. I guess I've done it before, so it shouldn't be as daunting (both the first and last books from MystWatch I spent 3+ months writing 15k+ consistently). I guess maybe my mid-year break just came a little early. I had figured June would be my slow month. Now, June needs to be my catch-up month.

Either way, it doesn't seem likely that I'll get Chain Letter Choice done. I'll have to decide at the end of this month where I'd like to go from here. Continue doing quarters and switch to editing? Keep writing? If I do write, do I do the next SP adventure or try to finish CLC?

One thing I managed to finish in May was the James Patterson Masterclass. Part of that was because on days I was really unmotivated to write, I pretended that learning about writing was as productive as actually writing. I know to some extent, it's necessary work, but it's not a great excuse for not writing. I will say I learned a thing or two from him, so I'm glad I took it. His class just wasn't as good as Gaiman's.

My biggest takeaway from Patterson is outlining. I've always been a planner/pantster hybrid, but after seeing how efficient his process is, I'd like to go more planner. My biggest argument against outlining has always been that it sucks the fun out of the story if I know what's going to happen. But the actual joy of writing should be in turning a dry, telling outline of a scene into a beautifully crafted scene that shows what I want to convey. I did it with MystWatch book 3. Most of the second half of the book was done that way, and it in no way hindered my creativity or joy.

So I've decided to go ahead and outline the rest of CLC as an experiment to see if outlining works for me.

I imagine I'll still do NaNo as a pantster, because some of my most off-the-wall ideas come from diving into a sprint unsure of where I'm going, but I think for non-first books in series, for the SP adventures, for books I need to finish once NaNo is over, I might start to do more outlines.

As far as querying goes, I have submitted 45 queries. Right now, I'm at 22 outstanding queries (a couple of which I will probably close out this week), 18 rejections, 4 closed with no response, and 1 full manuscript still out there. I have been doing a lucky job search candle magic spell on Sundays to put positive energies out there, but I haven't had much success from that so far. I'm hopeful this week that will turn around.

I have also had zero success keeping myself from obsessively checking Query Tracker. But it's fine. Checking it is better than wanting to check it and wondering. I'm thinking about it either way. Plus, I'm watching the two agents that are closed that I want to submit to. I will probably send out queries to five more agents at some point this summer, then call it quits for awhile. Although #Pitmad is this week. I'm debating whether or not I want to participate. If I do, I really need to work on my pitches. And my hook. That's the other thing I learned from James Patterson. Pull agents in with a good hook so they have to know what happens.

I've learned a lot this round of querying. I thought I was an old pro after querying my first book, but boy was I wrong. I'm still such a newb. It gives me the confidence that the next time I query, things will go a lot better.

I haven't entirely given up on this book as far as querying yet, but we're getting close to the end. So far, it's had less interest than my first book. I'm starting to think the full request was just a fluke. I hate to put that negative stuff out there, but all my fears and insecurities are nagging at the back of my brain. Maybe I'm not ready. Maybe I'm not actually that good of a writer. Maybe all of my ideas are overdone and tired so nobody will ever want to read my books.

Thing is, even if all that is true (which, on some level, I know is not), I will keep writing. Keep trying. This is what I do. Even those days I want to throw in the towel, never write again, it doesn't last. I will keep doing this, even if I never get published. Because I am a writer. For better or worse.

So. For June. I'd like to get CLC outlined and at least another 10k written on it. I'd like to query the last five agents on my list when they open (which might mean rewriting my query a bit). I'd like to start another writing Masterclass. And I'd like to write a short story, since I haven't yet this quarter (and since we didn't go to Conquest, I didn't get to do story-in-a-bag).

Seeing as it's already June 3rd, I guess I'd better get to work.