Where the Writing Rubber Meets the Road

I haven’t written here in a while, but I have been writing. Off and on, here and there when I’ve had time I’ve worked on my WIP (work in progress). I started it over four years ago, and had reached a mid-point some time last year when I was more convinced than not that I’d never finish it.

But I did, and I finally have a completed manuscript. I went through a final round of polishing and smoothing out syntax, getting rid of useless qualifiers and the occasional over-used comma. And 74,566 words later my WIP is finished. What a relief, and how absolutely terrifying.

I’ve reached the point where it’s no more about some day and maybe. My manuscript is done, and I’ve reached that day of reckoning for every writer–the one where you realize that the rounds of revision you keep assuring to yourself are absolutely necessary are in fact procrastination, an attempt to avoid what might end up in the dreaded big R–rejection. And that if you want to be published by a publisher rather than self-published through Amazon, you’d better start sending out query letters.

I’ve written my first one–it was as anxiety-causing as a first date or a job interview. As I research other publishers online, I’m unrealistically hoping that this one gets back to me so promptly that it’s the only one I have to write.  They are the publishers of books that I’ve come across while doing research for my project, so at least I know that they publish books on the general topic about which I’ve written.

I looked through guidelines of another publishing company, one that also publishes books on local history, but the qualifications needed to get a writerly toe in the door there seem nearly insurmountable. As I read down the list of questions for wannabe authors on their author guidelines page, I was reminded about a class I took at University of Maryland, during which the professor said “look to the right and left of you. Only one of the three of you will go on to get this degree” and I knew then that I was not that person. I switched majors and obtained a different degree.

As I wait to hear back about my first query, I’ll start sending out queries to other publishers of books on local history, including the one with the intimidating guidelines. In the end, I might be left with the sole option of self-publishing, but I feel good about my manuscript and think it’s worth trying to have it published via the traditional route.

In the meantime, I’m going to completely switch gears and get back to the children’s book I wrote called the Big Mean Cat (working title). When I’d set it aside, I was floundering in my attempts to illustrate it. I’ve been rethinking how I’m going to go about it, and am eager to give my new ideas a try. 

Hopefully it will be distracting enough to keep me from obsessing about how I’ll receive my rejection–by letter? Email? I wonder how many different ways you can be handed the dejecting rejection?

Never mind. I’ll focus on drawing cats instead.

to whom it may concern

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