just walk away.
it’s friday, i’m burnt out from all the self-induced stress of trying to craft the perfect query letter, i’m not getting enough sleep, and i’m starting to get sick (surprise).
it’s always morbidly fascinating to me how far in a hole i can get before i realize where i am. i’ve been pushing so hard recently, that i utterly lost sight of two of my own basic rules: exercise and distraction.
thankfully, i started back down the path to sanity last evening when i got out on the treadmill for a bit. it was only a mile run, but that’s a bit of a personal milestone these past few years thing thanks to the joys of IBS. most importantly, though, it was something, enough to get my muscles active.
unfortunately, while i knew i needed exercise, i attributed it directly to yesterday’s anxiety (and, likely, the tea). so after dinner and dancing (class has started again), i plunked back down in front of the computer and fretted and tweaked and researched and stressed until way, way past my bedtime.
it was sometime in the wee hours of the morning when i realized it was friday and that it’s not generally a good idea to send new business on the day before the weekend; far better to start bright and early on a fresh new week. this consideration only made me more anxious, however, as it meant sitting on these letters for another three days, and what if, as, in fact, happened yesterday, one of the agents i’m hoping to submit to suddenly decides to stop taking queries.*
then i realized what i was doing to myself, and all of a sudden it all made sense. i’ve spent a lot of time on these letters, done a lot of research, and crafted each one as tightly and specifically as i can. honestly, i think i’ve done a pretty darn good job. more than this, though, i believe i’ve written a damn good story.
and i’m just beginning.
i mentioned in the footnote that timing is everything. that’s not really true, though it certainly seems that way more often than not. the blogs are filled with people claiming the end of a particular trend and looking for insights into the next one, so they can be at the front of the curve, not behind it.
to which there is only one real response: just write a good story; don’t write to a type. if you happen to be writing in a type, that’s perfectly fine, just don’t write it because of that.
i used a genre type as the original framework for No Good Deed, but that’s only how it started. if there’s one thing i know about myself, it’s that i generally can’t leave well enough alone. in many things, this is a problem, but in writing, it’s the sharpest spur i have for continuing to grow and learn and discover. so, too, with NGD. despite my constant emphasis on outlines and planning, i can’t write-by-numbers. besides, Kelly, the main character, wouldn’t let me.**
so i wrote a story i hadn’t seen anywhere else, because that’s what intrigued me.
and that’s why i write.
in realizing this, then, i realized that i’ve been way too deep into the technicalities and i need to let go for a while, just in time for a weekend full of springtime sun. if i get sick, then i will read some wonderful books curled up by a window; if i stay healthy, then it’s hill-walking and fresh air for me.
i’m already lighter and calmer for this. time to pick some blueberries.
* no joke. it really happened. one day this agent’s on my list; the next, temporarily closed to submissions due to query saturation. timing really is everything.
** i know because i did try a couple times to take the shortcut out, the easy explanation or sleight-of-word gloss, when i got lazy or exhausted. each time was an utter disaster and it all came down to me not putting in the effort to be true to the story.