Saturday, April 30, 2011

More on Querying: The Race

Last night I finished some edits, sent off a partial request, sent off a few more queries because I was feeling momentarily confident in my newly-edited manuscript, when--

BAM!

Panic attack. Or at least the writer's version of a panic attack.

What if they hate it? What if I just made it worse? What if there's a huge typo in there that I missed the last fifty times I read through it? 

CALM DOWN ... with the help of an analogy (because writers LOVE analogies, if you haven't noticed):

I am a runner who has trained faithfully for a race. I'm hoping for a prize, but there are no guarantees.

I'm at the starting line, but pre-race jitters kick in. My compulsion is to turn from the starting line, run in the opposite direction. My fear: losing.

How will I know the result if I don't begin the race? I have to trust in my training, that all those hours upon hours I spent in the gym, on the track, weren't in vain. That my coaches knew what they were doing when they pushed me past myself. I know the race ahead is tough. I will be stretched. But this is what I've prepared for.

TRUST.

And GO FOR IT.

Honestly, my panic attack was very similar to my writing buddy, Krista V.'s. If you like reading about other writers freaking out, click here. She makes some very good points. I followed her advice last night and finally went to bed ... (where I had quasi-nightmares about typos and hate mail from agents. *sigh*)

13 comments:

  1. Good luck! Panic attacks are perfectly normal. Remus Lupin says chocolate helps!

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  2. I am SO WITH YOU on this. I just posted about it, actually! I keep going back and forth about how much they'll love it/hate it. Querying is such an emotional rollercoaster. Good luck-- I hope some awesome things happen for you!

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  3. Thanks, Donna! Trying chocolate sounds fun. ;)

    Shallee, Thank you! YOU TOO!

    Thank you both for telling me I'm not alone. Phew!

    Amy

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  4. I'm with you in this process...I have one novel out with a person who's giving it a good thorough line edit - then I'll give her the other query materials to do the same thing with. I have another novel that is in a contest (actually both of them are) but this second one is in a FAT CHANCE contest if you get me. To get it ready for that I had to give it a good hard look and I realized I needed to re-structure it. Everything is there but not quite in the right order. For some reason, I'm waiting to hear about the FAT CHANCE contest before I proceed. Arggh. I woke up today, May 1st, and thought - time to get back into a schedule of writing, re-writing and querying. sigh.
    I'm going to now read ALL your query posts instead of just dipping in a bit - now that the A to Zed is over!

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  5. Ah, bless you. But it's great that you've received a partial req. Shows that your query is working for you. Very pleasing indeed!

    P.S. - Thanks for your comment on my blog regarding Roald Dahl. Made me smile. I will definitely look out for his biography :O)

    DUO

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  6. Good luck, Amy! Also, congrats on the partial request! :)

    I love the analogy. Yes, you can't win if you don't win the race. Go for the gold, baby!

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  7. LOL, I always feel like I'm going to be sick once I hit send or put the letter in the post.

    Congratulations on the partial. :) I've got my fingers, toes and eyes crossed for you. ((hug))

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  8. Good luck with the partial. (analogy coming up) I know you will find the perfect person with whom you will place your child,, Then you and that person will share custody as your manuscript moves through the process of publication. Happy Mother's Day.

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  9. Good luck! So excited for you! I'm starting to ease into a cooler facade, but I haven't sent my second batch of queries for that very reason . . . maybe one more edit . . .

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  10. I'm getting ready to query and just keep putting it off. Why is it such a scary thing???

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  11. Oh, good luck on your queries and requests. Wow. We are all neurotic like this, it seems. We doubt absolutely everything we do. But you're right...we've trained for this moment. I'm sending good vibes your way :D

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  12. Thanks for the shout-out, Amy! And I agree with the others - that's a wonderful analogy. You'll never win a race if you never line up at the starting line and take those first steps onto the course.

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  13. This sounds a lot like the 5K race that I walked a few weeks ago. To put it into an analogy....

    I prepped for the race, walking my laps on the nice, cushy track. Round and round I went with laps, revising my walk so that it was as perfect as I could make it, lengthening my stride, breathing deeply.

    Then came race-day. I dressed for the race in my best, race-like attire, including a neon yellow T-shirt with the name of my son's running-club. I put on my number and attached the timing chip to my shoe, with my husband's help.

    We warmed up and lined up like lemmings overflowing an e-mail box. The race started and I, to my disappointment, quickly fell to the back of the pack. Last, dead last. I walked quicker than I had on the track, and immediately started hurting w/cramped shins....but I kept walking.

    I huffed and I puffed and I struggled my way through that first half-mile, knowing that no matter what, I wasn't quitting.
    By the end of the first mile, I'd forgotten the pain, and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other, doing what I needed to do to finish the race.

    Before I reached the half-way turn-around of this out-and-back race-course, other runners approached on their own home-stretch. I cheered them on as best I could.

    Grabbing that cup of water at the half-way point felt like heaven to me!

    The home-stretch brough with it the realization that this was my own race, that I had to do this alone.

    I even tried to pass the walkers in front of me, but that didn't happen. I realized that I was a turtle.

    With about a half-mile remaining, my knight in shining armour approached with a bottle of water. Yes, a most-welcome surprise! I was no longer alone. His strength gave me strength.

    He walked with me until I was almost back to the finish-line. Then, as if on auto-pilot, hearing cheers from the crowd of 70+ other runners and their families, I ran the last 50 steps or so to cross the finish-line of my very first 5K race!

    It wasn't easy, but it was possible.

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