Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Give yourself permission...

...to push back self imposed deadlines.

Today was the day. I promised myself I would send off the first five query letters and start my search for an agent. Monday I was on track to meet this goal. However, Tuesday derailed me.

Two lovely people emailed me critiques of my query, synopsis, and first 10 pages. I hope they don't mind if I mention them here. CD Coffelt looked at the query and synopsis, and Beth Revis looked at my query and first 10 pages. They must have felt my desperation at not having a formal critique group and took pity on me. [I need to mention that Mia has read my entire manuscript and given excellent feedback, and Christi also critiqued my query and synopsis for me. *waves* You guys are awesome!]

Their feedback was honest and there were enough things brought up that I decided to wait for this initial round of queries. I knew there were things not quite perfect, but  I'm good at justifying all my choices. Really good at it. Plus, I had worked so long on Sendek that I was tired. I wanted to move on and forget about it. At the same time, I grew afraid that if I didn't take the plunge now and send queries, I would talk myself out of it. So, I pushed forward knowing I needed to resolve certain issues.

This is what I've learned out of the experience:
  • Don't give up on finding another writer willing to look at your work and give an honest critique. 
  • Be willing to change your plans if it will make you a better writer and increase your chances of hooking that agent.
  • There are really great people out their willing to take time out of their busy days to help a total stranger. Isn't that awesome! Now, I'm even more committed to helping when I can, because their advice may have saved me a lot of trouble.
  • If you have doubts about a chapter, there are reasons. Don't ignore them, or push them under the bed. They don't like it down there and they'll eventually crawl out and derail all your nice plans. 
  • Justification or the excuse of "complicated plot" are simply ways to be lazy. Lazy writers don't get agents. So, suck it up and get back to work. 
 I'm not pushing my deadline back too far. One week. In one week I need to have my stronger, more gripping beginning to this novel that has taken over my life. The good news? After moaning half the day yesterday, I came up with a plan, and it might actually work. Also, I now have some darlings to kill, which means I can post them on here. Right?

I'm envisioning that tab on my professional web page marked "deleted scenes".

Do you feel like you're rushing forward or dragging your feet? 

When was the last time you reevaluated your plan?