March’ 23: The Perpetuity of Querying Anxiety, or Maybe My Skin Ain’t as Thick as I Thought

Thanks for reading! 

Any support, even just giving these posts a read, is always appreciated.

Recent Updates:

For once, I have some pretty significant a pretty exciting update!

In late February I got my first full request from an agent, and more specifically from an agent I thought I had no chance in even getting any interest from, much less enough interest that they decided to read the entire thing. 

This is really exciting for a number of reasons, all of which I will go into in the fascinations section of this newsletter. 

Be sure that I will keep a running update here of how that goes!

Project Progress:

I finished the post-apocalypse rough draft! It turns out that February was a very productive month for me overall, and I was able to wrap up a story that, in one form or another, had been haunting me for more than five years. 

Now, I’ve moved on to editing the horror novella that I finished the rough draft of back in the Fall of 2022. 

Recent Fascinations: Realizing the Limits of My Querying Resistance

All right, so, to get the celebration out of the way, glory glory I’ve gotten my first full request! The excitement I feel from this is impossible for me to explain. It is a high that I haven’t felt since my first short story acceptance, and it has really, really, made me more confident as a writer. 

The query that developed into my first (and as of writing only) full request was one of the original batch of six I sent out way back in December of ‘23. This particular query was to an agent that I would have described as my dream agent if I even thought there was a cold chance in hell. It was the long shot, straight from JV to the major leagues, unthinkable agent. The agent I sent a query to expecting a rejection but knowing I would hate myself if I had never taken the chance. 

For EIGHTY-NINE DAYS I watched the counter on that query tick up. Agents sent rejections, I sent out new queries, and the longshot ticked up. When I mentioned this particular query to my writer friends, I called it the “never gonna happen” query. I disregarded it, its status on my Query Manager page just a reminder that sometimes this whole writer thing requires us to take a chance or two.

I don’t think I’ll ever have the words to describe the feeling that came over me when the full request came in, but it is a high I’m still riding as I write this. My writing hadn’t just been noticed and recognized as something worth a second look, but noticed and recognized by an actual titan of the industry. With all of this joy, though, came a realization that maybe, just maybe, my skin isn’t quite as thick as I think it is. 

Throughout my querying journey so far, I have remained resilient to the wearing forces of the process. Rejection is part of the job, and I’ve taken each one with a smile. A rejection comes in, I send out a new query. I’ve solidified that process into something that I feel is sustainable. I’ve settled into a pace that works for me and my writing goals. Through all of this work I’ve managed to keep my expectations realistic, not anticipating anything beyond a rejection from any of the queries I’ve sent out. 

However, the moment that the realization around this first full request settled in, I knew that those emotional defenses have a limit. Even though I have no real expectations of anything coming from this full request, I also know that once that rejection comes in, I will be totally, absolutely crushed. 

I hope no reader of this misunderstands me, though. This full request has done a great deal to show me that my writing, and especially this dark fantasy manuscript, is worth something. It’s an irrefutable statement from the industry that this is all worth the effort. I also hope that any reader doesn’t think I’m dejected or self-depreciating when I say I expect nothing to come from this full request. I really, really, hope that this full turns into an offer. I think the work is worth it, I think I have a chance. 

But at the end of the day, I have to try to keep some semblance of realistic resistance against the coming barrage of rejections. Still, I know that whenever the response to this full does come, no matter what it is, I will feel it with my entire being. 

Thanks for reading.

February ‘24: The Month of 10,000 Days

Thanks for reading! 

Any support, even just giving these posts a read, is always appreciated.

Recent Updates:

I’m still querying my Dark Fantasy project. Received a couple more rejections and sent a few more out. 

The third entry in my Stephen King readthrough with The Scoop came out earlier this month. Read it here. This one is about THE TALISMAN.

Project Progress:

I am ALMOST finished with the rough draft of this post-apocalypse story that has been haunting me for what feels like a lifetime. I look forward to eventually saying that I finished the son of a bitch. 

Recent Fascinations: Learning to Appreciate Winter

I think I can speak for a lot of folks when I say that January felt like it was about eight years long. It feels impossible that 2024 just started a little over a month ago, that Christmas wasn’t even a full two months ago. At the same time, I don’t think I can identify a single truly productive thing I accomplished during that time. I didn’t finish any projects or make any significant moves in my writing life. It was, if I’m being honest, a month that felt like it was about 10,000 days long in which I accomplished almost nothing. 

I try not to quantify my writing career with progress or achievements, that’s what LAST month’s whole blog post was about, but I think there’s another aspect that applies to how I felt throughout most of January: I hate the winter. 

I don’t mean that as a moment of over exaggeration. I genuinely hate just about everything about Winter, especially the unbearable part of the season between Christmas and blessed Spring. The cold, the dead look of the world around me, the persistent freezing rain, and, perhaps most of all, the short days. 

In a moment of uncharacteristic vulnerability, I will lay out for all my readers that I have seasonal depression (or whatever label you want to give it), which mixes pretty poorly with my grab bag of anxiety disorders. Basically all of my hobbies besides music require me to go outside, which is decidedly difficult when it’s cold, pouring rain, or both. Winter is just very difficult for me, despite the momentary release from the Mississippi heat it offers.

That being said, as January kept trudging along, I started trying to find some joy in the Winter time. Warm cups of coffee on my front porch, evenings on the back patio spent watching the birds tear my dry and dying grass apart. I’ve tried to spend time finding the little moments of beauty in these cold, desolate Winter days. 

Funnily enough, as I’ve started being mindful of what there is to enjoy in the Winter, I’ve found myself making steadily increasing progress on this post-apocalypse project. My mind is preoccupied with finding beauty in a time of year that normally fills me with nothing but disdain, and that has turned out to be pretty useful in writing about the beauty that might come when the world is forced to slow down, even if only a little. 

I also found that it was easier to focus on my essay writing for The Scoop, my hobbies (the indoor ones), and a whole host of other things that there’s no point in going into here. The point is: this whole concept of focusing on the porch-sitting and not the freezing rain is pretty important to the writing process. You gotta focus on the positives of the process, not just the negatives.

A while back I did a blog post about seeing the beauty in the process, and I think this revelation about Winter time is just an expansion on that. Sometimes the weather sucks, sometimes writing sucks, sometimes querying sucks, but sometimes you get to sit on the front porch with a warm cup of coffee and things aren’t too damn bad. 

Thanks for reading.