Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Query and the Muse

I’m happy to announce my muse is back at work.  He’s not interested in querying, thank goodness, since I’m only a quarter of the way through the first pass of this rewrite, but he’s wild to write new chapters, and a hard slogger in editing standing chapters.  And in my opinion, he has a great voice.

He’d better still be around when I start writing my query!

Speaking of queries, Laura - of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog - asked a hard question this month:
If you're querying now, or have in the past, how do you develop patience to wait for responses?

I’m not sure patience even enters the question for me.  Dread, terror, and occasional despair, maybe.  ;-)  But not patience.  I need to push querying out of my mind or I can’t carry on – or at least, not sensibly.

Like Lydia, I try to keep busy.  If my fiction won’t flow, I work on non-fiction.  Cleaning, on the other hand, is a desperation measure.  Lydia, you’re a stronger woman than I am!

One thing I believe writers need to learn in order to survive the query journey is compartmentalization.  (Sheesh, do think I could have found a longer word?)  But compartmenting helps me function.  If I dwell on something I can’t change, I only make myself miserable.

I already have a tendency to keep the different parts of my life separate.  Prioritizing can be a problem (it’s waaaaaaay too easy to go play on the web – I really need to read all those agent blogs!), but knowing the internet is a time suck actually helps because I go offline to work.  If I’m offline I can’t check my email every five minutes for agent responses.

So I schedule times to check my email.  I write, or edit, whenever I can.  And I spend a lot of time rubbing Churchill’s tummy – a guaranteed soothing activity.

How do you deal with waiting for agent responses?


  1. Very wise, Deb--avoiding rumination is key, and engaging in offline activities certainly helps. Glad to hear your muse is back in action!

  2. Nice. I think most of us are in the same boat. I actually read a lot during querying.

    Glad your muse is back!

  3. That is such a good idea--compartmentalization, even if it too long a word!

  4. I must take things a little more philosophically than most. I send out the queries and forget about them until the responses come in. I do generally get a little boost of energy out of process though and my words seem to flow a little better for a couple of weeks after I send stuff off, but I don't obsessively check for responses or watch the mail or whatever. For me, having something out there is a good focusing tool to motivate me to write more. ("What if the agent asks for samples of something else?" *panic write*)

  5. Hehe, Churchill is a cutie!!! Compartmentalization is a great strategy...takes a lot of practice to master, tho, LOL!

    Woohoo on plugging away at the rewrite!

  6. Hi Sarah! Thanks!

    I like to read when I'm querying, too, Elizabeth. It takes some of the raw edges off. ;-)

    LOL, Lydia! When I was typing that word, it felt like it was going on *forever*. And then I was amazed that I'd spelled it right.

    Hi Arizela. I'm glad you get a boost out of the process. Anything to help the words flow!

    Churchill says thanks, Laura. :-) Though I could have strangled him a minute ago. He plunked down on the keyboard and sent my browser *insane*. LOL!

  7. I have to write off-line too. If not, I'm surfing, surfing, surfing, obsessively checking query tracker, and reading blogs when I should be writing. I use to check my email and then get sucked into surfing so now I check my email on my phone. That way I don't convince myself there is some important must-read email that I'm missing but I'm still not getting on the web.

  8. ROFL, Laura! That's exactly what I've been doing this afternoon. Time to get offline.

  9. When I'm querying, I just try to keep busy with other projects. Also, I play a *lot* of Xbox.

    Glad your muse is back. He might've been vacationing with mine lol

    PS. I have something for you on my blog ;)


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