Sunday, June 13, 2010


I am happy to report that I've been making progress. I passed the whole book out to my wonderful critique group a while ago, and finallyFINALLY finished that round of edits. Which meant---dun-Dun-DUN---that it was time to start the query process.


The query process is like looking for a job. It makes my stomach hurt. It makes me question my abilities and my work and my worth and . . . it's not pretty.

But I am fortunate enough to be a member of WRW, and to be able to attend their fabulous retreat where, in April, I met with 2 great agents who requested partials. One of them (my favorite, naturally!) recently requested the full manuscript. Yay!! I've also got the full out with another agent, who I "met" through an online query contest.

Getting those requests did me a world of good. But they also forced me to think about what I'm going to work on next.

And thinking about what to work on next forces me to think about how I'm going to "find" the time.

At the RWA conference last year, I heard the same thing from several speakers about treating your writing the way you would a job. Giving it the same amount of attention and priority. Would you just skip your job? For days on end? And expect it to still be there when you got back around to it?

I thought I got it then. The need to be more workmanlike about my writing. But I just recently got the other part of that equation . . . that since I already have a full-time day job, when I'm working consistently on my writing I am, essentially, working a 2nd job.

Sounds so simple, doesn't it? And you're probably all smarter than I am and didn't have to "figure" that part out. But I did. And when I did, it was a revelation. When I had two kids in college I, like a lot of people, took on a second job. And I never just skipped it. I would never even have considered just skipping it.

But I also never wondered why I had so little time for myself. Because the answer was obvious. I was working two jobs.

So why, when I am being consistent with my writing, do I still try to keep up with everything else? Still try to keep up with seeing my friends. Still try to keep up with all the television shows I love. Until just recently, the obvious was escaping me.

By devoting myself to my writing, by digging into it the way I really need to, I am taking on a second job. And in order to keep up with that second job, I need to let other things go.

It's all about the choices. And choices, like medicines, all come with side effects. They don't just lower your blood pressure, they also increase your potassium levels, and that puts a strain on your kidneys and . . .

Yeah. Every choice has a shadow.

For example, choosing to lose myself in the Vampire Diaries means I am choosing not to write for an hour. Choosing to meet friend after work for dinner means I am choosing not to write for at least two hours. And, truthfully, I will be tired when I get home from dinner and instead of opening my file, I will turn on the television and lose myself in Justified instead---which means choosing not to write all evening.

Which is not to say that I shouldn't be choosing dinner with friends. Just that I should be making that choice with full knowledge. Fully consciously.

And so, I am choosing not to watch So You Think You Can Dance this season. And I am choosing not to watch Burn Notice, or The Royal Pains, or Nurse Jackie. All of which I really enjoy.

And it hurts. I'm not gonna lie. I mean, I can catch up with most of those on DVD some day, if I really want to watch them. But I won't be able to discuss them with people who are watching them as they air (which is something I genuinely enjoy). And of course, as soon as I decided to cut So You Think You Can Dance from my viewing, my twitterstream was all abuzz with how wonderful it is this season . . .


But would I really choose to keep up with So You Think You Can Dance INSTEAD of writing my book?

No. Not when I put it that way.

So--what do you choose? And what are the side effects? Or am I truly the last writer to get this?


  1. Woo-hoo! Look out publishing world! Here comes Yvonne's fab manuscript!

    Excellent post, BTW. Sometimes, I think it's head vs. heart knowledge that leads us to carve out the time we need for writing. We know we need to do it, but it takes a while to KNOW it... And do it.

    I don't watch much TV, though I've watched more this spring. That's an effective choice for me when I'm in revision mode. Perhaps less of a plus, I don't actively participate in all the groups I belong to. I don't always join friends for spur of the moment coffee. Instead, I try to stick to my self-imposed writing schedule. Which means I'm a bad group member. And I never get to eat scones unless I make them myself.

  2. Nichole, I do tend to come at things backwards. Or backasswards, as my father used to say. LOL. And now I'm craving SCONES!

  3. Great post, Yvonne.

    Yes, it is all about counting the cost, isn't it? And being intentional with our writing careers.

    There have been days recently where I've sat at my desk crying because I feel like my kids are growing up around me and I'm missing it while I sit and pound out these novels. When I'm writing a novel, I tend to be hyper-focused. It gets my attention. If I'm not providing for the needs of my family, writing is the priority. But my kids are quick to teach me that even writers need balance and a break.

    It's why I take summers off. Nine weeks to enjoy my role as mom. My kids are home from school and I take time to reconnect. We travel. And we build memories that I hope they'll cherish all their lives.

    In the end, it's all about being intentional. I will write some this summer. But I'm not going to kill myself like I do from September to June. This summer my kids and I will have fun.

    And, guess what? My writing will be stronger for it. Yesterday sitting in church, I plotted the bones of a new Urban Fantasy idea, inspired by the pastor's teaching. Something happens when you relax. When you have a plan and you give yourself the freedom to work or play.

    So, again, I'll say it all comes back to knowing yourself and knowing what next steps will benefit you most. Sounds like you have your plan. Yay! Good luck. :) Can't wait to see what it produces. ;)

  4. Candy -- I sooo know how hard it is to carve out time for yourself when your kids are young. I'm the last person you should take parenting advice from (my kids will tell you--raised by wolves!), but I can tell you this: Even during my nonwriting times (and there were years there, when my kids were teens) there were still days when I sat crying because they were growing up around me.

    It wasn't the writing diverting my attention that was making me cry, it was the growing up part and that happened even when I sat on them and wouldn't let them get away. :-)

    Though I still tried!

    Hugs, babydoll. Your kids are going to have scads of memories to treasure because you ROCK!

    And congratulations on the new UF idea!! I can't wait to find out what THAT is, either!