I’ve Lost The Writing Mojo

writerThere…I have confessed.  My writing has lost its steam.  I was rolling along pretty well with writing a page-per-day or 1,000 words each day working on my next novel.  Now it seems I look for every reason NOT to write.

“I MUST click on that link about what happened on the Andy Griffith Show that no one knew.”

“There must be a cat video I haven’t seen yet on YOUTUBE.”

“I need a nap.”

“I need to shop for a new (add tech gadget here) to help me with my writing.”

Here’s a good one…..”I will even read about writing.  I just don’t want to write.”

What’s wrong with me?

Apparently every writer goes through this.  Well, I don’t like it.  In fact, I would rather write a blog post than work on the novel that’s just sitting there laughing at me on my to-do list.

This is terrible.

The easy answer is to just sit down and write.  So why can’t I do it?

I think one huge thing is the lack of success in getting an agent or getting published.  It is difficult to stay motivated when you put a lot of work to submit what the agent/publisher wants only to be rejected.  If you think it’s just simply the work of submitting your manuscript, let me tell you that it’s more involved than that.  For the last submission, the agent wanted the following:

  • Two-page synopsis on the book
  • Query letter
  • Book marketing plan (isn’t that their job?)
  • Chapter summary
  • First five pages of the manuscript
  • My writing resume

Each agent wants something different so it isn’t that you can simply prepare all of this ahead of time and send them out to every agent.  Oh no.  Not so fast my friends.

So you spend time working on these requirements, send them in and immediately – thanks to the power of technology – receive a rejection email which was probably an auto-reply.

And you wonder why I have lost some steam?

It gets old.  When I first started this writing hobby (I call it a hobby because it isn’t my full-time job nor have I been published by a real publisher) you could submit your manuscript with a query letter to the publisher.  Now the publishers won’t even talk to you unless you have representation of an agent.

So, instead of being rejected by publishers, the rejections come from agents now.

The most common reason for rejection is:  “This is not what I’m looking for right now”.

I will tell you that writing is a very subjective and a very competitive venture.  One agent got bent out of shape on how I used the word “parsonage” in one of my manuscripts.  I was happy that she even gave me feedback.

So, yes, the lack of success of finding an agent/publisher has worn me down.

Another thing is that I work a full-time job.  It is difficult to carve out writing time when you work a real paying job.  I have tried several ways but none seem to gain any momentum at all.  I don’t want to get up earlier than I have to and I run out of gas at the end of the day.

So why even do it?  Why bother writing?

Oh, believe me, I have asked myself that question many times.  Why do I put myself through this?  Just work my job and let that be it right?  The problem is that I can’t do it.  I feel the desire to write.  I can’t seem to turn it off.  It’s not that I think I’m so good.  That’s not it.  It’s not that I want to be successful – although I wouldn’t turn away the extra money from it.  For some reason, I just HAVE to write.  Maybe it’s my “calling” or my purpose in life.  I just can’t stop doing it.

So what’s the answer?  Well, I’m not liking the answer.  It’s going to take discipline.  I KNOW that’s the answer but I don’t like discipline.

It seems I can find every reason NOT to write.  I need to re-discover reasons TO write and then DO it.

 

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I Ain’t Got No Grammar Problems

I have learned how both rewarding and difficult it is being a writer. Let me just say that it’s a good thing that I have a full time job. I won’t lie about it – there is a lot of competition out there so it is really important to write a good story and get lucky in getting a book published by a real publisher or finding an agent. Most traditional publishers won’t even look at a manuscript unless you have an agent. It can be pretty demanding trying to break in.

I have self-published two novels and a couple of short stories but my goal is to get published by a real publisher. That’s a problem. I have submitted my manuscripts to several publishers and agents only to be rejected for one reason or another. If you love rejection, you can get a lot of practice at it being a writer.

Most critiques are nothing more than a form letter while some can be brutal. I had one editor who ripped me with my use of the word “parsonage”. A lot of critiques are really purely subjective depending on the editor or what mood the person is when they read your manuscript.

One thing I do not understand is when they note some grammatical errors. In the name of Grammarly and Microsoft Word grammar checker you would thing that wouldn’t happen. Somehow it slips in their (see what I did THERE?).

The publishers that send me an email who WANT to publish my book are usually what some call “vanity presses”. These are people who will publish your book but the author has to pay the publisher.

This week I sent my book “Passing Toward The Prize” to a place called Christian Faith Publishing. I had seen their commercial on TV and decided to send them my manuscript to see what they would do with it. First, my manuscript went to their review board. Two days later I get a phone call that they loved it. Now, don’t take me wrong here. I wasn’t jumping up and down about it. Of course they loved it because they want my business right? The reviewer said there were a few minor grammatical errors. I mean, they’re not going to say it was perfect. It’s their job to find something to critique.

I agreed to let them send me the information on the next step in the process. I’m sure you can guess the next step was the details on what I would need to pay. In order to have them publish my book, they want $495 now and $295 per month for 10 months. Now I ask you – who can afford additional $295 in their budget? Not many people I know. Here I am an author who has never been published so how do they think I have the funds when I haven’t made any money yet? Self-publishing on Amazon hasn’t really made it rain. My 1099 from last year of $26.42 is painful reality of that.

So what does a writer/author like me do in dealing with these setbacks? The only way I know how – keep on writing and submitting. Will I ever “hit it big” or get published by a traditional publisher? I will. I mean you have to have goals. Even without a publisher or agent I am still a writer.

I probably should brush up on my grammar to. *wink*