Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Guilt-free fun!

I've been trying to figure out what's been causing my inability to write in the past three weeks, and I think I've stumbled upon the answer, thanks to my blog friend Karen G.

It's two things, actually. One, I gave up on The Devil You Don't Know -- despite anything I might have blogged about to the contrary. I spent three years of my life on this novel and after ten agent rejections, I mentally shoved it aside as though it means nothing to me.

That's crap, of course. It means the world to me and I know it. Just because I haven't found an agent yet (or even received a non-form rejection) after sending out 16 queries doesn't mean the book sucks. (I hope.)

But I shelved TDYDK and the political thriller I was writing and decided to begin this big, deep and complex adventure novel.

About this same time, Brennan finished school for the summer and since he's too old for camp this year, he's home with me. And then I got sick. Really sick.

After a pretty good one-thousand word start on the new book, tenatively titled, El Fanstasma (Spanish for The Ghost), I ran out of gas. Completely. I was dead in the water.

For three weeks, I've been trying to write the book while fighting the guilt of ignoring my 12-year-old son for hours at a time. He doesn't have much to do this summer, so he sits upstairs either reading, watching TV or playing video games.

Yesterday, I blogged about it and asked for help. Karen's answer hit home when I read it this morning. She said 12-year-old boys like being with their dads, and reminded me that this phase doesn't last much longer. I know this, since I have two older boys. She suggested I take the summer off -- guilt free -- and enjoy the time with him.

When he goes back to school in mid-August, she says, I should be unblocked and ready to write.

At first, the idea of doing nothing this summer didn't appeal to me. But the more I thought about it, the more I had to agree. She was right. I do feel guilty. And I can't concentrate on my writing because of it.

So I've decided to write nothing this summer except blog posts. Instead, I am going to rewrite the query letter for TDYDK and start querying again. Big-time.

Oh, and spend all kinds of time with Brennan. We're going to play tennis, hike, swim and lounge around. Basically, we're going to have fun.

And I am not going to feel guilty about it. I promise.


  1. Yay I'm so glad! You and Brennan have a blast, a summer you will both treasure! And I hope you blog about all the fun you're having. Guilt free of course!

  2. I agree with Karen. Go have fun. Go fishing, or to a movie, or to a Cubs game. :-) Don't feel guilty as the story isn't going anywhere, it'll wait there patiently.

    I just took my daughter and a couple of friends swimming all afternoon. My daughter had fun, but what really made my day was how the one friend kept saying what an awesome time she was having.

    Plus, I got 20 laps in and played shark with the kids. hehe. It was so worth taking the time away from all things writing.

  3. Fun is definitely necessary. The writing will always be there, but the kids won't. And ten rejections? Puhleeze. You barely got started. Do it again, dammit.

  4. Sounds like a great plan. He'll soon be a teen and as you know, things will change. Keep notes on your summer, this could be a good book.

  5. No guilt for fun with your kid. EVER :).

  6. That sounds like a fantastic idea. After all, it is the best time spent when it's with your kids.
    Have fun this summer.

  7. I think taking a break from 'writing' over the summer is a GREAT idea for you. And.... I really think you should ABSOLUTELY re-dedicate your efforts back to TDYTYK.

    "Just because I haven't found an agent yet (or even received a non-form rejection) after sending out 16 queries doesn't mean the book sucks. (I hope.)"

    You dont have to hope. You might get 100 rejection letters. It's all about perseverance, and the strength to KEEP sending it out until you find that ONE perfect agent. And then, watch out! All your dreams just might come true.

  8. PS: Can you please remember to remind me of that last statement after I finally get up the balls to submit my work to agents AND after I get a million rejection notices? !

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