Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekly Writing Report

It's been a great writing week.  I have about 7 weeks where my online teaching load is lighter.  It's interesting how that knowledge has shaped my writing priorities.  I'm reminded of writers who say, "I make the most of naptime."  Or the time when children march off to school.  There aren't that many hours, so when they come, one makes the most of them.

I've typed more poems into the computer and sent more poems out into the world.  But here's what's making me really proud of myself this week:  I sent a query letter about my memoir/book of essays off to three possible agents.

Some readers may shrug and wonder why that's a big deal. 

I wrote the draft of the letter back in February.  But that agent required a Table of Contents, which meant I had to go back and insert page numbers.  And then there was vacation time.  But those reasons aren't what really held me back.

It was fear.  I had sent a version of the letter to a different agent who seemed like a perfect match and heard nothing.  I have put a lot into this writing project.  I am so hopeful.  I am so afraid that like so many of my longer projects, I will never bring this one to publishing fruition.

So what made the difference this week?  Part of it is my vow that I made in this blog post.  Part of it is having time.  Part of my determination stems from my wonderful writer friend who has so much faith in this project--plus, over Memorial week-end, she put a query letter and proposal together for her book of short stories and sent it off to 15 potential agents.  Her fearlessness inspired me.  I'm lucky to have this kind of friend.

I decided on where to send the letters by an old-fashioned way:  I looked at books on my shelf that I loved, books that are like my own writing in some way.  I researched these authors to find out their agents--often it was as simple as flipping to the acknowledgments page.

Since I want this blog to be a record of my process, I'll go ahead and tell which agents are getting queries from me:

My writing style and organization in this project is modeled after Kathleen Norris' The Cloister Walk.  Her agent is Lynn Nesbit.

Likewise, Lillian Daniel seems to be doing something similar to me with her blog posts transformed into essays in When "Spiritual but Not Religious" Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church.  Her agent works for Daniel Literary Group (are they related?  unsure, but the agency has brought other books that I recognize to publishers).

I've been enjoying Rachel Held Evans' Searching for Sunday.  Her agent is Rochelle Gardner.

I'm also feeling psyched this morning because I've started reading the manuscript from start to finish.  More on that tomorrow or Monday.

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