Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stay the course

Sometimes it's hard to just stay the course. To push yourself when your muse has temporarily deserted you. You know she'll be back--it's summer, maybe she's taking a little vacation. In her absence, I've tried to keep to the path. Even if it’s only little steps to keeps the motivation going.

I've been in limbo. As of right now, I have five submissions hanging out there. One is a contest to Writers Digest. With that one, at least there will be a sense of closure by October. As for the others; with two of them it's time to pull them back, and move them on. My question: How do you know when it's time to move something on? In the case of the poem and illustrations I sent to Spider magazine, it's been over three months now with no response. I'm not sure of the proper protocol. Do I send a quick email stating my intentions to move the piece on? Or, do I just resent it out? I am playing by all the rules. No simultaneously submissions! As for Highlights, I've had a story in limbo for close to a year now. I've been so busy with other work, that I have just let it sit there. I think with that one, it's probably fine to move that on. A year seems long enough.

So what have I been doing to stay the course? I've been doing the social networking thing. Let’s see--Jacketflap, Twitter, Facebook and Linked in. I've update my resume, worked on my profile and tried to keep up with contacts. I have been at the drawing table a total of two times. I’ve sold one small picture to the Kelly Light’s fundraiser. I've listened to a couple of pod cast on Illustration Island and I have searched out contacts to send future submissions to. Not bad

Away from the artistic side. I've manage to get myself and the kids to the beach almost every Friday this summer. Also, I’ve gotten a late start on my garden--but it's in! Not thriving, but I have hope. And...I have applied for a part time job, and have had an interview. Again, I have hope! Soon I will be having a garage sale. All too soon! And soon I will be off to Kelley Island with the family for a short getaway. And some how before those two events I need to get back-to-school supplies and clothes. All in all, I guess the summer is moving by quicker than I can keep up with. So in the absence of my muse, I will stay busy until her return. I am getting antsy for the drawing table, that's a good thing. Autumn is just around the corner and that's always been my most productive time. The cool breezes will be much appreciated this coming season!

To all my friends out there: Stay the course, be creative and enjoy the rest of your summer!!

The photo above was taken last summer on our getaway to Kelleys Island in Ohio.


  1. Hi my friend and neighbor,
    I appreciate your post. I have been in a bit of limbo myself. I need to go to the park and meditate or something. My favorite place is the Metro Park, "the duck park" in Willoughby. Perfect place to get lost for a while. (at least in your head). Hang in there. It will come and I wish you luck. I am in a final edit, before trying to find an agent. This is hard, but I love it. Like I said, hang in there. Let me know how it goes.
    Remember, think outside of the box. LOL

  2. Hi there Writer at Heart! Thanks for the encouragement--it certainly helps to have like minded friends. Sometimes I forget or don't make time for the simplest things--Like the duck park--it's been a long time, and it's so close to me! I love your writing style keep up the good work and much luck getting the right agent!!

  3. Your comment made me laugh. :) Are you coming to RWA?

    A Vlog is a video blog. Where you talk to your readers viz video message. I'm not a big fan because the video always reveals my double chin and borderline lisp, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. lol.

    Hope you're having a great week!

  4. No, I will not be attending, no money, and I would not have the first idea on writing a romance--although I wouldn't mind a little from my husband.

    Thanks for enlighening me on vlog thing. Can't believe you have a double chin showing up on camera--but there's always that photoshop plastic surgery-via the vlog?

    You have a nice week too!!

  5. I'm constantly veering off-course. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's not. Us creatives like to explore, that's for sure!

    I love this photo. I love roots.

    Hope you have a wonderful time on your vacation.

  6. Hi Mary Lou,

    After reading this post, I felt the need to assure you that your "muse" is never lost. Her cup was just empty and she needed you to refill it!

    Thank goodness creative minds know where to look to find things that will fill us up again. Your Friday trips to the beach, time with your kids, digging in the garden,...all of these things are necessary to feed your muse and get you back on the road to creatively thinking again. It may feel like your spinning your wheels, but you're not.

    Have you ever had something wonderful happen as a result of something you did months, or even years ago? You stand in shock, and think, "Gee, I'm so glad I did that!" If you have, then you understand what I mean when I say that nothing you'll ever do is wasted. Eventually, the reasons reveal themselves, and they're usually for the good.

    Everything you're doing now to stay busy and "in-the-know" is stored in your brain for later use. Something you learn could keep you from making a huge mistake tomorrow, and something you do could manifest into something terrific that you never imagined!

    In order to move forward and get your mojo back, get rid of those monkeys! Send polite notes (via post) to those editors and let them know that you're moving on to greener pastures. If they truly want your work, they'll get off the fence. Perfectly sellable manuscripts are hard to find, as is a writer who is flexible and willing to listen when changes are in order. If they're interested, you'll get a response.

    Keep in mind that it may not be the manuscripts that are the problem. It could be your cover letters. Today's editors often judge a writer based on his/her cover letter, never even reading the manuscript if the cover letter isn't up-to-snuff!

    Now that I've cleared the path, what will you do? You have no excuses now, right?

    Pull out those 5 manuscripts, and look them over again. Apply everthing that you've learned over the past year while you were in limbo. Ask yourself, "what do I need to do, to make them shine so brightly that no editor in their right mind would pass on them?" Then do it!

    Next, revise your cover letters. Make them reflect the writing style contained in your attached manuscript. Take out anything and everything that could sound even the slightest bit negative. This may leave your cover letter a bit short, but that's okay.

    When your ms's and your cover letters are in order, start submitting them again. As soon as they are out the door, start writing the next round of stories.

    When 6 months has passed, begin again. Clean house, and keep going. Take time to refill your cup along the way, and soon you will find yourself in a much better place, hopefully published!

    Bring on the whimsey! All my best, Lisa

  7. Lisa, how very sweet of you to give me the motivational kick I so often can use. I loved your 3rd paragraph on how doing the footwork on something can manifest when you least suspect it to. Let me clarify, I have been in limbo—but only over the summer. In fact this has probably been my most productive year! Yet not without giving some credit to people like you, who do help to keep me flying straight. Starting this blog last August was the best thing I could have done. Networking with fellow artist and writers has been so helpful. I remember being a member of the SCBWI 10 years ago (letting it lapse) and how we didn’t have all this networking ability to communicate with one and another. I remember when Clinton was president and how he always stressed that the internet was going to be the bridge. No truer words were spoken.

    In any case thanks so much!! If you every decide to go into the agent business… I will be pounding down your door. Your friend Mary Lou