Will Anyone LIKE your Manuscript?

Happy Wednesday!

I’m writing this post from my backyard deck. The breeze warms my toes, but it also ruffles the trees on Old Man Oak Tree. I call him that because he’s like a member of our family. He overlooks my home, my family, and my friends when they visit in a very protective way.

I like Old Man Oak today because of the warming of the toes thing. It’s an 80 degree day, and I know it’s not just the breeze that brings my barefoot toes happiness. It’s his leaves that do the trick too. At around 100 years old, he’s covered with quite a few and his shade is allowing me to write outside today.

But I don’t always like Old Man Oak. Some days he drops so many acorns, I have to take cover. Acorns can really leave a dent when dropped by a squirrel from way up there! Other days he drops this brown stuff. I’m not quite sure what it is. It looks like snow but then bunches together into clumps. In the middle of spring I sweep the driveway and the deck more than I vacuum the inside of my house! Just last Friday, on my daughters prom day, I swept four times before the festivities began. I mean Old Man Oak may be LIKE a member of our family, but I certainly didn’t want  to see his mess in the pictures, only his beautiful trunk and bright green leaves! Hey, we all have our faults, but must we flaunt them?

Some people I know would hate my oak tree. Like I said, he makes a giant mess, and I get it. I cursed him more than once on prom day. But other people I know would love to have my oak tree in their yard. He is, after all, pretty stately and all that.

And that got me thinking about my manuscript.  Will anyone like it? I mean, I like it obviously or I wouldn’t have written it. My critique partners like it. My beta readers like it. But I know that doesn’t mean that agents will like it. And even if one does like it enough to offer representation, that doesn’t mean that editors will like it enough to buy it. And if by chance this manuscript does get published will my readers like it?

That’s a whole lot of will they like it?.

In a world full of selfies and likes on Instagram, it’s easy to get caught up in the popularity contest. We remember high school, yes? I’m guilty of it too. Just today I discovered a twitter pitch opportunity to attract the attention of agents under the hashtag #KidPit. I hadn’t prepared myself for this but I didn’t have anything to lose so I threw a series of pitches for my MG into the mix hoping to get some favorites. I didn’t have much luck. So I spent a lot of the day sulking and wondering why participating agents didn’t like my pitch.

Why don’t they want to read my book? But then I looked out at Old Man Oak. Not everyone likes him either.

When the time is right, the right agent will want to read my ms. The right editor will buy it. The most awesome readers will read it. And then I won’t even mind sweeping up after Old Man Oak. I have done some of my best writing and revising under his watch.

So when you start to doubt  that anyone will like your story, think of your own Old Man Oak and keep writing and revising. If you like your story, I mean really like your story, then someone else is sure to like it too. No Instagram required!

Happy Memorial Day!

In the United States, we celebrate Memorial Day to honor those who have died while serving in our armed forces. And while we take a moment to remember those brave individuals who have done so much to ensure our freedom, we also take a break from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Many people will have  a three day weekend. Many will celebrate with family and friends, and many will celebrate the unofficial start of summer. Yippee!!!

I hope all of you have a chance to celebrate somehow! 🙂

I’ll be teary-eyed on Friday as my baby heads off to her Junior prom. This will be a bittersweet moment for sure. Details to come next week! I’ll probably do some gardening and maybe take a bike ride. After this past winter, I’ll use any excuse to get outside. I will most likely spend time on Sunday at my parents house for a picnic with my siblings and their families. That’s where all the crazy usually happens! And I may even sit on my deck and do some reading/ writing/ revising. Ah… I can’t wait!

Happy Memorial Day Everyone! Have fun and stay safe! xoxo

When Writing is a Pain in the Neck…Literally

Okay, so today I’m writing this post at my desk, with my head tilted up, and to the side—the only semi-comfortable position I can find. I really shouldn’t be complaining about this predicament. The warning signs were all there for me.

Over the last few years I’ve had alignment problems with my back. It’s not all that uncommon. In fact, I bet many of you have, or know someone with the same problem. When it gets bad, my back starts to ache and I know I should have it taken care of. Over the last several weeks, my back has been aching. It’s has been especially bad when I write with my laptop, away from my desk, in a comfy chair. I have found it harder and harder to write in this extremely comfy chair without my neck aching too. Then a few days ago, this aching turned into a stiff neck. Yuk! I hate those. Last night, it got worse and I woke up several times during the night with sharp pain shooting from my neck to my upper back. It got so bad I could not turn in bed, like at all, or even shift my pillow. It was all I could do to get myself out of bed and into a steaming hot shower this morning.

The shower helped a little, as did ibuprofen, and standing up. Though now I’m tipped sort of sideways when I walk. Yeah, this is fun. 😦

And so now at 11:00am I am off to see my chiropractor. Yes, I have a chiropractor and he is amazing. And hopefully he can do amazing things to fix me up. You’d think I would have just listened to my body and all those screaming warning signs and gotten in to see him sooner. But I didn’t.

I know exactly what he’s going to say. He has said it to me before. “Writing on a laptop in comfy chair is very bad. The neck position necessary to do so, is very bad. You need to write at your desk, with your head and neck and back aligned in its proper position.”

My bad. 😦

And I have no one to blame but me. But that chair is just so comfy!

So please, my writing friends. Check your writing posture. Be sure it’s proper. I’m no doctor, so look it up on line if you need to know what proper posture actually looks like. Get up every half hour to stretch. Better yet, go outside in this beautiful fresh air and walk, or run, or bike. Stretch out your back and neck. Do yoga. I’m a big fan of all of the above—except for obviously the writing at a desk with proper posture one.

But this is the last straw. I will not do this to myself again. I’m only hurting myself, and taking time away from my writing. So what do you say? Join me in making an effort to take care of yourself. Our stories and words are waiting, but we can’t write them, if we are tipped sideways, looking up in an awkward position! Wish me luck. Hopefully I’ll be good as new in no time! 🙂

Booking Book Time

I realized today, I haven’t read a book in a very long time. Like several months.

What?

I’m a writer. Writers read books! I love to read. Why the heck then has it been so long since I read one?

Well, I guess I have no good excuse. Sure I’ve been busy, like many of you. I work in the mornings. I do mom-type stuff in the afternoons. I scurry to clean, do laundry, grocery shop, and make dinner. I shuttle my kids around and watch their sporting events. I shop for prom shoes (see last week’s post). I catch up with my husband over lunch when we can. I work on critiques for my critique partners. I write these blog posts. And then whatever random stuff that pops up throughout the day, like orthodontist appointments…

You get the idea.

When I have free time, I’m a little possessive of it. And a lot obsessed. Obsessed with finishing these revisions on my middle grade manuscript and its corresponding query. Obsessed with making them both sparkle so I can submit my first round of materials to agents. I’m almost there…not quite, but so close. So throughout the day and late into the night, when I have a free moment, I’m working on that.

But what about reading?

I know it’s super important to read in my genre. In fact, middle grade books are the type I love to read most. And I have read them. But I want to read more. Besides, reading a great book is just so relaxing, and enlightening, and world changing!

So here’s my problem. When my thoughts are firmly planted in my own world of characters, I can best keep them there if I don’t confuse them with thoughts of another world and other characters. I have a hard enough time getting the voice right on my own MS!

But still…I need and want to read!

So I’m finding that my best approach is to schedule book time, just like I schedule everything else. I have a whole list of books, both middle grade and not, that I have at home, ready for me to make time for them. Maybe the best time for me to read them is right when I send off my first batch of queries. Kind of like my reward for finishing this MS and making it sparkle, no matter what the outcome. And that should be in the next month!

So there you have it. I have officially booked some book time for June, and probably July too. August is when I usually begin a new MS and this year will be no different. (I have a new story brewing and bubbling in my head, just ready for me to stir it up!) So how about that? A summer full of days (or free moments) to enjoy the sunshine and read a book…or five.

How about you? How in the world do you find time to read and write and do everything else that you need to do? And what about your list? Do you have any books at the top of yours for this spring or summer? Check mine out in the Book Nook. Please note that I will be updating both lists as soon as I can. I realized today that those haven’t been updated in quite awhile either.

So with that, I’m off to pick my daughter up from school to take her to her second last orthodontist appointment. (Yay 🙂 ) See I told you!

I hope your week is fabulous and that you can book some book time too!