Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Write On Con 2012

2012 Suckas

Okay. I've kind of been dreading doing this post for a while now. Some of you who know me well have heard my bitching. I know, I'm sorry, I've been really whiny lately, but I've been sick. That's no excuse? Fair enough.

So what have I been crying about? Well, I've been attending Write On Con for three years. Three. Years. I've had some great successes in the past. Winning a query contest, earning a full request based on my first 250. So you might wonder what's getting me down.

Well, I've been attending Write On Con for so long, and blogging about publishing and query letters, and writing, and all that for so long now, the Con kind of just serves as a reminder of everything I haven't accomplished. I have plenty of friends who got on to the writing/publishing corner of the internet a lot later than me, and already have books published. I'm not jealous, I swear, I love my friend's success, I'm just ... tired. I'm tired of working so hard for my dreams, and having so little to show for it.

But you know what? My friends, my dear, close writing confidants, are right. I've learned so much, and come so far, it isn't right to be so hard on myself. There are plenty of reasons to be excited. I've had more than five agents read my full manuscript, and not one of them called me a hack. I've had published authors read my work, and both compliment my writing and spend their own precious time giving me invaluable advice. I've made friendships--nay, partnerships--that will last a life's age (that's Tolkien for lifetime, deal with it). I've finished (nearly) two epic manuscripts, and started two others. I've met, IRL no less, some of my very favorite authors.

So I need to keep my chin up, keep my eyes on the path in front of me, and quit doubting myself. After working a query tomorrow and Friday, I'll be going back on hiatus, but I do really appreciate all of your support.

If you'd like to read more, you can find the first five pages of WARRIOR-MONKS (which I've never put online before): here (the formatting is shite, due to being in a forum, so please bear with me).

The first 250 words are here, but you will have already seen them if you read that first post.

I'm also taking part in a sort of query workshop with my query, here, even though the older version has actually garnered a pretty good deal of success in the past, just because I want to be an active part of the Con, because helping other writers really is a passion of mine.

I also wrote a brief tutorial if you need help coding your signature, here.

BTW, if you read these posts, please comment, and rate the posts, because that will help more people see them, which will help me get more feedback.

Other than that, you should really participate in Write On Con. Even if you don't need the help, others do. I know plenty of published authors who frequent the forums because they love to pay it forward as much as I do.

YOU SHOULD DO THE SAME.

I love and need you all like Oxygen (this is stolen from Bethany-with love and jade), dear friends and readers, and I promise to keep chasing my dreams if you will.

Solidarity, beaches.

38 comments:

Creepy Query Girl said...

Oh, yes. I know exactly how you feel. I'm in the same boat, really and it's a hard, cold, relentless place to be. But one thing it isn't is lonely. I'm proud of us for keeping at it. We're still here! And we'll both get there someday. i'm sure of it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's all in the timing. And when the time is right, you'll be so prepared, it will knock your socks off!
You do have a lot to show for your efforts. The weekly query critiques have become a staple and helped so many. I'm always sending people your direction. You've done blogfests, co-hosted the Challenge, and brought so many people together. You've accomplished a lot.
And when the deal comes, you will be in an awesome position to make the most of it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I know exactly what you mean Matt. I can't even get to the query stage yet. Only have one almost done project and 40 pages into a new one. And I watch everyone else progressing so much faster than me with queries and writing more finished projects. But we do have to hang in there.

I'm not doing the critiques this time because my mom, aunt and uncle are visiting and I'm only sneaking in when I can. Much I'll have to read once they go.

Sarah said...

I agree with Alex, of course. You have steadily and profoundly contributed to the community and helped others, and you've used every opportunity to improve your craft. Every writer has a different path. That said, I understand the tiredness. It would be tragic, however, if it led you to give up, so I'm really happy that you're a persistent guy!

I've been frequenting the WriteOnCon forums for the past day or two but haven't commented on yours (because you've gotten my comments already!), but now I'll head over there and check it out.

Escape Artist Linda said...

Oh Matt! You just cut that stuff out! It's just hitting on that right project at the right time. That's it! You've got the chops and that right time's sitting just in front of you. Inches away! Now surely you can travel those short inches! : ) Big hugs!

Laura Pauling said...

Remember that it's about what editors are looking for at the time and what agents think they can sell. It's a business which means so much is timing and sheer luck. I do think luck can be helped a long though and you do a great job of that. Keep forging ahead!

Miranda Hardy said...

This is my third year for WriteOnCon, too. I enjoy reading the articles, but I haven't participated in the forums this year nor last.

Candyland said...

Oh dahhhling. I feel you. As a winner of the Sourcebooks/Teenfire contest, it was expected I'd already be well into my 3rd or 4th book signing by now. Um, no. I'm in the same place I was, but maybe a little older and [hopefully] a little wiser and a helluva lot more confident in my writing.

Hang in. Because that's what we do. Also, when you're ready to write a dual narrative/dual author kick-ass triology, hit me up, yo.

Much love, homie. Much love.

Bryan Russell said...

Some people get the straight and narrow journey. Some of us get ones with, you know, lots of u-turns, dead ends, and sucking quicksand. Yesterday I met some Rodents of Unusual Size in the Fire Swamp. I'm still hoping for a happy ending, though.

Louise Bates said...

I think that feeling comes to most of us at various times. I know I often get overwhelmed with discouragement, thinking about how long I've been writing and how little I have to show for it. The only cure for me is to stop looking at things in terms of "success or failure," and look at everything as experience and wisdom gained.

It sounds easier than it is!

Abby Minard said...

I'm right there with ya, Matt. Three years for me as well. Hang in there- it will happen for us. Some just take a little longer.

Summer Frey said...

I don't want to say anything trite or placating, and you already know how I feel anyway. But I do want to say there's nothing wrong with feeling like this, for you or anyone. Relentless enthusiasm/optimism takes its toll, and as long as you don't give up completely, there's nothing wrong with taking an emotional break, acknowledging that a situation blows, and then figuring out what--if anything--you're going to do about it.

I think I like your query letter as it stands on the blog, but there's never anything wrong with more feedback (until there is.) WriteOnCon is nothing for my genre, but I still like to hang around, read the articles, and give some crits here and there--as you said, in the spirit of helping others.

Anyway...

Faith E. Hough said...

I'm in the same place, Matt. Sometimes near-misses are harder than complete misses. And while I love seeing friends' success like nothing else, I sometimes must heave a sigh and pity myself for a moment or two.
Hang in there with me. :)

Chelsey said...

Lordy, Matt, I feel that way and I've only been doing WOC a year. I had a request last year, and it doesn't look like I'm heading that way this year, but I still know how much further I've come. We'll get there one day!

Jemi Fraser said...

I empathize completely! Keep at it - it's a long road. I'm still travelling too. We'll get there. :)

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

aw man. i truly think it'll happen for you. you get some rest and some writing done. we'll be here when you get back.

Emily White said...

Aw, Matt, you know I think you're brilliant and your writing is amazing. You will be published! I command it.

Robyn Lucas said...

Didn't mean to go all psycho-cheerleader on you yesterday, but trust me when I say, I'm with you!

((((hugs))))

mshatch said...

oh Matt, I know exactly how you feel. I've been at this game for quite some time now and have seen folks with far less time in get agents and deals and ...well, it IS a little disappointing. But I'm not giving up (what the heck else would I do with my spare time? Watch reality television? No thanks) and I don't think you should either.

Tonja said...

I bet doors are about to open for you. I would stay the course.

TL Conway said...

Thanks for writing what I imagine many people are thinking/feeling. Or maybe it's just me.

I'm almost proud to report my 250 word sample is currently sitting second from dead last. The penultimate position, if you will. Not because I don't care, but because I've already received so much feedback that it would be impossible to rework it in time.

All that being said, it still smarts to see all the other friendships, groups, crits, support, etc. Maybe next year I'll feel more social but for now, I'm just happy I posted my work.

Huh. Maybe I should've just written my own blog post instead of hijacking your comment box. Sorry. Yes, I'll keep working toward this dream if you do. Promise.

Nancy Thompson said...

So much of this process is luck & timing. There are a thousand doors out there, my friend. All it takes is one. Just one. You have to persevere to find it though. My best friend completed her first novel in 2006 & she just got a deal for it this year. It took her over 4 years to land an agent. She went through some very tough times but she never stopped believing it could happen.

You've made a tremendous impact on so many people. Once you do find that door, you will be in a much better position than most authors. Your platform is huge & you're well-known & highly respected. So just keep trying those knobs. Odds are you'll find the right one. Just imagine how awesome it'll be when you push it open!

Alison Miller said...

Hang in there, Matt, and trust me...I KNOW how you feel. It's a process, a process with different highs and lows and timetables for everyone. And you have had A LOT of successes - albeit maybe not the one pivotal success you long for - but you do have so much to applaud yourself for. Also, you can tell me to shut up anytime because I'm sure you so wanted to hear THOSE words of wisdom.

Anyway, yes, sometimes it does suck, but our time is coming. Have faith. And patience. And courage to write posts like this.

Also, I think you totally rock - so, ya know, that's something. ;)

HUGS!!!

Brinda said...

Your blog and work both rock. When the right one comes along, it will be magic for your manuscript.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I know exactly how you feel. I have a trilogy published by a small epublisher but I want an agent and to continue moving on up with my writing journey and it feels like I'm stuck on the ladder and can't climb up another ring, that it's just out of reach.

Carrie-Anne said...

I'm participating in Write On Con too, and know how you feel about people who haven't been writing that long already having agents and an established social networking presence for their audience. I've been writing for 28 years, since I was 4 years old, and it's kind of depressing to see people who only began writing a few years ago, in response to certain trendy books, already having contracts.

You'll get there one day, by whatever route is right for you.

Alexandra Shostak said...

Same. Here. It's hard not to let those reminders depress you--I struggle with the same thing. Every time someone gets an agent with one of their first 10 queries ever sent or their first manuscript or whatever, I get down on myself even while I'm happy for that person. Because when I query my next novel (novel #4) I'll break 100 queries sent, and unless the universe decides to vomit rainbows on me, I'll break 100 rejections, too.

But then, there are people like Elana Johnson and Beth Revis and Jodi Meadows who wrote WAY more queries or WAY more manuscripts than that. And look how well they've done.

Thanks for blogging about this. So often people don't really SAY this kind of thing, and I wonder if I'm all alone in thinking it or feeling that way.

Andrew Leon said...

Even though I've said it before, I have to say it again: go around the hoops. There's no reason to be jumping through them, especially when the end result is going to be paying someone else for your hard work.

Deniz Bevan said...

You sound just like me. I feel like I've been doing this for ages now and never seem to be advancing beyond a certain point... But you're right about all the good stuff that has happened. Just have to keep things in perspective...
I'd love to read the snips! But I don't have a WriteOnCon login...

Lori Ann Freeland said...

I really needed to read this today. I'm sure you are frustrated but it helps me to know I'm not the only one out there that feels like she's spinning her wheels. My problem is that I'm a perfectionist writing the neverending novel. I feel your pain and I think that I'm going to make a list of the things I HAVE accomplished in the last few years. I may be surprised at what I find. Thanks for sharing.

Ciara said...

You are such a strong presence in the blogging world. I think you should stand tall and be proud you are still working toward your dream.
I've pulled up the link to your sample and will read it tomorrow when I can give it my best focus.

M.E. Summer said...

Don't give up! It's a crazy tough road. I've been writing nonstop for seven years and only just a couple months ago landed an agent. And even after landing an agent, being on sub is tougher than anything I've ever done before. It'll never be all puppies and rainbows. But one day when your book reaches one other person and lends them a hand in the darkness, it will all be worth it.

Donna Hosie said...

We all understand. I've just landed my agent but I have three and a half years of rejection to still offset.

Do not give up. You only need one.

tamw said...

Hey Matt,
Great post.It seems like an awful lot of your followers--me included--know exactly what you're feeling. I've been at this steadily for about four years. Getting ready to query my fourth manuscript (I've only queried one other, the first two manuscripts were for the dust bunnies under my bed. I figured they needed some sub-par reading material)

I honestly don't know what I'm gonna do if this one doesn't work. After writing the first two books (and going through the painful realization that they just weren't good enough) I really thought I had something with book three. No go. So, here I am one year and one more manuscript later with my fingers crossed. If it doesn't work this time will I give up? Probably not. But I'm sure I'll want to.

It takes a strong person to do this. Having read some of your posts, you seem like a strong kind of guy.I'm really glad I found your site.

LTM said...

oh, man. I'm sorry I've been all MIA and missed this. I'm also sorry you've been sick! :o|

We kind of had this conversation recently, though, so you know how I've been feeling. This business is so damn hard. But you're right, we've gotten a LOT out of it these last three years.

Pay it forward, solidarity, just keep swimming. ((big hugs)) <3

Traci Kenworth said...

I think we all become reflective the further in we get in this business. It is hard to watch others succeed, even though we wish them all the absolute best. But our day will come. We have to hold tight to the dream. I know that sounds wishy-washy but I really believe that if you keep at the work, you will accomplish what you want.

Melissa Bradley said...

I hear you. It is difficult to keep going when you feel like the mountains are getting higher. But when we are closest that is when the demons fight their hardest and we feel tired. Keep going! You are a brilliant writer and have helped a lot of people. This blogosphere would not be the same without you.

Misha Gericke said...

I'm sorry to hear you're feeling down.

This is the second year I entered, but the first I really took part in. Was really fun.

Back to you feeling down. It's always discouraging when people who joined the game after you get ahead and you don't. But I know you are a talented and wonderful person and I have no doubt that you'll be successful one day.

:-)