Monday, November 10, 2014

So, what are you going to do now?

by Kasey Tross

Last week I got an e-mail from the agent I met with at the writing conference- she very kindly (and with some helpful constructive criticism) rejected my manuscript. I was fine with it- I knew that the chances of happening to find an agent to represent my book on my first try (and picked from the few agents at a single writing conference) were slim. So really, I was okay.

So why couldn’t I bring myself to tell my mom?

Ordinarily, I tell her everything, and yet this time I was hesitant. It’s not because I thought I would disappoint her- she wholeheartedly supports me, and if anything I knew she’d tell me the agent was a moron (she’s not) and couldn’t tell a good book if it hit her in the face (also not true, I’m sure). I couldn’t quite figure out why I didn’t want to share the news with her.

I knew I should tell her, so to try to figure out why this was so hard for me, I went through the conversation in my head first- and that’s when I realized that the part I wasn’t ready for was the question:

“So, what are you going to do now?” 

My hesitancy stemmed from my lack of an answer to that question. What am I going to do now? It was a perfectly valid question- so why did it make me so anxious?

I had been in this position where all year I’d been preparing this manuscript for this conference and my meeting with the agent. My goal was to complete it, and while I didn’t do that, I did get a much clearer vision of what the book needs to be and how to get there. If I wanted to, I could plow through this thing and get a decent novel out of it within the next few months.

If I wanted to.

To be honest, I’m getting a little bit burned out on this MS, and I was almost happy to find out I wouldn’t be under pressure to finish the thing anymore. But shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t I have one finished book under my belt that I feel really good about?

I started thinking about my other options:

1. I could go back to my book of Fun Poems for LDS Kids. It’s a project I’m passionate about, and I would love to see it in print (and so would several of my friends who love the poems as much as I do). It’s mostly finished- I just need to find a publisher or self-publish.

2. I could take a break from the big projects and focus on seeing if I could get some articles published in national magazines. This would be a huge financial boost for my family, and I think I could succeed if I worked at it, but it would require a lot of research.

3. I could start on a new manuscript- I have an idea for an LDS fiction story that has been swirling around in my head and in note form on my computer for quite awhile now, and it would just be really fun to write.

4. I could start on any one of the SEVERAL children’s books I have in note form on my computer. There are a lot. I could probably get through those fairly quickly and have the satisfaction of completion of several manuscripts.

Right now, I just don’t know. So many projects, so little time. Maybe I should pay attention to the order I put them in- could that be my subconscious trying to tell me something? I’m kind of thinking #1 because it’s so close to being finished, and one of my goals is just to FINISH something!

*sigh* What do you think? What should I do now?

I told my mom over the weekend, by the way. I preempted the question by telling her that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do now. (And she did tell me the agent lost out on a great book.) :-)


  1. Sorry about the rejection. No matter how down-to-earth are expectations are, they still hurt. I think the burn-out feeling is normal. Sometimes it's good just to set the MS aside and work on something else for a bit (#1 sounds great for that). But I definitely wouldn't shelve the MS yet, especially since it's ready to be sent out again. . .and you have agent criticism to maybe help it shine even more. I'm betting it will start screaming at your attention again soon anyway. They have a way of doing that ;) Good luck!

  2. I can so relate to this. I agree with T. above - the burn-out, the questions about what to focus on, I think every writer experiences them. Writing is such an approval-getting venture. Success depends on what someone else thinks. It's exhausting to keep pursuing a positive response. Often, I think, I'll just take my book to Staples and print a copy for myself! I'm sending a prayer to you for discernment on how to proceed. I know you will keep at it, because writers to THAT as well!

    1. I like the idea of just printing a copy! Burn out feels too familiar.

  3. I have been working on my MS for awhile, and I definitely get burned out too. I notice when I am burned out, I'm not writing well. I'm kind of just going through the motions, trying to get word counts met, but not really investing myself or my creativity in it. When I start to feel that way, I tell myself it's time to step away for a bit. But, only a little bit.
    Maybe you need a different project to get your creativity juices flowing again in another way, (#1) and give you the satisfaction of finishing something. I bet your MS will beckon you to come back again, and you will be more than willing to finish that baby!
    Good luck!



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