On being tired.

This week I got a phone call. From an agent.

(I'll let that sink in a moment)

An agent called me. To talk.

It was, to say the least, an interesting conversation.

This agent likes my work, but decided to pass on the project I sent him. His feedback was kind, polite and made sense. He wants to see my next project when it becomes available.

After the phone call, my husband asked me how I was feeling.

I said "I don't know."

I was expecting a roller coaster of emotions, excitement, discouragement, happiness, etc.  But all I really feel is grateful and tired.

This is the last submission round for this project. Project #2 is still in the polish stage and should be ready for submission by the fall. Project #3 is aging in my rough-draft closet and will be up for its first serious rewrite next month. Project #4 is... complicated. I see it as more of a writing exercise than anything else.

I have a lot of work to do, and I'm nowhere close to giving up. But I am tired.

I need a recharge, and I'm not sure what it should be.

Should I unplug for a few days?

Take a break from writing?

Sleep for seventeen hours straight?

Advice please! Any ideas for how to recharge a tired writer?  What do you do?


  1. Oh, boy, I know what you mean.

    I would make your primary goal to spend as much time as you need away from writing. Don't write until the excitement is more overwhelming than the guilt of not writing.

    In the meantime, I say spend as much time as you can outside, in the sun, reading, hopefully on a day with some light breeze. And, yes, do take a day to sleep in and have breakfast in bed. Read some more. Something that's not similar to what you're writing. :)

    Also, dear Miriam, congratulations on the phone call - I can't tell you how huge this is. In my experience, an agent may offer one or two sentences of criticism. Even a paragraph. A line edit on the first chapter. But a phone call is huge, and you must keep writing, but if it takes a bit longer than you expected, don't worry. Good luck!

  2. I always head outdoors when I need a break. Go camping for three or four days. I admire writers that have more than one project at a time.

    From everything I've read online, the phone call is huge. Good luck with everything. I might be able to recharge you with some healing. It's worth a try. For love.

    I'm excited for you. Woot!

  3. I can so relate. At least you've got lots of projects done. And you got a call from an agent. When I get discouraged, I sometimes take a few days break and read. Don't give up but keep this whole journey in perspective. It's a creative channel and there's lots of other wonderful parts of your life. The success is in writing, not the maybe end result of getting published. So you're already succeeding by writing your stories.

  4. Congrats on receiving the phone call, which must've been very exciting! I'd take a little time to sit down with a pretty journal and write up a long term writing itinerary, to visualize your priorities and feel organized. Then I'd start chipping away at it, working first on that second project for the agent.

  5. Miriam, I feel what you are feeling. It seems like those near misses are the most painful of all. But you have to take it as a sign of how close you are getting. And the next step is signing with an agent.

    I recharge by reading, but then you read like a madwoman already. Maybe a nice game of croquet?

  6. That's one of those bittersweet call, but it's also wonderful you received positive feedback! You're nearly there, Miriam. Congrats!

    I'd definitely unplug for a few days and just do nothing. Read or not. Sleep or not. Watch movies or not. Get takeout. Rest. Relax. Recharge your batteries. Your body will tell you what it needs.

  7. Since I am a slightly paranoid, cynical, pessimist, I would conclude from that phone call that the Universe is playing with me like a cat with a mouse. As you have none of these personality traits, at least not at the level that I possess them, I would take the phone call for what it is great news! See, I have this dream, which I think about every day, of walking into a bookstore, taking one of your books off the display, taking it to the counter where I tell the clerk, “This was written by my daughter!”

    To which she replies,“Oh I love this book! She is a wonderful writer.”

    I say, “Why thank you, it is not easy having and raising a very intelligent and gifted child.” (This is known as living vicariously through your children)

    Humor aside – What do you mean that was not humor? I really do have that dream sans the vicarious crap and I have it almost every day. Just so I have this straight the book the agent was referring to is “House of a Thousand Dolls”? And the one you will be submitting this round is the cat book? If so I have to say I think Cats is you best work to date. I loved it and any book that can keep your mother up reading it (I don’t care who wrote it) has to be something special.

    As for the phone call, think about what this really means. An agent thinks enough of your work to treat you like a publishable writer. You have risen above the fray of queries & synopses and grabbed an agent’s attention. You do not know how this can play out in the world of literary networking. Remember “Sometimes the Magic Happens”.

    As for what to do now, I know you like J.T. Ellison’s blogs on Murderati, so in case you missed this one read it. http://www.murderati.com/blog/2006/4/21/the-big-brush-off.html

  8. I have had that call. A few times now. It hurts to be so close and just miss. Do not take a break. I did and it was hell to get back in the groove. Celebrate the fact you EARNED a personal call and get back to work. That is my advise and for what it is worth it is what I wished I would have done.

  9. Wow, everyone. All this encouragement is wonderful! And I appreciate the advice and similar stories immensely.

    I want to answer all you guys individually, but I'm not blessed with much computer time today, so it might take another day or two.

    In the meantime, THANK YOU!!!

  10. I know what you mean. I just finished with one of my projects and am now going into round one of submissions. It is interesting to say the least.

    But at least you have a somewhere-close-to-finished project #2. My project #2 is a roughdraft I finished 4 (I think it was 4) years ago; reading over it now, I know it is in major need of a serious rewrite. And that's exactly what it's going to get, but it's a long story and the rewriting it needs is extensive... IDK... this could take a very long time.

    My advice to you would be to pick up a new book or new series and just start to read for pleasure. That's what I do when I feel like I need a break. I just finished reading "Auralia's Colors" by Jeffery Overstreet. Very good read. You could try that one if you like. :)

    Or draw something. Drawing can be a great and creative time-waster.

  11. Weronika- Such awesome advice, thank you! And the phone call was hugely encouraging. Quite a leap from the sort-of form responses I had been getting. *mini-squee!*

    Simon- Thanks, I'll take all the good wishes and thoughts I can get! I'm trying to get outdoors as much as possible, but it's been raining lately. :)

    Natalie- "Don't give up but keep this whole journey in perspective." Excellent advice, thank you! I keep telling myself that, but it helps to hear it from friends.

  12. Joanne- Organization in a pretty journal is a good idea. I've got some work to do on the climax of project 2, and then I get to send it out to readers. Yah!

    PJ- Ooo! Croquet! :) I think I definitely need to put more physical activities on the list. And read more comfort books. Har.

    Laura- There is definite unplugging in my future. I'm pretty sure my body is telling me I'm spending too much time on the computer. :)

  13. I would consider this VERY GOOD NEWS if it happened to me. I had a near thing with an agent about three years ago and I'm still banking on it. So, hope you take a break and breath and then pitter patter fly atter!
    This is my first visit to your blog so can't comment on changes or what I like or don't. Seems very good to me!

  14. D.R.- What a great link, thank you! And for the encouragement. You do positive pretty well for a "slightly paranoid, cynical, pessimist". :)

    Travis- I really appreciate the advice to not stop. Instead of stopping, I found a project that was in the "fun to work on" stage so I could stay in the groove without draining myself. Thanks!

    Star- Oo, a book recommend, thank you! And great advice too. My blog readers are all so smart! :)

    Jan- Welcome! I agree about the good news, just the phone call should keep me going for at least the rest of the year. Feel free to poke around. :)


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