Sunday, November 8, 2009

Write, Revise, and Query

When I visited my Grandmother in September we talked about all the bad news in the book market these days--shrinking lists,bookstores closing, publishers hesitant to buy, readers with less cash for books, old trends slipping away while new trends have yet to appear. "I can't do anything about any of that," I flung my hands in the air in defeat.
My Grandmother said to me, "What can you do?"
"I can write. I can revise and I can query. That's it."
My Grandmother who is a second generation American with a 6th grade education said to me. "Then that is what you do. My job was to clean other people's toilets and I did it. Your job is to write. You do it. Do your best at it. Be proud of it. The rest will work itself out." Smart woman, eh?
This is the time in Nanowrimo when people start to wonder if they bit off more than they can chew. If they can really write so many words in one month without editing. If writing the words, "the end" on a manuscript is worth all the hard work and missed television shows. Power through my friends, power through these doubts. Think of it as your job. Afterall, you want to be a writer, right? Then putting words on paper is your job. Do it. Do your best. It's the only thing you can control.
My friend Pamala, (hi, Pam!), tweeted that she isn't doing nanowrimo- she is doing nanorevisemo. That makes me smile. I tweeted back and asked if there was a nanoquerymo, because that's what I'm doing this month. There should be all three. After all that's our job as writers. It's the basic job description and what we have control over.
So, whether you are writing, revising or querying this month. Remember my Grandmother's advice (I wish I could copy her slight Croation accent for you): Do your best. Be proud of what you do no matter what the outcome. Even if you have to go back the next week and do it again- after all, it's your job.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

NaNo revising counts too?

Yes, Borders is in financial trouble so they close the Waldenbooks! 200 stores. I've seen the list and most of my favorite visits are on there. Gonna write one heck of a blog rant about it this week, too.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Yes- I'm here to say that it can be National Novel Revising Month, too- :)

I heard about Waldenbooks and the rest... The thing is that book selling is a business- and you have to make money to stay in business. It's sad for readers and writers when bookstores close. Isn't it?

Jessica said...

Wow, excellent post! I can't believe those bookstores are closing. Grrr...

~Sia McKye~ said...

I'm doing nanorevisemo too, plus I'm getting back in the saddle with another story I've started, so it's all good.

I like grandma's philosophy: it's your job, do it. Do it the very best you can.

Despite the publishing woes, Manuscripts are still being bought. Debut authors are still plentiful. Books are still being bought. The point is, in my opinion, if this is what you love to do, do it.

You may not make a fortune, and really chances are you won't, but why not write if that's what gives you joy. It's an artform, just as painting, sculpting, gardening, or any other creative outlet.

It's the satisfaction of the journey, of looking at the finished product, hearing people loved what you created that makes it worthwhile.

Thanks for sharing your grandmother with us!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jessica, yes grrr on the closings. I guess the point is that we should all buy books from local bookstores if we want them to remain open.

Hi Sia, so true-do what you love and share it! It's all we can do and more than enough. Cheers!

Linda Kage said...

This post reminds me of the Movie "28 Days" with Sandra Bullock. When Viggo Mortensen taught her how to throw a ball, he told her not to worry about the target because once the ball is out there, she has no control over it. So, he teaches to worry about the stuff she DOES have control over, like how she holds the ball, how she holds her shoulders, stuff like that. I loved that advice and thought it could work in just about any corner of life.

Work on the stuff we actually have control over. I adore that advice. Thank you, Nancy!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

You have a very wise grandmother and I'm going to listen to her!

Marilyn Brant said...

Your grandmother's words are great, Nancy :). I know some people are aiming for 50,000 words this month--I'm just trying to write and revise those first 50 pgs. Every step forward helps...

Heather said...

I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo as am already 50,000 words in but i do aplaud the idea behind it and those behind your grandmothers words. If you want to be a writer then write. that is your job. and the idea of having a certain number of words to write per day certainly helps me with that mindset.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Linda- Great analogy! Love it.
Jane, thanks. She is a wise woman. :)
Marilyn, I'm querying this month-which means shirt sleeve polish and out the door. :)
Heather-you are so right. It's about the old Nike ad- Just do it! :)


Ann Victor said...

Good advice from your Grandma! Nanowrimo is a great idea, but it would just put too much pressure on me! :O (I'm a sloooow writer!)

Pamala Knight said...

Nancy dearest. I'm so sorry that I'm late getting to this excellent post. I've tried to put your grandmother's advice to good use and I'm doing the best I can. Nanorevisemo is coming along and I've even written some new words in the interim. But it gives me comfort when the doubts creep in, to know that I'm doing what I can and if that's different for me, then it's okay.

Once again, thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom (and your grandma) with the rest of us.