Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I am a writer - for I have been rejected.

"Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, your manuscript doesn't sound like something that’s right for us. We wish you the best of success in placing your work elsewhere."


 The above is the reply to the query I sent six days ago. Maybe later I'll feel disappointed, but for today I'm thrilled! Being rejected by a potential agent is the writer's calling card, and I just got mine, thank you very much.
This email means other things, too. It means I followed this agent's submission guidelines closely enough to deserve a minute of someone's time and an actual reply. It means I can go on to the next potential agent. Oh, and it means I have a manuscript.
That last one may seem obvious, but writers sometimes forget how far they've come. Getting my first rejection is a pretty high rung on my ladder to publishing success - above writing a  novel, rewriting a novel, editing a novel, and repeating the process with a query letter, which is much harder. So for today I'm celebrating the view from this lofty height.
And tomorrow? I guess it's already time to query a few more agents. Wish me luck!
(Photo courtesy of Natalie Sharpston)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Climb Every Mountain


"My most memorable experience as a college-age summer camp counselor (by far) was climbing Mount Elbert. The highest mountain in Colorado, it is an impressive 14,433 feet above sea level. Our leader, an adventure-loving trailblazer of a man, lived to hike mountains and this was not his first time up Elbert. We were in good hands. It took hours to walk through the forest at the mountain's base, but finally we passed the tree line and our hiking took on a more vertical slant. We had to be careful not to start a landslide as we climbed over loose, shale-like rock at a 45-degree angle, but we made it to the snow and up to the summit. Elbert is relatively easy to climb compared to many fourteeners, but the view from the top can't be beat. The only thing comparable is looking out of an airplane. Clouds floated by below us as we studied huge mountains at our feet. It was absolutely astounding to be on top of the world, but scary, too. Gravity seemed a little less strong up there, as if we needed to hang on to the boulders around us or we might just fall up into that deep blue sky.
My trip up Mt. Elbert was a life event that can't be understated, but all I did was show up. I walked hour after hour, followed directions, trusted I was safe, and never gave up until I was on the summit, a small patch of land no bigger than a porch deck. I'm doing the exact same thing with Nanowrimo - writing 1,667 words each day come hell or high water - and I'm beginning to believe this month will have the same impact."
I wrote this on November 17, 2008 for my memoir "One Hundred Times" and am posting it today because on this day, July 17, 2013, I've reached another summit of sorts. "Pity," my YA novel, (which was written during Nanowrimo) is ready, and my first query went to an agent. Barry Goldblatt, I hope you like it!
NOTE: For more information about Mt. Elbert go to: http://www.summitpost.org/mount-elbert/150325

Monday, July 1, 2013

Why is my blog called A Writer's Cup?

Because of the mug in this picture.  I picked it up at a Beall's Outlet four years ago, on sale no doubt.  It's nothing special, really.  Designed by Becca Barton, made in China, painted a garish red with a fat snowman, a skinny Christmas tree, and snowflakes -- or are they stars?
But here's the deal; I love this cup.  I didn't always, but over time it became my writing companion because of its perfect size, its friendly snowman, its sturdy handle.  Now I love it so much I use it year-round, I'm scared my husband will break it, and I've searched the internet looking for a replacement just in case (still no luck). 
While this cup sits around being dangerously perfect, it reminds me of the Buddhist teaching to "see it broken."  Achaan Chah Subhaddo tells of a favorite glass he knows will one day break, so he does his best to enjoy it now.  And that's what my writer's cup reminds me to do, enjoy it all now.  What is your writer's cup?
 
Thanks to Fiona Robyn's blog, which includes Achaan Chah Subhaddo's quote (via Mark Epstein).