Saturday, November 19, 2005
  On Writing and Neuroses
I have often said that if one were not insane when one started writing, attempting to get one's work published will certainly drive over the cliff. My latest ups and downs... the publishers who had acepted my short story, Peaceful Conclusions, for their anthology have decided that anthology sales are not doing well, even though their past anthologies have won Eppies, and that they are no longer going to be publishing anthologies.

This is reminiscient of various publications that I have written for and which folded after some months or even just before my article was supposed to be published. Not to mention the children's book publisher that went out of business -- TWICE! -- before I could send back my signed contract. Or the one who is holding onto my first novel manuscript; it's been three and a half years now, though they consistently tells me that they are indeed still considering it. (I know it's on the long side, but really, if it's taking them that long to read it, well, we'd better not go there...)

Of course, the worst part is the waiting. Waiting to hear back from magazine editors, agents, publisers, contests. It's like the life cycle of the butterly, only sort of mixed up. You start as a caterpillar -- growing like crazy (ok, your manuscript growing like crazy, but you get the idea.) Then you go into cocoon state, let the juices stew around a bit, and emerge as a larvae. (I told you it was rather mixed up.) Then you edit like crazy until you are ready to go back into your chrysalis. Only you don't decide when -- or even if! -- you are going to emerge. You hang out, at first expecting succour at any moment. Then you start dozing off; it's rather dull in a chrysalis. If things are really bad, your knight in shining armor (pardon the mixed metaphor...) will email you saying, I'm sending this off to the editorial board, or I think the executive editor will really like this, or can you send me the full manuscript, before he disappears into the sunset for another three (or four or five) months. If you're lucky he'll come back. If not, you never hear another peep, or perhaps he'll hail you from a distant hilltop -- alas, I pass.

Of course, that is all balanced out by the acceptances. The glory of seeing one's words in print. Or better yet, of having someone tell you, I really enjoyed that piece you wrote. Ah heaven. Money's not bad either, when you can finagle it.

In my own personal saga of ups and downs, the publisher who just said no to anthologies offered to publish the story as a stand alone offering as a part of a new publishing program of short stories and novellas that they are starting. Now I have to dedice if I want to be on the ground floor of this new program, and if it's going to be worth the time/nervous energy/nailbiting/daily (or hourly!) trips to the publishers equivalent of statcounter, etc. It would be pretty cool, and I think the publisher has got a decent reputation. Plus they publish Piers Anthony and some other big name authors so they should have more pull than some small publishers. Of course, it doesn't qualify for sfwa, but that's not the only standard in the sky. And it might not make me enough money to take my kids to see the next Harry Potter film (I mean movie 5, I saw movie 4 today.), but what the heck, it just might.
 
Comments:
Great entry! As they say, the hard part starts when you jump into the business side of writing. Now I say, whoever is crazy about writing will endure not to get crazy with those ups and downs :) It's the passion to write!

All the best in your endeavors.
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


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Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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