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Groping Blindly in the Dark

24 August, 2011

So, here I am: back from my lovely holiday in Cornwall, back at my desk, with what feels like the tail-end of summer outside the window and nothing to really interrupt my writing between now and Christmas. In some ways, that’s a wonderful feeling. I have a novel to be writing, after all (which passed the 25k words mark today), and it’s going well. That long, uninterrupted stretch to write it in will be great. The problem, though, is that working on just one novel tends not to be enough for me. Usually, I’ll be editing another at the same time, or writing short stories, or researching. This time though, all of those things have fallen a bit by the wayside, and so I’m left feeling as if I’m groping blindly in the dark for something to do.

I know what I should be doing, of course. I have a finished novel – I need to be writing my query letter, writing my synopsis and sending it out to agents. I’ve done a little of all those things, but now I’m stuck. How to know when my query letter is as perfect as I can make it? How to know whether the novel is even worth querying? How to know which agents to send things to in the first place? Groping blindly, once again.

I don’t really have a solution, or an answer to any of those questions. At the moment, my plan for the rest of the year is as follows: start querying the book by sending out a single query every week. Make sure I also have at least one short story out on submission at all times, too. Finish my proofreading course. And keep working on the new novel, with which I’m aiming for 5k words a week (and have stuck to that for a month now).

It would be really nice, sometimes, to have some great writing guru in the sky who would tell me – would tell us all – what to do. Write your query like THIS. End your novel like THIS. Send this story HERE and that story THERE. Sadly, no such guru exists, so we have to just keep going. Groping in the dark, trying new things. Sometimes failing, but sometimes, just sometimes, succeeding too.

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