Writing is a profession of ups and downs.
This morning, I started out up. I created a map of the small fictional town in Colorado which figures prominently in a historical series I am writing. It felt good to complete the sketch because I am on the third book in the series, and I was worried I might inadvertently start moving the buildings around, or some such thing. No one wants to be the writer who places a particular shop on the east end of town in one story but moves it to the west side in the next story. I paged through my manuscripts until I was sure I had all of the key locations properly pinned down.
After that, I sat down and wrote over 500 words in a pretty short time span. I thought I was on a roll that would last all day, and started making a mental list of everything I thought I might accomplish.
Then I started working on a query letter. And the gods brought me back down to earth in a hurry. Writing a query letter may be the most dreaded task you can ask a writer to do. Writing a synopsis might top it, but both are painful, so there is simply no winner in that particular contest. Working on the query letter brought my gleefully productive day to a screeching halt.
It reminded me of a funny-but-not-really image a writing friend shared.
I would like to say “thank you” to the person who created this image, because it does a nicely pithy job of summing up my feelings and those of many other writers. I could give you a long list of household chores I would rather do than write a query letter or a synopsis, but they are both necessary tools when trying to sell a story. So we eat a lot of chocolate (well, I do anyway) and write them.
I considered reusing an older version of my query letter, but truthfully, it needs to be revamped. And since I owe pages to a couple of agents I spoke to at a conference recently, the revamping needs to occur now. It has made for a long afternoon, and I don’t feel nearly as productive as I did this morning.
Definitely a downer.
Writing a good query letter takes time, and I started this one a few days ago. But I’m close to having one that is ready to use. A faint hint of cautious optimism is swirling around me, nudging me back toward an upswing. So I’ll continue tweaking until I think the letter is ready to send.
But I won’t really know if it was ready until I see the results of sending it out into the submitting ether. Writing is a profession of ups and downs. Submitting and never getting a reply can bring a writer down. Receiving a request – or better yet an offer – which started with a query letter is one of the ups all writers strive for.
I write historical fiction, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.