Obviously I've been going through an intense bout of writer angst this year as well, and I gotta admit I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the knots in my stomach when I write, the worry that I'm messing up my book, the wondering and "agony" of waiting.
I hereby declare war on writers' angst. WAR, I tell you.
And I'd like to recruit you, too.
I'm forming a club, except anyone can join so it's not that kind of club. I'm calling it the Happy Writers' Society. It will probably be as ridiculous as Haruhi Suzumiya's SOS Brigade, so be prepared for ridiculousness and smiling. LOTS of smiling.
Because writers should be happy! We are creative, imaginative, hard working people who claim to love what we do! Shouldn't we show it a little more? Do we have to be so tortured? I don't think so. I'm so over "tortured writer."
So welcome to the Happy Writers' Society!
Mission: To spread writerly cheer, celebrate the journey, and otherwise purge writers of angst.
Every Friday (along with my occasional sketches), I will be posting something for Happy Writers' Society (HWS). But that's not all—I want "members" to share their stories too! So if you want to join my little club/clan/society/coven thing, please do. And if you want to share, send your stories (500 words max, please) to natalie (at) nataliewhipple (dot) com. Now to kick this off with a BANG.
Disney put out a movie called Meet The Robinsons a few years ago. I don't know if it really took off, but it's one of my favorites just because it reminds me to "Keep Moving Forward."
It's about a boy inventor, struggling to get his mojo back after his most-loved invention fails disastrously. (Um, can you see the parallels already?) He wants to give up inventing—he's ashamed that he can't get anything right ever.
At one point, the Robinson family convinces him to try tinkering again, so he attempts to fix this machine. And guess what happens? No, he doesn't succeed—the thing blows up in his face and the boy is utterly devastated.
And then the Robinsons cheer.
They cheer for his failure! They throw confetti and tell him how awesome his failure was, how horrible it went, laugh at how everyone's covered in goo. It's totally cheesy, but it sticks with me every time.
You see, the Robinsons believe failure is great—they believe it's learning, growing, and part of the process to finding what DOES work. It's nothing to get upset about, nothing to give up over. And as cheesy as that is, I've decided I'd rather be cheesy than depressed all the time.
So today I shall celebrate my failures by posting my VERY FIRST QUERY LETTER EVER. Oh, yes, it's a doozy. It's embarrassing. And I'm totally gonna celebrate the beautiful newbness of it. Just so you know, my very own agent received this query almost three years ago. It was promptly rejected in five minutes—making it my very first rejection! Are you ready, guys?
When Sevene’s hair turns blue on her sixteenth birthday she thinks the world is ending; and she’s exactly right. In Sevene: The Keepers, a 74,500-word novel, the timid yet creative Sevene Keys finds herself with incredible new powers and daunting responsibility when she discovers she is from a distant world. As aliens invade Earth to kill her, she must not only avoid her own death, but stop the vicious creatures from destroying Los Angeles.Awesome, right? I mean, take a look at the bio paragraph! For reals? Please imagine me laughing, because I am. It's funny how there's this little shred of potential there (I'm totally digging the tagline!), and yet, wow, what a disaster. That bio paragraph is basically a "see how insecure I am but please like me anyway?" speech. And it's totally vague in general.
Hooked to writing since I could read, I have been avidly conjuring stories and dreaming of new worlds since kindergarten. I worked as a writer for BYU’s Eagle’s Eye Magazine for four years, writing over 30 articles for 10 issues while also managing layout and editing responsibilities. A hard-working perfectionist, I believe that revision is the heart of good writing and embrace criticism as a means to improvement. I am not afraid to rework my materials and seek out people who will help me grow as a writer and help my stories flourish into novels.
In reading your blog, I felt that my manuscript would be a good addition to your list. Thank you for considering my complete manuscript, which also has an option of becoming a series.
But, I learned a lot from this first query. First, I learned I had no clue what I was doing. I wrote this without any help—I had no writer friends to help! This experience propelled me to seek out knowledge and friends, which profoundly affected my life.
Second, I learned that I had the guts to query, even if I wasn't ready. That was a big deal, since I'd spent my life up until then too afraid to even try. I learned I could put myself out there, get rejected, and survive. Luckily I only queried five poor souls with this thing and then decided I needed more practice.
Third, I learned my book wasn't ready—I wasn't ready. I really had no idea how much work it took, but writing this first query taught me things about storytelling. There's nothing like a summary to test your plot, to show whether or not the story actually holds up. After writing this query, I realized my book didn't. Sure, I still didn't know how to fix it, but at least I knew!
So there you go, a disastrous failure that led to many good things! Sure, it's a little embarrassing, but I don't think I'd be the writer I am now without it. In the end, I owe a lot to this silly query, and thus I will celebrate it.
This concludes today's Happy Writers' Society meeting. Please feel free to celebrate failure with me in comments! I would love to hear your misteps-turned-positive!
Also, I should probably make a badge or something...a crest? A flag? Oooo, a THEME SONG.