Job Description: Jack of All Trades by Mercedes M. Yardley

22 Feb

Job Description: Jack of All Trades by Mercedes M. Yardley

The easiest part about the whole writing thing is the actual writing. Words are my playground. I roll around in them until I’m good and dirty. When I wrote my first novel, I hopped up and down, screaming. It never occurred to me that the real work begins later. Revising. Polishing. Searching for an agent while balancing other duties. That’s where I’m at now.


The Great Agent Search


  • Research each agent carefully
  • Follow query guidelines exactly
  • Prepare query
  • Mail query
  • Wait patiently
  • Accept response gracefully, whether it is a rejection, rewrite request, or request for more pages
  • Follow up appropriately
  • Sure, querying agents is a little daunting at first, but all it really takes is some patience and time. Unfortunately time is in extremely short supply in my house. I’m a mom. A wife. A friend, a volunteer, a writer, and I work for the print magazine Shock Totem.

    Shock Totem Magazine


  • Read slush
  • Prepare nonfiction piece for publication
  • Read more slush
  • Gather reviews and choose which ones to run
  • More slush
  • Be a friendly presence on the magazine forum
  • Prepare, promote, and oversee writing contest
  • Find those beautiful shiny gems that are hidden in the slush
  • But one does not live on slush and queries alone. I am also writing a nonfiction book about my son’s rare genetic syndrome. It is going to be the book that I wish somebody had given me when he was diagnosed.

    Williams Syndrome Project


  • Study information on Williams Syndrome
  • Reread old journals for accurate documentation
  • Read nonfiction
  • Make an outline
  • Write each painful chapter
  • Cry a lot
  • Remember that I’m strong and I’m doing this for a reason
  • Solicit kisses from my son in order to galvanize me
  • Research nonfiction book proposals
  • It’s tough to have so many different projects going on at the same time, but I feel like it’s an accelerated learning path for me. I look back to where I was a year or two ago, and I feel a hundred times more educated. More tired, perhaps, but definitely more educated. And isn’t that what this game is about? Getting stronger, better, and smarter?

    Yeah, I thought so, too. 🙂

    11 Responses to “Job Description: Jack of All Trades by Mercedes M. Yardley”

    1. Tami February 22, 2010 at 10:46 am #

      *laughs* Ah, I remember this feeling > “It never occurred to me that the real work begins later.” It’s probably a good thing I felt that way – writing as a serious pursuit seems to be conglomerative. The moment I feel I’m finding a groove, another responsibility raises its head and demands attention.

      You’re right, though. “Getting stronger, better, and smarter”. Improvement is always a worthy goal.

    2. rileyquinn February 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

      I’m with you on trying to find to improve. I, too, feel more educated now than I did two years ago. Good luck on your pursuits. How lucky are you that your son is standing by ready to shower you with kisses to keep you going.

    3. pattiwaemmad February 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

      Good luck & hugs to you, Mercedes. I hope the research and writing of the Williams Syndrome Project will be both a healing balm and blessing to both you and other parents in your situation.

      Re: the waiting patiently… LMK if you figure out the secret to this one.

    4. mamadivine February 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

      Wow Mercedes! You’ve got a lot on your plate. It sounds like you’re handling it. I agree writing a book is the beginning of a long journey.

      I think it’s wonderful you’re sharing your experiences dealing with your son’s condition to help other families. Wishing you success with all your endeavors.


    5. Felicia Holt February 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

      That’s a description for three separate jobs, so it’s obviously a position that requires a very special person! I think the non-fiction book is a wonderful idea. Think of the blessing it’ll prove for someone later on.

      Best of luck with everything!

    6. Carly Carson February 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

      Wow, you have a lot going on. Sometimes I think the more you have to do, the more you get done. Other times, I just feel overwhelmed. lol

      Good luck with all those projects. Will there be a market for the book on the genetic problem?

    7. Mercedes February 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

      Thank you for the wonderful comments! I appreciate them greatly. 🙂

      Carly, I know there’s a market. Williams is a rare syndrome, but it’s being diagnosed more and more. It’s already starting to show up in our media. It was mentioned in House, and Law and Order: SVU had an entire episode devoted to it. It’s an intriguing syndrome, but there isn’t really any information on it. If you grab a genetic syndrome book, you’ll usually see a paragraph or two that says, “Williams Syndrome is a deletion of the elastin gene on Chromosome 7. They have strong language skills, love for music, and heart problems.” The end.

      When my son was diagnosed, we were absolutely floored! I tore the world apart looking for a book or blog by a mother who had already gone through what I was going through. It didn’t exist. It still doesn’t exist. Thankfully now I’m in contact with at least 30 Williams moms via the Internet and we can discuss a lot of the issues that crop up. But I want this to be the book that I would hand to my mom or sister if I wanted to really explain Williams. In fact, that’s half the reason that I’m writing it. I’d like to hand it to those that are trying to understand his syndrome, because they don’t always feel like asking.

      Oops, sorry, this was long! So to answer your question…uh, yes. 😉

    8. Hinny February 23, 2010 at 11:13 am #

      Hey Mercedes, it does sound like you are busy. But motion is always growth and if that’s what you’re after you’re doing a hell of a job.

      Best wishes for you and your son.


    9. briaq February 23, 2010 at 11:21 am #

      Mercedes – This was GREAT! Wow, you’ve got a lot going on. Thanks for sharing it with us.

      And thanks to everyone who stopped by

      Wednesday December Gephart (our own Funky Bunny) will be telling us how goes her Job Description.

    10. masonian February 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

      Wow, busy!
      Writing is such a solitary thing, but happily, I know that Mercedes has a great cheerleading team.
      So people, if you know a writer, make sure you cheer them on. Particularly if you have some know-how you can pass on to them. (tips on querying, etc)
      It’s one thing to research it on the internet, it’s another to have someone who you know tell you “I’m right there with you, it CAN be done.”

    11. Kathleen A. Ryan February 23, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

      Hi Mercedes,
      Wonderful post ~ I love it. You are my hero. I retired 3 years ago, after being a police officer for 21 years so that I could spend more time with my kids (they are now 12 & 14). My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and my daughter has Central Auditory Processing Disorder. I survived breast cancer in 2004, had a mastectomy, reconstruction, chemo & radiation, and worked throughout. I’ve been researching a historical true crime and it’s a memoir, too, since my family & my husband’s family is involved. I’m also writing short fiction, essays, and a blog to get my name out there, etc. and querying, attending writers conferences, I belong to a writers group, Sisters in Crime, the Public Safety Writers Assoc., etc. ~ so I know of what you speak when it comes to this business of writing and how much work is involved.

      The thing that bothers me is when people say, “Oh, but you don’t work” when I’m working around the clock trying to launch another career!

      You are doing an awesome job, Mercedes. I’m rooting for you, dear fellow Revision Queen! Keep up the good work!

      I’m honored to be in the upcoming “W.W. Norton Hint Fiction Anthology: Stories of 25 words or less” with you! I don’t want to rush the year, but I can’t wait til November!

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