FWIS: How to be the In-Between Girl

4 Apr

FWIS (From Where I Stand) is a monthly piece I’m collaborating on with Abby Mumford & Jessica Corra… all three of us are YA writers in different places in our journeys. Check out their links for this months FWIS from their point of view! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This month we’re doing a What Do You Really Want To Tell People month.

There’s a lot I want to tell people. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll see that’s really true. I chit chat about a lot of diverse things. But, when I thought about FWIS and being the ‘in-between girl’ I figured maybe I should write a little bit about what it’s like here in the middle. To be the In Between Girl.

When you first start writing, the goals are really tangible. Finish the first book. Edit the first book. Find critique partners and beta readers. Polish. Polish. Polish. Query. Query. Query.

And then, if you stay focused, keep polishing your craft, and work hard, you’ll sign with an agent who will then work with you.

But, no one tells you that’s often a weird place.

You’ve signed and you’re doing more revisions on a book that had felt done (they never are) and learning to put aside your own thoughts to work with someone new and then…when that is all set… your agent will start pitching you to editors.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you’ve heard me say it: Always write like you’re going to sell tomorrow. You want as much of your work good-to-go as possible.

And that’s still (and always) right, but…

You knew there was a but, right?

For the first time, your work is out of your hands. You’re partnering with someone and part of the future rests on them. Sure, it’s someone you completely trust and have built a strong relationship with, but still.

It isn’t like when you’re writing and you can keep working on your ms until it’s just right.

It isn’t like when you’re getting feed back and implementing it until everything si smooth.

It isn’t like when you’re querying and ever rejection or R&R or request is something you have an action item for (send more, work out the notes, send the full).

There’s no action item during “waiting to hear” from your agent. Really. Trust me. As someone completely goal oriented, I’ve looked. There aren’t any.

But (of course, another but) there are things you should be doing.

You should be compartmentalizing or you’ll go crazy.

You should be writing the next thing or you’ll be dead in the water.

You should be building your brand and following the plan you built with your agent.

But most of all, you shouldn’t be waiting. Not only is waiting bad, bad, bad (and evil) it’s also exhausting.

You will never, ever find anything as exhausting as hitting the refresh button every five minutes and focusing on just one house or one editor or one plan.

It’s hard, but the In Between Girl needs to learn to put that all aside, trust her agent and forget she’s the IBG.  They say every step of the journey has it’s own struggles, but I’ll admit, this is my kryptonite. Not being able to act to move toward the goal right now is hard…. it’s more than hard.

And that’s why, all this waiting will have to be put in a box under the bed in the backroom of a deserted house on the other side of town. No matter where I am, I’ll keep working toward the next book, because that’s not only easier than waiting… It’s smarter.

So, don’t be the IBG… and ignore me if I occasionally cave and hit *refresh* when I go on submission.


UPDATE:  To everyone reading this and nodding along… I’m getting DMs and emails telling me they were surprised and happy to read this post. That they didn’t know anyone else was feeling this way. Let’s change this post to: YOU ARE NOT ALONE 🙂

6 Responses to “FWIS: How to be the In-Between Girl”

  1. abby mumford April 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    The in between is always hard, whether it’s in reference to writing or growing up or dating or at the workplace, but as kelly clarkson (and I’m sure someone before her) has said, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and while you wait for the next stage, at least there’s some good music to dance to. 🙂

  2. briaq April 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    LOL And Kelly Clarkson is never wrong!

  3. sashikaufman April 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    I’m so glad you wrote this! This was the post I searched and searched for when I was an IBG -not very long ago. And believe me, you can do a lot of random searching in between hitting the refresh button. I was always searching for the post that would tell me when this phase would pass. Like if I cut the heads off enough live chickens or did enough rain dances….well you get the idea. Thanks for being bold and brave Bria -you’re racking up some serious writer’s karma.

  4. briaq April 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Hmmmm… I didn’t try *live* chickens….

    I’m so excited you’re onto the Soon To Be Released stage!!!

  5. Monica B. W. (@Monica_BW) April 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    *sniffles* You’re so wise, ma dear.
    Love this post. You wrote it for me, right?

  6. briaq April 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    LOL – I didn’t know all the people I was writing it for 🙂

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