Also, earlier this week I read a blog post by one agent (who yes, rejected me) who said that she is much less likely to request pages or sign new clients in the summer because her attention span is shorter and she'd rather be outside. Unless she is totally and completely wowed while the sun is shining and the weather is warm, it's an automatic form rejection. So naturally, I started to freak out. I've put a lot of time and hard work into my manuscript and the many, many drafts of my query letter and now I find out that I'm doing this at the wrong time of year? Not exactly the best feeling in the world.
My current WIP wasn't exactly a place of solace and escape from this defeated feeling, either. It's hard to write well when it feels like everyone and their assistant is telling you that you actually totally and completely suck. (Okay, none of them have actually said anything remotely close to that, but it can feel that way when they respond with indifference and tell you 'no thanks, not for me, but good luck!'.) Add that to the fact that I'm incredibly hard on myself with my writing in the first place and this is a first draft so of course it's really rough, and there was a lot of negativity in the room. If I were a cartoon, I'd be walking around with a little thought bubble declaring DOUBT over my head, pannel after pannel.
What I needed was a change. Something completely different. I get ideas for novels, but I find myself lately getting caught up in the little points that keep me from moving forward even though I try so hard to remember to just focus on the bigger picture the first draft around. So right now, I've turned to short stories.
Now I haven't written a short story in years. We're talking not since maybe junior high, and even that may be a generous estimation. I certainly haven't read any short stories since then, and those were usually more canonical ones. But I think it's well past time to reintroduce myself to this form of storytelling, starting shorter with the bare bones and still writing an effective piece and build myself up to longer word counts to build my confidence back up. After all, writing is like any other skill you want to master in this life - practice, practice, practice. I'm currently reading the YA story collection Up All Night featuring authors such as Libba Bray and David Levithan, and I'm hoping this will help me warm back up to this medium.
So that's my writing life as of late. If anyone out there knows of good (YA) short story anthologies or good websites where people can post stories and get feedback, please let me know in comments! I'd greatly appreciate it. Until then, back to work...