The Stages of Querying Grief

Today, while I'm off doing touristy things, I've got the fabulous Morgan (who doesn't have a blog, even though she needs one!) with a guest post. If you've been on inkpop for a really long time, you might remember her as MIC, the author of Shadow Watchers. You guys can follow her on twitter at @Morgan_Shamy. Enjoy!

The Five Stages of Querying Grief

I can't decide if I love querying or hate it.

The highs are unbelievably high and the lows are like, in the depths of despair low. I'm not the type of writer that needs my hand held--in fact, I'm extremely motivated and confident in my work--I used to shake my head when my writing buddies would go on their emotional roller coasters of self doubt--I mean, come on! Have a little faith in yourself, right? Wrong. I didn't understand. QUERYING. It does a number on the writer's psyche. (There should be a drug all writers can take when going through the process.) There's this thing called doubt that plants itself somewhere in a back corner of the writer's mind--slowly growing until its little sprouts latch onto anything, everything it can feed off of--weaving, twisting, growing, until you feel like you're gonna--okay, er... you get the point.

Funny enough, I've actually kept a log of my emotional querying journey(which hasn't been too long) but still, it's pretty comical. I go from loving my story, thinking I have such a good shot to thinking my work is the worst thing written that's graced the face of the planet. Like, ten times a day. Times a hundred. (okay, I'm exaggerating, but you get my drift)

So I've broken up my experience into 5 different stages of querying:

1. The first HIGH. The day after I sent my first batch of queries, I get 2 full requests. And these are my thoughts: "Eeeek! I knew this would be easy! Agents are going to be knocking on my door this going to be so fun!" <----Er, how naive I was. (I've grown so much in six weeks, my mom would be proud)

2. The first form rejection off a query. DEVASTATION. How could they not want my work? Didn't they read the query? It's good! Tears.

3. More requests. RELIEF. Okay, my query is good. So are my sample pages. The first two requests weren't a fluke. I'm gonna be okay.

4. Rejection off a full. Back to devastation. (this isn't its own stage, just reiterating stage 2) <----BUT this is where I'm proud of myself. I didn't mope. I didn't cry. (too much) I got to work. I scrapped my first three chapters and rewrote them. Moving on, feeling motivated and hopeful.

5. More form rejects from query. At this point, I cease to care. INDIFFERENCE. Agents know what they're looking for, and regardless of how good my query is, if it's not what they want, it's not an insult to my writing. I like this stage. It gives me confidence and a feeling of power.

6. Another rejection off a full/partial. I'm okay. I am. I dissect the rejection letter. I read it over and over again, looking for any clues that might help me improve. I take heart in phrases like, "I expect to see you on shelves soon" and "It's extremely well written or I wouldn't have requested it"--I hold onto those words like a life line.

7. Upgrade from partial to full. BLISS! (this goes along with stage one. The ultimate HIGH) They liked my writing and story enough to want to see more! This is huge! I'm not out of my mind for trying to do this!

8. And finally, ACCEPTANCE that whatever happens will happen. Either an agent will fall in love with my work, or they won't. If not, I'll keep plugging away on my next project. Because as writers, writing isn't a choice--we have to do it. It's part of us and the truly determined will keep at it until we find that one "yes" that will take us to the next level.

Have I missed a stage? What stage are you in right now?

It's nice to finely be at the acceptance stage---I feel like I can get more done without being weighed down by the angst of worrying about refreshing my computer button every ten minutes. I'm writing not to find an agent, but to create magic on the page. And that, is what it's about for me.

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Trisha Wolfe said...

I think you pretty much covered it. I've queried three books O_o but at this point, the stages has less impact, if that makes sense. Keep your head up!!!! The fact you're getting requests for partials and full is amazing. The market is difficult to break into. Doesn't mean that readers wouldn't go crazy over it. There's so many factors that goes into today, not just your writing, story, whatev. No matter what, we're growing as writers, and those who never give up, will succeed one way or the other. <3! Great post!

Valia Lind said...

Well, my stages are mostly crying, sadness, throwing stuff agains the wall, acceptance, back to crying lol
Querying is more exhausting than writing a whole book! Im not giving up tho! And we grow so much as writers during the process that its definitely something that make us who we are :-)
Great post!

Morgan said...

This post rings so true to me (lol) Thanks for letting me guest blog, Laura! :D

Ellen Faith said...

Eek! I'm thinking of starting to query, but I'm not too sure. I love my story, characters and world but I guess I'm just really nervous. It's good to see that you slowly get through that stage!

Jack said...

Morgan, the only part you missed is the acceptance phase! But that's quite understandable since it still remains in the future and is something you have yet to experience! I can't wait until I achieve that stage of the querying process, I'm sure I'll lose three-nights sleep on account of it!

Great post! Let us know what happens!

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