Saturday, April 10, 2010


Sit at the computer. Open new e-mail:




Lean head on the back of the seat. Inhale a deep breath. Okay. Then open up synopsis. Read through it.
Stare. Stare.  Set it aside. Browse Facebook, and Twitter. Check out out some blogs. Watch the clock inch closer to noon.

11:00 AM
Heart thrums a brisk pizzicato. Feel the pulse thumping between the ears.

11:02 AM
Turn back to the synopsis. Tweak it a bit. Then a bit more. Turn to the query. Tweak it. A little more now.
Hit print. Printer jams. Husband hears cries, and enters--fixes printer. Feel the the pressure to make it.

Frantic curses.

So the husband:  “Sit. Don’t move.”

11:47 AM
He returns, leans on the doorway:  “I couldn’t find the number for the one close by, but the other one said all of them should be open until three.”

Well then. Set everything aside. Decide: breakfast. Yes, breakfast. Eat. Take a shower. It’s cold: put on a sweater.

Then, finally, sit down at the computer. Finish printing. Prepare two envelopes—one with a query and a synopsis, another with just a query. Both with a SASE.

2:10 PM
Long sigh. Slip on shoes. Throw envelopes into husband’s car. Drive to the post office.

2:15 PM
But the sign says: Saturday 7-2

Pick up the phone. Don’t cry. Just: “It seems like a sign to me.”

“The other one is still open,” he says. Hear his sigh. Feel the shrug on the other end of the phone.

Drive back home. Drive past the house. Keep going. And going.  Get a little lost in the unfamiliar town. Don’t push it. Don’t panic. Look for signs.

Stop at red light. Stare upwards. Signs. Signs. Please, signs.

Find the other post office. Sign says: Saturday 7-3

Clock says: 3:03

On the drive home, think: It’s not ready.

Think: It’ll never be ready.

Confidence? It’s an illusion.

Do it anyway? But the signs.

Internal dialogue: How easy to think that which was once beautiful is now unworthy. But maybe you simply deluded yourself to begin with finding beauty where there was none. But maybe you’re just a fraidy cat.  Maybe the only ones telling the truth are the ones who don’t like it. Maybe the only ones telling the truth are the ones who do. Maybe you can’t please everybody. Maybe you should just


do it

Or don’t

6:59 PM
It’s hot—take off the sweater. Open up the manuscript. Read the first page. Close the manuscript. Compose e-mail: Dear Agent

Lean head back on the seat.


  1. Sometimes the signs are wrong and they are barriers trying to make you second guess yourself. Push through them. You can do this and you will. You are an amazing writer and you must show them you are.
    You can do this.
    I also love your new look.
    Good luck!

  2. Okay, I'm going to give you the same pep talk we used to give each other in college when we had to give our end of semester presentations... this is the same thing.

    You are beautiful as well as intelligent. There is nothing that you can't do. You are insightful, creative and a damn fine writer. NO ONE can take that away from you. Now go in there, give your talk and blow their socks off.

    Now go to that post office, drop your letters in and blow their socks off.

    There are no signs, only the roadblocks in your own mind. You can DO this. Carol, if I can do this twice, you can do it once. It's only a letter. What have you got to lose? Think about all the hard work that came before this. Think about what the writing of the book was for. You'll never get a shot at publication if you don't mail those letters.

    You're always telling me that I'm brave, so I'm telling you, you're brave. Be brave woman!!!!

  3. Take a deep breath Carol - it's good, not just good enough! I know without seeing it - I know from how hard you'e worked. Deep breath and go!

  4. You poor thing! We always doubt ourselves in such situations. It's normal. You're being brave! You'll go places!

  5. Just plunge ahead. Keep going. It will come, but you gotta give fate a nudge now and then :)

  6. If I weren't feeling the same insecurities, I'd offer a pep talk right about now. But that would make me a hypocrite.

    There is, however, one thing I'm sure of even on the darkest of days. If you don't play, you can't win. And we already know you're a winner because you believe. Go. Win.

  7. I've got a jolly good mind to jump on an airplane (from New Zealand), screech up your driveway in a cab, grab you by tightly by wrist and personally delivery you and your letters to the Post Office!

    Sadly, I have no money... However, you have been warned. Post that bloody letter, Carol!

    You are a diamond in the rough. Someone with SOooo much talent, it would be worth bottling.

    So, what are you going to do??? Post the letter? Yes?

    Good. Off you go.

    I'm right behind you honey! xxxxx

  8. Poor sweetheart, you're being far too hard on yourself. Everyone has bad days or days of self-doubt but you can't let it get to you.

    What you need is a break from the manuscript and the synopsis. Leave it for the weekend. Then on Monday you give it a kiss for good luck and then send it out there to those agents. You will DO IT.


  9. I felt every painful step of this. Like VR, I can't give a pep talk when I face my own insecurities, but I will tell what I've posted in front of my face: Choose confidence. Get Fierce.
    Sometimes we have to push ourselves past the obstacle of self.

  10. PS. Dear God, sorry about my previous comment. I managed to write an entire sentence - that made NO sense whatsoever!!!

  11. You've pretty much nailed it. Yup, I was there with you, every step of the way. Totally with you.

  12. Beautiful beautiful Carol! You can do this! You WILL DO THIS!!

    We all are here, we support you and we believe in you! ;o)

    Visit MY Kingdom Anytime

  13. Oh Carol *hugs*! Sometimes we just have those kind of days. It doesn't mean you're not ready. It's just a sign to slow down, calm down, and relax. Don't let it get your down. You're a wonderful writer and no bad day can take that away from you.
    *love and hugs*

  14. Your writing is excellent. No matter when you send the queries, agents will be interested. Your talent is clear from page one.

    Do it.

  15. Breathe deep. Breathe again. Be kinder to yourself tomorrow and on Monday the post office will be open again. That's a sign right there.

  16. Do it! Even your panic entry is lovely!

    Also, the ones who love it (aka me and S) are SO telling the truth. Our truth is better than other people's truth, too. Just remember that. Alexandra's truth > everyone else's.

  17. If you look hard enough, you'll find a sign for almost anything.

    Just accept the worst thing that could happen (someone says no) and embrace the best thing that could happen (someone says yes).

    You can do it. I totally believe in you.

  18. We make our own destiny, Carol. I have to talk myself into sending out each query to every agent. I once got a query back with only a footprint on it. Now, that was a statement!

    If we do not knock, the door will never open. Yours could be the very thing that agent is looking for and not getting. There is beauty even in the shadows of our souls, for they were shaped by He who breathed the suns into being.

    You can do this, Carol, for you are made of the very substance at the heart of stars. Scientific fact. Me, being a guy, I'm made of puppy dog tails.

    Made you smile. Hold on to it. The future is out there waiting for you. It won't wait forever. Mail those queries. Your friend, Roland.

  19. I think you need to do another quick passes on it. Make sure, then TELL yourself you're sure it's in good shape. Then submit it and start working immediately on the next WIP.

    I go through an agony with every deadline! I'm convinced the manuscript I submitted last Monday is a disaster. I'll feel that way until they email me about it (and maybe even past then.) I've started Memphis book 3...

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  20. I'm overwhelmed by your support and encouragement. Truly. I saw the comments coming into my e-mail, and I felt nearly speechless with gratitude. So it's taken me a while to respond. It's strange how I can feel confident in other avenues of my life, but have it so easily shattered when it comes to my writing. But thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I feel...lighter now.

  21. Don't make me unleash Shannon and Sara on you. Nat and Meg are also great at giving required shoves. ;) I agree with Elizabeth. One more pass through to make yourself feel better (It's Sunday after all. You don't wanna end up in the Monday morning email pile up.) Then GO FOR IT! :)

  22. you can do it! I know you can! And just think about how relieved you'll feel once you send that first one out. Baby steps, baby, and you can do anything!

  23. WE step off the cliff each time we submit. We just have to remember to open the chute so that we can glide to the bottom instead of hitting it with a...splat.

  24. Writing is such a personal thing, it's easy to feel your confidence ebb when you have to show it to others. You want them to love it, but even if it's good, there's no guarantee they will.

    Just remember; if it was easy, everyone would do it. But YOU did it! :)

  25. There are no SIGNS! It is only tricks your mind uses against you. If you're going to be stopped, MAKE THEM (Agents, Publishers) STOP YOU. Right now, you are stopping yourself. Cinch up that belt and get to it!! :)

  26. I'm so sorry! Our main post office has an automated postage machine and the lobby is always open - I can't tell you how thankful I often am for that.

    I don't think these are signs that you're not ready. I think these are signs that you shouldn't give up. Keep pushing through. Mail them tomorrow. Maybe email a query in the meantime, if you'd like, to get it out of your system. I don't really think the post office being closed means anything. Their hours are ridiculous anyway ;)

  27. I am about to start querying agents and I feel the same ups and downs. The fact that you've got to a point where you are ready (or maybe not emotionally ready ;-) to send it out into the world is absolutely incredible- don't forget that. So many people don't have the courage to get this far. Good luck. Don't let the USPS sway your confidence! :-)

  28. Wow, are you in my head? This is what I do. Sending out the query... sigh... that's rough. It's amazing how all our confidence can be drained in one day.

  29. Yes you can. YES you WILL. Wake up Monday. Tell yourself that you are a fantastic writer because it is true. Consider Saturday a dry run. Seal the envelopes and go.

    Yes you can. YES you WILL.

  30. Awwww, you guys. You inspire me with your tremendous encouragement. I <3 you.

    And you're right. I can. I will.

    I wish the same for all of you: hope, inspiration, motivation.

  31. Sometimes the "signs" are really just you looking for ways NOT to do whatever you're dreading! I also get very nervous when my WIP is ready (but is it really ready??) to submit. But we must do it or our goals won't ever be reached. Wishing you endless writing, inspiration, and courage!

  32. I love how you write, girl. If you can't land an agent, none of us have hope. Everything I've seen you write rocks.

    I'm impressed you're doing the snail mail queries. I've lost patience with those. Maybe I'll have the stamina to try snail mail when I can't get an agent online.

  33. There are no signs... just random events. But your writing isn't random, so make it happen! :)

  34. Thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog. We all have this negative tape loop that plays in our head. It is really important to find the stop button on that thing or it will drive you nuts. Let me say that again: We all have it. Learn to hit the stop button. Sometims it helps to know you're not alone and there is a solution. Now, mail your stuff. Well, not now. But Monday. Sending positive energy your way:-)

  35. You guys give the best advice and support. Thanks so much. I'm feeling more better. Truly. I think, quite possibly, I might make it to the post office tomorrow.

  36. I just meandered over from your comment on Guinevere's blog. The first thing I saw was your quiz (which is hilarious).

    I just started querying a couple months ago. It was a little terrifying, but I'd never forgive myself for not going all the way with this one. You can do it too! Baby steps will get you there- ignore the signs and all the distractions. You should definitely get to the post office tomorrow- the worst they can do is say no, right?

  37. Just checking in....

    Have you posted that letter yet?

    You really don't want me turning up at your front door :)

  38. Waiting is the pits. Querying is hell. Can't get published without both.

    Back at it . .


  39. Post.
    Fear maybe the base note but excitement and expectation are layered thick - you are about to ride the scary ride at the fairground.
    Posting is the tricky bit and the rest is the head rush - enjoy the ride.

  40. Caroleena Valdez MILLER. Sit your ass down. HIT SEND. OMG. NOW. I will hear NO MORE OF THIS!!


  41. Okay, OKAY!! I'll do it. Sheesh. *Scuffs foot in the dirt* Off I go.

    Thanks for your support, guys. <3

  42. I don't know your writing, so I can't say anything about that.

    However. You're focusing on the wrong thing. Your focusing on what people will think, how many rejections you'll get, and how crushed you'll be when you get them. All of that may or may not be true.

    But what you should be focusing on is the next book. Not this one - this one is as good as you can make it, and it's time to let go, and move on. You have another book waiting, right? Go to the post office, drop those envelopes in the mail, and all the way there and back focus on the next book. The book that will knock everyone's socks off, even if this one doesn't.

    Send off your queries, and get back to writing. That's the important part. :-)

  43. Um...that second "your" should be "you're"... *eyeroll*


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