Sunday, January 30, 2011

Trying to Wind Down

Today marks the culmination of a crazy but productive week. I spent the past two weeks editing my novel for the agent who requested a resubmission, and yesterday I headed to E's office for 5 hours to finish up the edits. Today I emailed it in, so we'll see what happens! I've also finally gone through my list of 400 agents, chosen the top 45, and this week I'm going to narrow it down to the top 25, and hopefully start sending out queries in the next few days. I entered the Amazon contest too, cuz you never know. I think I've done just about all I can for this book (or I will have after I send out the rest of the queries) and then hopefully in a couple of weeks I can move on to book #5.
On the job front, things aren't looking too good. No word from Nat Geo, and the VA thing appears to have fallen through. So it would be really, really great if the whole book thing worked out! I signed Jack up to start at a Jewish preschool two days a week this fall, which will give me more time to write (if I haven't given up completely by then). I also got pulled over on the way to interview at said preschool, which was super fun. Jack is going to a playgroup every Monday for the next six weeks or so, John stayed home on Friday and we took him to story time at the library, and the little guy is getting better at walking every day. This week we have playdates with two other moms on top of the playgroup. I really am making an effort to do more mom things now that I'm not working.
In better job news, John passed the essay portion of the Foreign Service exam!!! He'll go to orals in March and then we'll find out if he's made it in. Obviously that will be a major determining factor in what happens to us over next say, 20 years.
I realize this post is all over the place. And reading about what is going on in my life kind of explains why. I'm also watching a terrible movie on TV, which is extremely distracting! Hopefully things will wind down a little this week and I'll be able to breathe. January is almost over, and I'm happy with the progress I've made, but it will be a miracle if John and I don't self destruct one of these days.
Is everyone this busy??

Monday, January 24, 2011


Okay, so it's a slight backslide, but nevertheless... I completely forgot to blog yesterday! Probably because we were busy all day - work out in the morning, lunch with friends, FINALLY got to see Black Swan, then a play date for Jack, dinner, and we made an attempt to get to bed early because we were out late Friday night getting drinks with friends, and Saturday we had friends over so it was another late night. I'm exhausted but we did have a fun weekend.
Today John has his "audition" for the Presidential Management Fellowship. If nothing else it will be good practice for the Foreign Service orals, assuming his essays qualify him. I'm praying that he makes it that far at least - he certainly deserves it, and he'll be crushed if he doesn't. So fingers crossed for him today, and over the upcoming weeks.
Last week I was productive with editing and continuing through my ridiculous querying list. I've got upwards of 30 agents to query so far, and I still have several more pages to slog through. Next step: picking out the top 25 and getting everything ready to query. On Saturday E and I are getting together for an epic editing session. I will hopefully finish all my edits then and be ready to re-query the agent who asked for a resubmission next week. And I'm debating entering the Amazon contest this year. I'm worried it could come back to haunt me on the off-chance that I a) am a finalist and b) get an agent. Both things I really SHOULDN'T be worried about, but one never knows. I asked my fave blogger for her thoughts so we'll see what she says. The contest opened last night.
Meanwhile, still running my 20 miles a week. No progress on the new book but I've sort of put it on the back burner until I finish things with the last book. No word on jobs, which is just as well. I am checking out preschools though, which is a good things for next year, and trying to be as productive as possible on all fronts. So far so good. Right now I need to shower so I can take Jack to a playdate with some people I don't really know. I'm kind of nervous, but I know it will be good for Jack. I'm trying to be better about getting him involved in those kinds of activities now that I'm not working.
I think that's about it at the moment. Better run and shower before Jack wakes up. Here's hoping I have something interesting to report next week!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Still Going Strong

I am now two weeks into my New Year's resolutions and proud to say I'm still on track. Another 20 miles run, I've got about 14 agents on my list, and after meeting with S and E for coffee the other day, I'm feeling good about the new book. I've also decided to take an entire day (in two weeks) to make the edits to The Book Collector suggested to me by the agent last year. Once that's finished and my next batch of queries goes out, I'll be free to really dig in to the new book. In the meantime I'm doing research and compiling ideas. No news on the job front, but I'm okay with that right now. As long as I'm productive I can't be too hard on myself.
In other exciting news, Jack took his first steps two days ago! I realize things are about to get even more challenging, but I'm glad that he's on track. He also got tooth number 8 yesterday. I can't believe how big he's getting. And I'm afraid all that delicious chub is going to disappear soon. As much as it scares me to not be working, I do feel incredibly lucky to have been home with him for this long. I wouldn't have wanted to miss a moment.
John is out running right now and Jack is napping. I should probably be working but it's nice to have a quiet moment to myself. We have a three day weekend, which is so relaxing. Last week Jack was waking up between 3 and 5 a.m. every morning, but he finally started sleeping again. Phew! John and I had a really nice evening out last night, too, which we definitely needed. There is a lot to look forward to this year. I just really hope I can add "agent" to that list!

Monday, January 10, 2011

One Week In

It's been one week of New Year's Resolutions put to the test, and I'm happy to say that I'm passing, mostly. 20 miles - check! 20 pages - no. But I did do a lot of good research for the book and I'm getting excited about writing it, which is a big first step. I have a new job possibility that I'm excited about, and I've done some research about childcare. Yesterday I went shopping with my Christmas gift cards and got some great new clothes, which I'm excited about. I'm feeling better about my physical appearance, which is important for how I feel on the inside (maybe that's shallow, but it's true).
As for The Book Collector - no word from any agents, which is disappointing. I'm really hoping to hear from my two outstanding agents this week. The holidays are over and it's time they get back to me. Fingers crossed. I need to start my list of agents to query next month. I'm definitely planning on doing some research for that this week. And I think I'm going to start making those edits that the one agent suggested. It can't hurt. And since I'm not writing the new book quite yet, I really ought to do it. I was reading some blog in which an author posted that an agent suggested rewrites, she made them and a year later was represented by them. So perhaps it IS possible (I've been a little skeptical after what happened with agent J).
Another resolution that I forgot to mention is that I want to write on this blog at least once a week, so that's one more resolution I can give a "check" to :)
Off to work out before the bambino wakes up!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Goals

Happy 2011! We just got back from two weeks in Montana yesterday, so I'm a little behind on my resolutions, but at least I know what they are :) And now that I'm mostly unpacked, I'm feeling pretty good about things.
Not the book, but other things.
A quick book update: two rejections while I was gone, bringing the total to 11 rejections and 6 no responses, with 1 outstanding partial and 1 outstanding full. Both of those agents said they will try to get back to me as soon as possible (since it's been quite a while since I've heard from either of them) but who knows when that will be. In the meantime, I've come up with a few more ideas for the new book, and I'm going to be compiling a list of 25 more agents so I can start querying in a few weeks. I want to wait till around February to start, given that this tends to be a busy time of year for agents (and clearly sending out queries in November wasn't the best idea ever, since that batch of queries has yet to yield a single positive response).
Montana was good and bad, as I should have expected it to be. We arrived VERY late Sunday night, and John woke to the stomach flu (picked up at a birthday party on Saturday) on Monday morning. Tuesday he felt a little better and we were able to head to the national forest and cut down our tree, Custer, who was a little sparse according to some reports, but quite adorable if you ask John or me. On Wednesday morning I got the stomach flu, and I felt like I was going to die. My parents arrived Wednesday night, followed by Sarah on Thursday night. Friday was Christmas Eve, Saturday was Christmas, and Sunday was an open house that my mom threw for the people who helped with the house renovation. On Monday we could all finally breathe again.
Except that I had a cold. And on Sunday I poked myself in the eye with my hair brush so hard I thought my eye was permanently damaged. I was in horrible pain for 2 days before it finally got better. And the cold is STILL hanging around!
So aside from my health issues, it was nice to see my parents and I think they enjoyed spending time with Jack. Sarah and I had a HORRIBLE fight on Friday in which I said some things I am not entirely proud of, but we seem to have moved past it at least. We had a great time on Wednesday sledding in the national forest, and on Thursday John and I finally got to go out to dinner together, which was nice. Jack's sleeping left something to be desired, so the trip wasn't restful, exactly, but I'm glad we went.
I'm also very glad to be home.
So, now that I'm back and 2011 is well under way, I think it's time to list my goals so I have something to keep me in check during the coming months. Here is my 2011 list of resolutions:
1) Get an agent (not really something I have control over, but it will remain my #1 life goal until I have one)
2) Write book #5, completing an average of 20 pages per week
3) Run 20 miles per week (a good base for helping John with his 100 miler in June)
4) Worry less about the future (including money and things I have no control over, except getting an agent - see #1)
5) Try to be a better wife and mother (more patience, less squabbling, etc)
6) Send out 25 more query letters by mid-February (unless I get an agent before then, natch)
7) Be more organized at home (I'm going to Target this week to get the proper supplies)
8) Be the person I want to be; Live the life I want to live (if I don't like something, I'm going to fix it. If it can't be fixed, I'm movin' on!).

I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but this is a good start. Some of these things are obviously more tangible than others, which is nice, since I do love to cross things off of lists! The running and writing will have to start tomorrow, unfortunately, since I'm still getting organized from the trip. And I may need to do some more research before I can really start "writing" the next book (BDC, as I'll refer to it from now on). I really want 2011 to be a good year. I've survived the first year of motherhood, and now it's time to get a better handle on things. I feel like I've been sort of disorganized and now I need to put things in order. Speaking of which, I have photos to download and a child who wants a snack, so I'm off.
Happy New Year!