Monday, October 24, 2011

Excuses are like...well, you know

It's been over two months since we posted on the blog, and we apologize! But we have a very reasonable excuse--no, really, we do!--and we hope you continued to stay on task while we were away.

Back in August, after busy summer days faded into busy school days, Vivien and I realized we were...not exactly slacking, but not exactly moving ahead. The post RT high--you know, the "I've learned so much and I'm so excited about this MS, I have to get home and work on it now," thing had faded into, "Eh. Meh. I've still got time to finish editing before submitting."

So, in order to light a fire under are asses, we issued each other a challenge. Spend the month of September editing and submit our fulls to those requested by October 1st.

It really was a challenge for us. We are both business owners and, in addition to being extremely busy with our businesses, we also had to edit 100 pages a week for three weeks straight, then do a final read through the fourth week before submitting.

Did we make it?

Well, yes and no.

Vivien did. *round of applause*


I was almost finished editing when I realized something I couldn't put my finger on it though, so I figured it was just my nerves. I finished editing and submitted to a few agents. Got a few requests. Got rejections, and finally a little feedback from one agent who responded after reading my partial. The verdict--there was something off, and she nailed it on the head.

So, I've spent the month of October re-writing parts of my MS. Even though it seemed daunting at the beginning, I'm glad I made the changes. I have a much stronger story, with stronger characters.

But I'm kicking myself because I KNEW something was off and sent it out anyway. I made an excuse. An excuse I should have never allowed myself.

Now, there are real excuses: I may not have this ready for submission by Nov. 1st, which is when I'd like to start submitting, because it's harvest season. This excuse is totally legit. Totally. It's our busiest time of year. My husband is often working until anywhere from 11 pm to 2 am. I not only help him farm, but I also get the pleasure of running the kids around to their activities and cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry without the help of my husband. The only reason I've come as far as I have over the month of October is because it's rained so much. [If you want to check out my role on the farm, visit my personal blog]

Everyone in our critique group is participating in NaNoWriMo this year. (It's great fun, so be sure to join!) I may not make my goal. My excuse? Not only will I be in Houston for six days for Story Masters (A seminar given by true story masters James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler, and Donald Maass), I will also be completing a two week training session for my new job.

My excuse is a good one--I'll be gone or working full time for the majority of November, while my husband is still farming. BUT!!! I'm not letting my 'excuse' get in the way of my goal. I will try my hardest to write 50,000 words in the month of November. But if I don't? Well, as long as I know I tried my best, I'll be satisfied.

What I'm not satisfied with is not listening to the warnings I gave myself about my MS before I submitted. Some of the agents I submitted to allow authors to resubmit after revising. Some don't. I blew my chance with a few agents I adore because I made an excuse.

So, be honest. Have you allowed yourself excuses you shouldn't have? What are some legit excuses you've had to make?