Thursday, May 8, 2014

When Words Run Dry

If there's such a thing as "writer's block", then there's such a thing as "blogger's block".  And, honestly, when a blog's been around for as long as this one has (6 years and counting!), you're in constant danger of repeating yourself.

Hence the silence this week.  It's not a good week for an in-house critique, since our next Secret Agent contest runs next week.  And nothing has been clawing at my heart, begging to be expressed here.

So, as usual, I'm turning to the raw-and-real me, and telling it like it is.  In short, I have nothing to say.

I have no new words of wisdom this week for those of you on your querying journey.

I have no spontaneous words of encouragement for those of you who are weary in your journey.  (And yes, it really does work that way--words of encouragement spring to my heart and I share them.  I love when that happens.)

I have no ridiculous stories about Mr. A to share (though, to be honest, it wouldn't be hard to come up with one; like, this morning he was snoring while I was putting my make-up on, so I took a video of him on his iPhone.  He hasn't seen it yet...).

And, most of all, I have no good news to share.  So many of you have been pulling for me, cheering me on, offering kind, I-can't-wait-until-you-announce-that-big-sale words.  Often along the way, I have been compelled to keep pressing forward BECAUSE OF YOU.  Because you're watching, and because I never, never want to be an example to anyone of GIVING UP.

Maybe you don't realize how profound that is.  How much of a FORCE you are, collectively, in my life as a writer.

Now you know.

Apparently, it's been a strangely silent late-winter-into-early-spring for many authors.  As in, long bouts without responses from agents or editors.  Everyone knows that silence is part of the game (an infuriating part, but there you have it).  It never comes as a shock or an affront, but it does wear on us, yes?  Anyone who has ever queried or received requests for fulls or been on submission with editors KNOWS WHAT I MEAN.

At first, I thought the Extra Silence was my own experience.  But evidently it's not.  It's not a big deal--it is what it is.  But regardless of staying busy with another project (I am) and maintaining an even keel (I have been), it still nips and pulls at frayed ends of my emotions when I least expect it to.  Like a big, dark hole that I have to keep side-stepping.

"Careful.  Don't fall into the gaping hole."

You can't build a bridge over it, because then you'll just be tempted to hang over the edge and try to see the bottom.  (You won't be able do.)

You can't defy everything and jump in, because then it will SWALLOW YOU WHOLE, and you won't be able to function.  (You especially won't be able to write.)

The only thing you CAN do is to ignore it.  It won't go away (it's a big hole), but it WILL STOP BOTHERING YOU.  It's counterintuitive for anyone who's emotionally aware enough to understand that MOST problems WILL NOT GO AWAY IF YOU IGNORE THEM to do this.  Right?

But this is different.  This Silence isn't really a problem.  It's just a thing.  And we have to ignore it in order to keep pressing forward.

Anyway.  I'm busy ignoring the Big Hole.  And it seems that, in sharing this, I've ended up with some words after all.

Blogging can be so cathartic!


  1. When I hit a wall of silence, I don't fight it. (Okay, maybe for an hour or two.) I get up, hook a leash to my dog's collar and go for a walk. A walk in the park often removes the stress blocking my mind.

    Take care.

  2. Authoress, have you ever considered doing posts from your archives to fill in silent weeks? I see a lot of blogs doing it, and it's kind of nice for your new-ish readers to get the greatest hits. :)

    I hope some good news come your way soon! I'm also on submission and the silence is deafening!

  3. Suzanne, that's a GREAT idea! I do have some older posts that I'd like newer readers to see (I sometimes forget that my readership isn't static). Thanks for the suggestion! :)

  4. Authoress, you often seem to be writing just for me. Yes, the silence... Yes, it's not a problem--just a thing.

    The funny thing is, odinarily, I like silence--except in the publishing world ;) Time for some Simon and Garfunkel on my playlist.

    And yes, Suzanne's idea is ace!

  5. This is why I'm convinced writers drink (or at least metaphorically...for me it's Diet Mountain Dew). I knew this would be a solitary journey when I hung up my other "work" shoes to pursue writing, but I'm pleased to find I'm not alone. Hanging in there...with a lotta help from you and my friends.

  6. The silence is very hard. I have a project in with my agent that needs to go out on submission to publishers, but she's had a really tough time of it these past 2 months in her personal life. The waiting is hard, the silence deafening, and I know I need to work on my next project, but waiting on tinter hooks stifles my creativity. It's a hang-up I've been trying to get over, but it is what it is.

  7. I used to think nothing was worse than collecting rejection letters.

    Wrong. With so many agents and publishers now in the "no response means no" mode, it's like everything you put out there is being dropped down a deep well. I'd rather have rejection letters, especially a letter that told me how I could improve.

  8. I know you said you had no spontaneous words of encouragement, but I found hit post very encouraging. I'm a querying writing currently wading through the Silence, and it's nice to know I'm not alone. I find it really hard to write when I'm waiting, but like you said, Silence isn't a problem. I'll try not to read too far into it and get some work done. Thanks!

  9. Oh, man. I thought the long silence was just me. I was getting quick responses late last year, but since I started querying this spring, it's been like swimming through corn syrup. I'm glad (and sorry) to know I have company in the waiting zone.

  10. Anon -- Thank you so much for sharing that. :)

    Michael -- I was actually going to quote part of the Sounds of Silence, but upon reflection, felt like it was a bit too morose! :)

  11. we all need a little help from our friends...
    That silence- there with you.

  12. Like a big, dark hole that I have to keep side-stepping. "Careful. Don't fall into the gaping hole." -- THIS! EXACTLY THIS!

    Thanks, Authoress. On a day when you had "no spontaneous words of encouragement", I spontaneously feel very encouraged.