My Writing Process Blog Hop

The awesome Jamie Dodson has chosen me to participate in a blog hop on my writing process. Jamie writes these excellent books on a teenage pilot set a few years before World War II. His post on his process, and his Nick Grant books, can be found here, so check it out!

As for the hop, I have a few questions to answer, so here it goes:

1. What are you working on at the moment?

I don’t like talking about WIPs much. I guess I think I’ll jinx it or something, but I will say this much. Right now I’m writing a dark YA contemporary. And when I say dark, I mean dark. When my MC, Nate, was fourteen, he shot and killed his neo-nazi father in self-defense. Now he has to live with the repercussions of his decision and figure out how to move on. This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. Both because of the research, which makes me feel so skeezy (of all the topics I’ve researched for stories, bruising patterns, torture devices, etc., this has been the only one coffee shop internet has banned the sites) and because the things I have to actually write. As difficult as it is to write, though, I feel like it hits on some important topics.

2. How do you think your work differs from other writers in your genre?

Oh man, this is a tough one because I don’t stay squarely in one genre. I’ve flitted from MG adventure, to urban fantasy, to sci-fi, to contemporary thriller, to dark contemporary. The only really consistent theme is that my writing gets pretty dark and is very fast-paced but descriptive. (In fact, I’m having to really focus on slowing the pace in the WIP). I also like to throw in weird twists. I came up with a more typical contemporary plot several months ago. When I told Hubby the story idea he made a face and said “that doesn’t quite sound like a Sarah book.” I tried writing it and he was right. It was too straight for me. I need little unexpected curves and turns at the end, or it just doesn’t work.

3. Why do you write what you write?

I write the stories that pop into my head, which is apparently a kind of twisted place. My favorite books growing up were mysteries, ghost stories, scary things. Agatha Christie and Carolyn Keene and Stephen King and R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey. These are my influences, the twisty, less-than-normal, mysterious stories. These are the types of stories that stuck in my head and affect the way my own words come out. I tend to write the things you don’t see, the world’s underbelly, the things that happen in the dark. Hidden worlds and thieves and secret government torture chambers and hackers and hate. I’ve mentioned that I’m afraid of the dark, so I like to draw the dark things out of their corners and bring them into the light. Shapes have a way of shifting in the light. I like exposing the monster that’s really just a coat hanging from the door.

4. What is your writing process, and how does it work?

My process breaks down into eight steps that I like to refer to as the Rinse and Repeat cycle.

1. I get an idea. A vague premise. My WIP idea came from an actual news story headline. I tuck these ideas in a folder in Evernote and come back to them when I finish whatever manuscript I’m working on when the idea hits. I take each vague idea and think about how the character got to that place and where they’re going and why. If an idea grips me and won’t let go, I write a query. I like to write the query first, when the plot is simple, before it gets muddied with side plots and secondary characters. Now that I have an agent, this has become a critical step. If I feel strongly about something, I’ll just send that one with a “hey, this is where I think I’m going next.” Otherwise, I write queries for a few ideas and send them to her for her thoughts. Last time, she really liked two different ideas. I couldn’t choose, so I decided to give them both a shot and see what stuck. The first is the story I mentioned in question 2. It didn’t work, so I moved on to the next one.

2. When I settle on an idea, I start with a synopsis to figure out what actually happens. I know “synopsis” is a frightening word. Trust me, I know. But mine isn’t meant for other eyes. Half the time I don’t even have a character name, it’s just “girl” or “dude.” I’m not a plotter, but I need something to provide structure to work from. The times I’ve taken off without any sort of guide ended disastrously. And that’s all this is, a loose structure that I typically end up deviating from when I start writing.

3. Then I write the first chapter. If the story and the character’s voice grab me, I keep going. If I hit 5,000 to 10,000 words and still love the character, I keep going. If it’s not working–the voice is inconsistent, or the story doesn’t flow–I stop and move on to the next idea. Seriously, I have too many ideas to waste time on the ones that aren’t working.

4. I have an amazingly awesome CP who I’ve been working with since my second manuscript. We swap a few chapters at a time as we write. So I’ll write a chapter or two, send it to her, she’ll critique and I’ll edit, then move on to the next chapter, rinse and repeat. I’m in a couple other critique groups that work this way too. I’ve learned I don’t do well with waiting for feedback until I finish the whole manuscript. I tend to get overwhelmed at the amount of work I have to do, and I get locked in on certain things I’ve already written, so it works better for me to edit as I go.

5. When I hit about 15,000 words, I’ll send it to my agent. She’s very editorial, which I love and is one of the main reasons I wanted to work with her. Her ideas are brilliant. I like to get her input before I get too deep in the manuscript because, like I said, revisions are hard. When she read the beginning of my previous WIP she thought it started in the wrong place and wouldn’t get seen in the current market, so I revised and ended up with a much stronger book. If I’d waited, I would’ve had a lot of extra work ahead of me. As it was, I just had to re-do the beginning and the rest flowed from there.

6. When I finish the whole thing, I get it printed at a local shop (300 some odd pages is a lot to print at home! It’s $15 and the print shop lady is super sweet). I read things differently on paper than I do on a computer. The tangibleness of paper makes the story more real. I edit on paper, type up the changes, and send to a couple beta readers. At least two. If they’re opinions are consistent, I revise, if they’re different, I get a third reader, then go with my gut. This is done as many times as necessary to get the best book I can write. Rinse and repeat. I print again, make any final minor tweaks and send to my agent.

7. My agent reads and lets me know if she thinks anything else should be added/removed/changed, we talk through the changes, I edit, and resubmit.

8. Final step, take a day or two to breathe and recharge, then start all over. Rinse and repeat.

If you want to read more about my process, how I find beta readers, how I tweak, etc. I wrote a couple other posts on these specific topics: Is Your Manuscript Ready? 10 Tips to Help Figure it Out; Beta Relationships; and Who’s Your Critic?

So, that’s it. That’s my process! I’m supposed to pass this along to two other writers, but I only have one because I’m a rebel.

Jill Van Den Eng is an author and journalist with a keen interest in the extraordinary tales of ordinary people. She earned a BA in journalism and returned to her hometown of Kaukauna, WI as a city news reporter. The city with a river dividing it left an impact, inspiring the setting in Van Den Eng’s debut YA novel, DIVIDED MOON.

In addition to writing, Van Den Eng enjoys reading YA and popular fiction, running, solving puzzles and getting outside. She is a master gardener who keeps an herb and vegetable garden outside her home office and a novice astronomer with a really big telescope.

Van Den Eng lives in Wisconsin with her husband, three sons, two lazy cats and one evil hamster. Check out her blog and read about her process at Jilly’s Book Blog.

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Let’s Talk Career Direction

Want to be published? Want your book out in the world to be read by a bunch of strangers? If you’re serious about writing, then the answer is probably, “Uh, yeah. Duh.” Sure we love the stories we craft and we love the act of writing itself, but the point (for most at least) is that other people read and enjoy that writing. *Okay, so how do you do it?

Well, there’s a tricky question. Back in the day, it used to be easy. Take it to a publisher. If it’s good they’d publish it. Then publishers got too busy and too big, they had too many submissions rolling in to address them all.  Enter agents. Gatekeepers of sorts. Today, most publishers don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts–meaning it has to come through an agent. If you look at the “Big Six,” Hachettte Book Group, HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, and Random House all require a literary agent. MacMillan and Penguin do not. (It will be interesting to see which way Random Penguin goes–yes, I will always call it that). Smaller and indie presses, like Dalkey Archive PressPress 53, Entangled and Month9Books don’t require an agent, but having one can get your manuscript read sooner. There are also publishers like Angry Robot and it’s imprint Strange Chemistry that have open submission windows for unrepresented authors once a year (please note that AR and SC’s links go to last year’s open door. They haven’t announced one for 2013 yet).

So what does this mean? Basically, if you want to publish traditionally, you should look into getting an agent. If your dream, like mine, is to see your book on shelves in major stores, an agent is the way to go. It is almost impossible to get a store like Barnes and Noble to shelve your books if you self-publish or go with a tiny publisher.

But.

If you don’t care about that. If you just want your book published and out in the world, there are a lot of other options. Musa Publishing, for example, is an e-book only press if you still want the backing of a house. OnStage Publishing is a small press that produces both print and e-books. Or, you can self-publish. Amazon and Create Space are frequently used formats for self-publishing e-books. The problem with them, though, is the volume of self-pubbed books they have available. How do you make yours stand out? How do you ensure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?

This can also be a matter of concern if you go to a small press. Small publishers may not have the time or money to market your book. You may have to do most, and in some cases all, of the legwork. This means literally going to stores and libraries and begging for your books to be shelved, school visits, blog tours, websites, tweets, Facebook–getting a presence online and in the real world. Online, obviously, is more important for e-books. For every self-published e-book that makes it big (I mean Amanda Hocking and, yes, E.L. James big), there are millions of others that are barely read.

There’s something else to think about if your long term goal is seeing your books on shelves in major stores. If you have already published on a small scale, low sales numbers could scare potential agents and big houses away. I’m not saying it definitely will, an excellent book is an excellent book, but there’s always that chance. So I caution you to think about that if your plan is to start small and go bigger.

It boils down to this: where do you want your career to go? There is no right or wrong way. Each person has their own path and what works for one may not work well for another. Timid and shy people (like me) may have a hard time self-promoting, they may need the marketing of publishing house, or an agent backing them. Outgoing folks may be able to market up a storm.

My recommendation? Imagine your book. Dream as big as you want. Do you see it on shelves in big stores? Do you see it on the top of Amazon’s e-book list? Do you see it in local libraries and in the hands of friends and family? Whatever it is, go do it. Query agents if that’s the route you want to go, or hire an editor and self-publish, or send it out to those small publishers. It doesn’t matter how big the dream is. Go make it happen.

I leave you with the song that’s been playing in my head as I wrote this post. Runnin’ Down a Dream. Now quit procrastinating on the internet and chase that dream!

*This is by no means an all inclusive guide to publishing, and doesn’t even come close to listing all the publishers out there. I intend this as something to get you thinking and maybe highlight some options or issues you hadn’t previously considered. Do your research. Google is your friend!

For Those of You Playing Along at Home

Round 1.2 of Cupid’s Blind Speed Date contest started yesterday (i.e. the second 50 entries were posted for the Bouncers to weed out).  Just because I thought it was fun to play agent, and because I thought you might be curious, here are this week’s stats:

Me:

Of 50 entries, I said yes to 17, maybe to 7, straight up no to 17, and was split on 9.  Of my picks:

The first Bouncer put through 5 yeses, 1 no, and 3 splits

The second Bouncer put through 6 yeses, 1 maybe, 1 no, and 2 splits

The third Bouncer put through 6 yeses, 2 maybes, 5 nos, and 3 splits

The fourth Bouncer put through 9 yeses, 2 nos, and 3 split.

Two Bouncers agreed on 7 entries (3 yeses, 1 no, 3 splits), 3 Bouncers agreed on 1 entry (yes), and a whopping 4 Bouncers agreed on 2 entries (2 yeses).  So 33 entries have been put through to the next round.  This time there are only 3 I gave a yes that haven’t been put through.

If I were to play agent again, I would automatically reject 19 for not being YA.  Of the remaining 31, I would outright reject 7.  Based on the query, I’d reject 8.  The maybes would be rejected so that’s another 6.  That leaves 10, and considering the same factors as last time I’d probably request 5.  Remarkable how I ended up with the same number.  5 out of 50.

As it stands, 65 out of 100 have been put through to the next round.  In Round 2, twelve agents will be considering these entries.  I’m going to toss out a guess on how many of the 65 receive requests and say…20 will be requested by next Friday.

Tune in next week for the exciting (ha!) conclusion!

(By the way, if you haven’t guessed, I’m a total nerd when it comes to making lists, so yes, I have all of these in a color-coded spreadsheet.  And yes, my closet is arranged by color and by style, i.e. from white to black: short sleeved, 3/4 sleeved, and long sleeved shirts, then dresses in the same manner, then pants.  Yeah, I’m weird).

My “Cheers”

While I’ve been writing for a while, I only recently (like in the last year) joined the writing community.  I guess I always knew there was a one hanging out there somewhere, there’s a group or community for everything these days, but it never occurred to me that I, as a writer, was, or could be, part of it (don’t you love all the commas in that sentence!).  I dove in when a co-worker who has a great book published with a local publisher invited me to his critique group.  Through the group, I’ve met some wonderfully talented local authors and gotten excellent feedback on my own work.  That same co-worker/friend also told me about the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, which opened a world of conferences, contests, and other opportunities of which I was previously unaware.  I discovered the Absolute Write forums through a website that provided query letter guidance.  Eventually I stumbled across blogs and other writing websites.

I write this to say, the writing community amazes me.  It’s a relatively small world.  In relation to the rest of the population there really aren’t that many people who are serious about writing.  The actual publishing community is even smaller.  You’d think such a competitive field would be just that, competitive.  You’d think people would be reluctant to help one another because the query you just critiqued might be one an agent picks over yours.

But it’s not.  It’s one of the most encouraging, helpful, supportive groups I’ve ever encountered outside of church, and certainly from strangers.  There are people I’ve never met, and probably never will meet, who are willing to take time out of their busy lives to help me become a better writer, or draft the perfect query letter, or synopsis.  When one person gets a rejection, everyone is sad.  When one gets an offer or contract, everyone celebrates.  I know there are a few sour grapes here and there, but I’ve yet to encounter them.  On the whole, the writing community is warm and friendly and I’ve been thoroughly impressed.  It’s like walking into “Cheers”.  Everyone is glad to see you.  (Norm!)

For example, I recently entered a writing contest.  Another entrant sent me a message letting me know she also entered and asking if we wanted to help each other.  We exchanged excerpts and critiqued each others’ work, tightening the language, etc.  When we swapped back, we wished each other good luck and each promised to keep the other updated as the contest progresses, and genuinely meant it.  I believe in my work, but hers was really good too.  I wouldn’t be upset if her work beat mine out (disappointed I didn’t make it, yes, but in no way bitter or anything).  In fact, I’d be pretty proud to say “I ‘know’ her!”

In this time of sucky economy and high competition for jobs and with the seemingly grim future for paper and ink books, it’s refreshing that people still work together like this.  I find myself pondering why.  The chances of getting published are like a bazillion to one and it seems every book that gets a contract means there’s another book, or several, that won’t.  Yet, the majority of writers work together.

When I really sit down and think about it, I think every time a colleague makes it, it gives the rest of us hope.  If they can, someone we “know”, then we can too!  I also think it comes down to loving what you do.  I love to write, but I also love to read.  I’ve read some fantastic works on the AW forums.  Works I want to read more of.  Members generally only post a chapter or two, or maybe even a paragraph they’re struggling with, but sometimes that’s enough to hook me.  Enough for me to care about the character and want to know their story.  (As a side note, you’d be surprised the number of published authors who hung out at AW before they got their deals or who currently hang out there.  It’s really an excellent place for assistance from people who know what they’re doing).

I’m lucky to be part of such a great community and I hope my “friends” get published so I can read more of their stories, and so they can get the recognition they deserve.  What other professions can truly say that?  (Not many).

Just Do It

Whenever non-writers find out that I wrote I book, I typically get the same reaction: “Oh wow, you wrote a book?  I could never write a book.”  Lately, this has been bugging me more and more.  Not to sound self-righteous or anything, because believe me, I’m not.  Like the majority of writers I know, I’m extraordinarily self-deprecating.  My husband fusses at me all the time for saying negative things about myself.  That being said, I just don’t think writing a book is that amazing of a feat.

Anyone can write a book.  Writing a good book?  Well, that’s another story.  Writing a great book is much harder.  Getting published? That’s a completely different ballgame altogether.  But writing?  You just have to have the desire.

I wrote my first book a few years ago.  I’d intended to write others in the past, had started several, but never progressed past the first few chapters.  I didn’t sit down with the plan to write a book.  I sat down with an idea for a story and started typing.  Next thing I knew, I had 10,000 words, then 30,000, then, 50,000.  Then I decided to do some research to see how many words a first book was supposed to be.  The answer I found (which turned out to not be entirely correct) was 80,000-100,000.  Before I knew it, I had 96,000 words.  (That particular book has now been cut down to 84,000 and shelved for now.  I’m sure when I start revising again that will go down even more).

Now, I can understand not having the time to write.  I wrote that first one in a three month span between taking the Bar exam and receiving the results when I had nothing else to do.  But then again, I can’t.  I wrote my most recent book (a 78,000 word Young Adult) even though I have a full time day job.  If you still think don’t have time, start small.  Aim for 50,000 words.  That’s a typical middle grade novel.  Or write a children’s book.  If you want to write, you make the time.

I’ve heard others claim they just weren’t creative enough to write a book.  So write non-fiction.  Write a cookbook.  Write short stories or poetry.  Write a blog.  Still others have claimed they just aren’t good writers.  That may be the case, or maybe you haven’t given yourself the chance.  You never know until you try.  Plus, there are lots of places on the internet, like Absolute Write, where you can post your work anonymously and get feedback and help.  Or join a local writer’s group.  I do both and I can’t tell you how much my writing has improved since getting help from other writers, and I considered myself a pretty good writer to start with. (Again, not tooting my own horn…okay maybe a little…but I’ve always excelled in my writing courses and spent the first few years of my legal career doing nothing but writing appellate briefs.  It’s one area I’m pretty confident in my ability).

When I started writing fiction, I had no idea how to space things, or how to structure dialog.  I didn’t realize how  weak adverbs made my writing, or how vague I could sometimes be.  It’s easy to forget that although you know exactly what you’re talking about, others can’t see inside your head.  I must say, being on the trial team in law school also helped tremendously in this area.  For example, we were told to bring a picture to class, then had to describe that picture to our classmates without letting them see it.  Once we were done, we showed the picture and our classmates told us whether or not they got the correct image in their head.  Conveying images through words is a valuable skill in the courtroom, but I highly recommend this exercise for anyone who wants to write as well.  My point is, there are resources you can use to improve your writing, so don’t let the concern that you’re not good enough keep you from trying.

I can see where writing a book might be a challenge to someone with a learning disability, such as dyslexia, or someone with chronic health problems.  I can even see the challenge for a book that requires extensive research.  But, I know people who have overcome all of these mountains and more and written books.  Full time students and stay at home moms, retirees and those in the work force.  It doesn’t have to be done in a month or two, it doesn’t even have to be done in a year.  It just has to be done.

If you’re one of those people who is in awe of someone who can write an entire book, don’t be.  Be in awe of the good books, the great books, the published books, but always keep in mind that just writing something isn’t that big a deal.  You can do it too.  You could even write something good, or great, or published.  You just have to try.

Just Wants

The other day I found myself thinking about my goals and caught myself saying “I just want to be published.”  I immediately stopped what I was doing and scolded myself firmly.  Just Wants are dangerous things.  They creep up when you’re least expecting them and lure you into a false sense of simplicity.  It’s a trap all of us fall into.  “I just want (insert want here)”.

See, the thing is, there is no one Just Want (yes, I am personifying it.  I picture a Just Want as a small, somewhat fluffy creature with big dough eyes.  It looks so adorable you just have to pet it, but then it opens it’s mouth and you drop it on the floor.  It’s gaping, impossibly large, maw lined with rows of razor sharp teeth, ready to ensnare you).  You may think something like: “I just want five minutes of peace and quiet” or  “I just want my car to run smoothly” or even “I just want to help people.”  But that’s not true.  Not at all.  You don’t just want peace and quiet, et. al.  You also want the those around you to understand what you’re going through, to be sympathetic to your plight, to make things easier on you.  To take it another step further, you also want to be warm, well-fed, comfortable, clothed, the list goes on and on.

I am an insomniac.  It’s a mix of staying up late reading under the covers with a flashlight (or light up troll doll after my dad took my flashlights away) and genetics (my dad, his sister, his mom, my brother, we all have a hard time sleeping).  It sucks because I love to sleep.  When wide awake at three in the morning after hours of tossing and turning, I frequently sigh in frustration, or sometimes through tears if I have to be awake at five-thirty and travel or something, and proclaim “I just want to sleep!”  Even that statement is usually followed with a string of disclaimers, like there’s some genie in a bottle somewhere listening, looking for loopholes to slip my wish through.  “I mean I want to sleep soon.  Like in the next few minutes.  And wake up rested.  And wake up on time.  And not have a bad day because I didn’t fall asleep early enough.”  So, I don’t just want to sleep.  I want lots of things.

And I don’t just want to be published.  I also want to make enough money to support writing full time.  And I want people to like my books.  And I want to connect with readers.  And I want to inspire people.  There’s a whole string of “ands” from that one statement.  Not to mention that I want all of the comforts I already mentioned (food, water, shelter, etc).

I think one danger of Just Wants is: what happens when we don’t get it?  If you trick yourself into thinking that’s the only thing you want in the world, the only thing that matters, it’s a lot more soul crushing when you don’t get it.  For a long time I Just Wanted to be a veterinarian.  When vet school didn’t work out, my world caved in.  I had no other goal.  That was it.  The one thing I’d wanted since I was four.  It was a lot harder to pick up the pieces and figure out what to do next.  I’ve always wanted to be an author too; I’ve mentioned before,  I believe, that I wanted to write books about being a vet.  (I say author because anyone can be a writer, you just have to write.  In my mind, authors are published.  It’s not exactly an industry definition or anything, but it’s my personal differentiation).  But I don’t Just Want to be an author.  There are other things I want in life as well (happy, healthy, wise).  So my world doesn’t revolve around that one thing.  It’s kind of freeing, actually.  To know that the world won’t end if I don’t obtain my goal.

Another danger of Just Wants is that we think we’re easy to please.  We just want one little thing, right?  But that’s exactly what the Just Want wants you to think.  It’s just sitting there, looking cute and fluffy, with its Precious Moments eyes, waiting for you to pick it up.  We don’t want to admit that there are actually a ton of things we want.  We feel guilty (or at least I do) because there are people whose Just Wants include clean water and a safe place to sleep.  But pretending doesn’t really do much for us.  We should just admit that there are a lot of things we want.  It’s okay.  For me, going through the list of things I Just Want makes me appreciate the things I have.

Besides, there’s a lot of good that can come out of not getting the things we Just Want.  My best story ideas come when I can’t sleep.  In light of the season, when people are asking you what you want for Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate, think about your list of Just Wants and be honest with yourself (as well as being grateful for the things you already have), and see if it doesn’t free you up a little bit.

Marathon

The New York City Marathon was this past Sunday.  My best friend lives in NYC and was a volunteer and let me just say, I don’t envy her at all working outside in the cold all morning!  I couldn’t imagine running a marathon.  Other than the fact I despise cold weather, I’m not a runner.  I’ve tried, but I find just running immensely boring.  I played softball, basketball and volleyball growing up, so it’s not like I never ran.  My running just had a purpose.

A good friend of mine runs ultra marathons.  The 100 mile sort.  Yeah, I know, he’s crazy.  Last week he ran from Gulf Shores, Alabama to the Tennessee line to raise money for tornado relief.  That’s 376 miles!  Around 50 miles per day, except for the last day which was shorter.  He still hasn’t completely gotten the feeling back in his feet yet.  (He raised a lot of money for Habitat for Humanity though.  The website is still up at Alabama Relief Run for anyone who wants to donate.)

While thinking about how crazy these marathon runners are, I realized that I’m running my own sort of marathon.  Writing isn’t a short jog to the mailbox or even a sprint up and down a basketball court.  It’s an ultra marathon.  When you write a book, you’re in for the long haul.

Like most people who sit down to write a novel, I didn’t realize at first what an intensive process it really is.  You don’t just pound out a book, send it off to a publisher, and see it on shelves in a few months.  There’s so much more to it than that; of course those of you who are also going through the publication quest already know this.  You write, then re-write, then edit, then draft a query, then rework the query (countless times until you think you have it right), then find agents and submit, then wait, and wait.  Sometimes you’ll get requests for partials or fulls, and then you wait some more.  The lucky ones who get an offer of representation then go through more edits with their agent.  More queries to editors, looking for publishers.  More edits.  Even after you get a publisher it takes a while for the book to actually come out.  In the meantime you’re going through the process all over again with another book, and another, and another.

Like a marathon runner, you train and train for the race.  Then you run and run and run and try to be at the front of the pack, and if you’re lucky, you win.  Win or lose, however, the marathon doesn’t stop when the race is over.  You take a deep breath, then train for the next one, and the next.  I may think my runner friends are crazy, but am I any different?  The odds of getting a book published, I would imagine, are like the odds of winning a marathon.  But that doesn’t stop us from running.

I’m just starting my marathon, but I plan to run it for life.  If the book I’m currently querying doesn’t get published, I’ll just write another.  Better.  If my query doesn’t work, I’ll re-write it.  I’ll keep trying and who knows?  Maybe one day I’ll win.