I have made nothing in the last month. This isn’t due to Covid or depression, though the former has led to a bit of the latter. It isn’t because of college, where I’ve put in the least effort in one quarter that I have since high school. I simply haven’t made anything for myself over the last month.
In simple terms, the reason I haven’t done so is because I’m querying. For those who don’t know much about the traditional publishing process, querying is when you send a letter to a shit-ton of literary agents in the hopes that one of them likes it enough to request your manuscript. I’ve gotten to this step a few times already, which is honestly decent because many people never get that far. Then, you have to hope that they like your manuscript enough to sign you on as one of their clients. That’s where I’m at right now. This is a process that you have virtually no control over and one which contains very little feedback. The majority of agents, when they reject you, will either never even respond, or will respond by saying something like “I just didn’t love the voice as much as I wanted to.” Great, glad to know you weren’t personally into the prose/characters/setting/tense/who even knows; it doesn’t help me! Not that I blame them, they’re busy people and can’t afford to give every schmuck detailed critique, but it’s not particularly enjoyable to go through as an author. At what point do I pull my manuscript and revise it again in the hopes that it’s better? That’s hard to say!
So, yeah, it’s pretty frustrating. What’s worse is that, because it could take an indefinite period of time, I can’t work on my next novel. Assuming this novel gets me signed and I don’t have to revise it again before that happens (an assumption so large you could see it from Alpha Centauri), then, after signing, I will have to go through one or more (probably more) rounds of revision, then go on submission to publishers, a similarly uncontrollable situation, and then go through more revisions. If I were to be signed soon, my novel would probably be published early 2022, on the optimistic end, and that’s, once again, assuming I get published at all. Given that, I can’t exactly devote my full time to my next novel. It would be years away at that point, so while I’m planning it and am reading other books to prepare for writing it, I can’t put any words to the page.
But making things, especially in the written form, is a pretty major aspect of my self-expression. I’d be disappointed by my failure to do so of late no matter what the reason, but it’s an especially big problem given how much is happening. I’m basically done being an anime fan instead of a media fan who likes anime! My YouTube channel and Patreon are undergoing major changes(more on this soon)! I’ve converted to Christianity! You’d think the feelings that all of these experiences have dug up would be worth putting into art, and you’d be right. The process of writing On Such a Volcano has been endlessly valuable, regardless of whether it’s ever published or not, and I want to keep working on novels. But, until I can move forward, I’m trapped in a sort of stasis that I’m not quite sure how to leave.
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Have you ever considered self-publishing though Amazon, Apple Books, or others? A blogger named Nick Stepenson has some helpful materials to get a writer started. You may already have thought about it, but just in case…