One week in and I’ve already learned two very important lessons.
One: If you are thinking of quitting your job to write full time – tell no-one! The reason is simple. All your well-meaning family, friends and neighbours will automatically assume they are doing you a favour by finding lots of activities to fill your time with. Between that and the continuing construction work next door, precious little in the way of editing has taken place this week. A review of my schedule this week revealed that if I hadn’t already left my job, I wouldn’t have had time to attend work anyway.
Lesson two was that plans change. Writing full time means a steeper learning curve and, as you climb it, a more fluid approach is sometimes necessary. For example, I had planned on only making submissions when the novel had progressed fully to a completed second draft. However, reading many agents submission guidelines informed me that this was not only unnecessary but also poor time management. Why not drop one or two feelers? Especially with the length of time it takes for agents to get around to reading your work.
With that in mind, and with the first half of the book at a point where it is ready to be viewed, I made my first submission today. I will now proceed to the phase of checking my email every ten minutes for the next four to six weeks.
I’m sure I’m not alone here but I felt I really struggled with the synopsis. The first time I attempted one, I just about managed to squeeze it into 1700 words. To my shock, I found most agents want 500 or so! That was a challenge. I ended up abandoning trying to summarize what happens and instead went with the bare bones of: where was it set; what was it trying to say; who were the main characters and how does it end. Once I had that I was at 550 words and I called it job done. Hopefully a kindly agent will offer feedback on whether it fulfilled their requirements.
I’m hoping that next week will be more productive, but with a furniture delivery already booked in for me on Monday, I won’t be holding my breath.
Off now to check my email.