Wednesday, July 6, 2016

ISWG: Querying and Starting a New Project

I’ve been struggling with quite a few insecurities lately. There’s nothing like entering the query fray to shake you up a bit and make you wonder, “Is it me or is it them?” I’ve also found that while it’s good therapy to start a new project while querying, querying makes it hard to concentrate on a new book.

The query insecurities start to seep in. When I’m not querying and just writing, I have an easier time just focusing on story, not on the market. But querying does something to my brain. It makes me feel like every word of the new project is a performance, and I’m not sure I’m measuring up.

There’s another reason I’m insecure about this one. It’s not a genre book. It’s more character-driven than plot-driven. This is such a leap for me, but I feel like it’s best for this story. But I’m deathly afraid that without a genre-based plot, this book will be boring. (And I won't know it.)

I’m glad it’s summer. We just had the Fourth, and there are family birthdays, trips to the beach. Many things to keep my mind off: can I really make it as a writer? Will there be a yes at the long end of my string of nos?

JULY 6TH QUESTION: What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

The best thing I’ve heard about my writing was from my first writing instructor and mentor, Meg Jensen.

After delivering the news that my first book still needed a ton of work, she told me: “I think you have a career in this field [kidlit].” I’ve lived off that compliment for years.

How do you keep your focus on a new project and not whether the old one will make it or sell?

Insecure Writer's Group:
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the July 6 posting of the IWSG will be Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, Madeline Mora-Summonte , LK Hill, Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott!


  1. Hi Jenni,
    I so know where you are because I am almost in the same place. Right now, I am doing a final revision after my writing coach/book editor sent me the last critiques.
    I have planned query writing the last part of August and query writing causes my knees to shake, so all the best.
    I am blessed to have my foot in the music world. I sing so when I have to do a concert or go to music rehearsal my thoughts automatically tune out what my writing. That's how I focus.
    All the best with your query. You can do it.
    Shalom aleichem,

  2. Keep living off that compliment.
    I don't multi-task well either. But if you're ready to query, just have faith in what you've written.

  3. Keep that compliment in the forefront of your mind as you continue to query, as you continue to write. It's wonderful motivation!

  4. Tape that compliment to your computer and keep at it! The best that I ever got was my ICL Book course instructor who said that my book was "luminous" -- I come back to that when I'm discouraged. Vijaya

  5. It's great someone saw the flaws and still believes you should make a career of writing! Querying is always disheartening. Putting out a new book and seeing reviews come in is disheartening too. Even if 9 people love it, it's the 10th who didn't like it that I'll remember most. I have no idea how to put the worries away and focus on a new project. I just muddle along... Good luck with your queries!

  6. Wow, what a wonderful compliment!
    Best wishes for your querying.

  7. Oh, I so hear you. The querying and writing together is so very hard. I stopped querying for a while on my completed manuscript once it stopped me from writing. I will get back to it though, but I struggle to do both at the same time. I suppose I better figure out how. Best wishes to you!

  8. That's an awesome compliment from your instructor. I think you should post it somewhere big. :) Read it at those low points. I know how hard it is to keep on believing and writing.
    Best wishes with your queries and may your writing journey be happy this month!

  9. It's scary stepping out of your comfort zone and creating something different, but it's also how we grow. You'll make this book what you want it to be, too.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  10. Oh, how I hate querying. It's the worst. I've taken a break for now (too focused on edits and everything for the one coming out in November) but I'll be back to the query trenches fairly soon. Keep writing that story and try to keep your mind off of the waiting! I know it's hard. Good luck!

  11. That's a wonderful compliment to receive from an instructor.

    While the waiting game can bring about feelings of insecurity, I think you should remember to pat yourself on the back for getting to this point.

  12. Querying is nerve-wracking. And you're right, writing a book on the side isn't that easy when the brain keeps wanting to check the email inbox every 2 mins. But it sounds like you have a little distraction, so yay for that! I love your compliment! That's one to hold on to and keep thinking of. . .maybe while sitting in query trenches?

  13. Hello, Jenni. I've just joined the IWSG group and I've just joined your blog. Sometimes querying is harder than writing the actual manuscript. Good for you receiving a kind comment from your instructor. This keeps writers going. All the best.

  14. That is a great compliment! I hope your querying goes well. I feel that way about the draft I'm currently working on. It's character-driven as well, and I keep going back and forth on whether I want to continue in that direction or to try a different approach.