Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Book and the Sword


I deeply apologize for not making the blogging rounds this week.  After working with a gifted new critique partner (thanks JeffO,) I’m deep in revisions and want to get them done so I can send my manuscript out to my last two beta readers before I start querying again, hopefully in February. 

Aside from that, I’ve been having a few minor medical issues that have been consuming my attention.  It struck me that when you get news that has the potential of affecting your entire life, you focus on those things that are most important to you.  I was shocked at what became my highest priorities.

Of course, not shocking at all is my child as number one.  With college looming on the horizon, and the financial and living arrangements not yet worked out, I am obsessing over how I will get those finalized.  I’ve taken all the necessary steps, but we are still four months out from making a final decision, even as more acceptances arrive.  My son may be mere months away from adulthood and total freedom, but he still needs me and will for a long time.  This is not surprising.  I’m a mother.  It’s my job.

What is surprising is how important publishing my novel has become—all encompassing, in fact.  I’ve never had a dream that was specifically for me, to the exclusion of everyone else.  Again, I’m a mother, and a wife, and as such, I tend to focus on everyone else before myself.  That’s just part of the job.  But with my son so close to flying the nest, I’ve had to find things to keep me busy since the economy, and therefore my business, is so slow.  Like many others, I turned to writing.  Now that my book is ready to go, or nearly so, my drive to find and land an agent is consuming.  I believe strongly in my novel, that it has merit and can succeed commercially.  I simply won’t rest until I’ve exhausted every avenue available.  It’s a dream I cannot give up on.


My last dream is two-fold.  I’ve wanted to attend a writer’s conference for a while now, but with my business so slow, my funds are limited and, as many of you know, these conferences can be very expensive.  I wanted to attend ThrillerFest in July in New York City, but I don’t have a few extra grand in my pocket.  But BoucherCon, a crime writer’s conference, is remarkably more affordable and I’ve just about saved enough pennies for registration and maybe even the airfare.  So I’m pretty much golden on this dream.  But there is one other that is attached to this like a remora to a shark.


I want to meet my very best friend, writer Lisa Regan, in person, and will finally get to at BoucherCon.  Lisa has saved me in so many ways.  She knows me better than anyone else on earth, save my husband, but then again, she knows things even he does not.  I love this woman like a sister and cannot call my life complete without having met her.  I can’t talk much more about her without crying my eyes out, so I’ll stop here. 

I know I’ll be fine, so no worries, please.  But having my first real glimpse of mortality, at least in a way I cannot control, has focused me, pinpointing on those few things I want to do above all others.  There’s nothing like the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head to get you focused on what’s real and what’s not. 


So I ask you, if you had a sword over your head, what would you want to accomplish?         

28 comments:

M Pax said...

How fun you and Lisa will meet.

I hope you're all right, Nancy. Will keep you in my thoughts for a quick recovery.

Best on the novel. I'm in that revision place, too. Look forward to hearing where your son decides to go.

Hugs.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Funny how life has a way of reminding us of what is important. I will be praying for you.
Glad you're going to the conference and meeting your best writer friend.
And I don't think writing would be as important to me at that point. I want to focus more of experiencing things and enjoying friends and family. But then, writing was never the big burn for me.

L.G.Smith said...

You know, I learned I had to have a pretty significant surgery about two years ago, and it was right after my recovery that I dove into my last novel and just plowed through it to get it written, because, yeah, who knows how long we've really got?

Glad you and Lisa (and Jennifer too?) get to meet! You'll have a great time. Conferences are stressful the first time, but you'll learn so much and meet some great people.

Hope everything is okay. I'll be thinking about you.

Charlie Rice said...

Aside from Lisa Unger, who is a super nice lady, I've never met any of my writer friends yet. I have no excuse living in New York City.

If I had a sword hanging over my head, I'd duck and run. Then, I'd set out to do the same thing, get some work published.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Hope you health is okay and you get through your challenges easily. Don't worry if you can't read posts for awhile. You have to prioritize. And kids and writing come first.

Glad you're going to the conference. I'm cutting back with that too.

Kittie Howard said...

From the heart, I hope your medical issues are overcome soonest. If I had that sword over my head (again!), I'd suck every moment out of life I could. Enjoy your conference and live the moment. Yes, being a wife and mother comes with endless responsibilities but remember to pause and pamper yourself as well. Good luck, Nancy!!!!

Jennifer Hillier said...

I hope you let me take a picture of you and Lisa the first time you lay eyes on each other. It's going to be EPIC!

It's amazing how consuming finding an agent can be. I almost think querying was more consuming than writing the book was. But I know you will find one.

I hope you're feeling okay? Sending you giant hugs.

Melodie said...

Praying your health issues are cleared up ASAP. Being so excited/motivated to launch your MS is probably a huge plus right now...or it would be for me. (I'm a huge fretter.) Best of luck with your revision and at the conference. Keep us posted if you get to chat w/ any agents and what that's like. Oh - and say hey to Lisa from me!!

Eva Gallant said...

I do hope you will be okay. I'm sending positive thoughts your way.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Okay, you're scaring me, Nancy. I won't pry, but please know you're in my prayers. *hugs*

Nothing like that to push the desire to be published a little higher up the list of your priorities.

Keep us updated. I'm almost ready to start querying, and just thinking about it tightens my stomach and makes me want to hurl.

The Desert Rocks said...

Good luck with everything and I hope whatever the medical thing is will resolve or get better or go away. Please. I think it was Norman Vincent Peale who said 90% of the stuff we worry about never happens anyway.

Lisa L. Regan said...

You ARE going to be fine! Maybe this glimpse into your own mortality is just the push you need to get through this next leg of your agent search to the finish line. I am convinced that when we meet at Bouchercon, you are going to be an agented writer. Hell, you may even have a book deal by then! A lot can happen in 10 months! Thank you for the shout-out. You know how excited I am that we are finally going to meet. Besides my child and future husband, you are the most important person in my life. My rock. I can't wait. (And Jenny, you can take a picture! LOL. But I warn you now there will likely be many tears!) I know you'll have everything in order by the time your brilliant son is ready to fly the coop! I'd bet a lot that he'll have his pick of the top colleges on his list!

If I had a sword over my head . . . well meeting you would definitely be at the top of my list. Also I'd want to write and/or make videos for my daughter of everything I could possibly think of that I'd want her to know about! And of course, it goes without saying, the getting my book published thing!

Carrie Butler said...

You've got a lot on your plate right now, Nancy. I'll be praying for you. :)

Nikki Jefford said...

Nancy, I admire your ability to balance work, family and health while still pursuing your dreams.

This conference is going to be a wonderful boost to you - more so now that'll you get to meet your bosom friend face to face.

I'm excited for you.

LindaK said...

I'd rather have a magic wand over my head that I could wave and make a fabulous published novel written by me appear on the shelves. Joking aside, I really hope you're ok, Nancy. Without a sword hanging over me, I can't decide what I'd do, but I suspect I'd give up writing for a bit and travel, spend time with my family, relieve myself of the stress of writing (as it does stress me out quite often!) Or... maybe I'd give up my job and just write. I really don't know! BEST OF LUCK in everything. Keep us posted x

jamieayres said...

Hey, Nancy. If you have a query already, I am doing a contest this month on my blog so check it out:) Good luck with everything!

The Golden Eagle said...

I hope you're okay--you'll be in my thoughts!

Good luck with the querying.

If a sword was over my head I'd spend much more time with other people.

Reviewer11 said...

Hope you are okay. Your health and of your family is number one priority.

I wish you the best in your writing career. I've been trying to find a critique writer to help me but no luck. :(

Katie Gates said...

Hi Nancy, I linked over here from Kittie Howard's blog, and I really love the heart in this post. It sounds like you've got a lot going on, and you also have your priorities in place. I've been through the querying a few times. After 70+ agents no-thank-you'd my first novel, I self-pubbed. I'm about to do the same with my second (after 60+ no's or non-responses). It's a tough industry, but the internet and the ease of self-publishing have changed the game big-time. No matter what happens, BELIEVE in your writing. Write the book YOU want to read.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Nancy, I'm sorry that you're going through all this. Try to concentrate on taking care of yourself, and you should take comfort in the fact that your son has so many college options. You may be able to use this as a bargaining tool. I'll be sending lots of positive thoughts your way, and please let me know if you ever feel like talking. Take care, Julie

Dawn Simon said...

Wow, I'm sorry to hear you've had a medical issue going on! So scary! I wish you good health, and I hope everything settles down soon.

On a cheery note, yay for great mothers! You have your priorities straight. And it's so great about the conference and seeing your best friend in person! Also, your determination is inspiring.

As for me, family and writing are at the top of my list as well.

Reviewer11 said...

Katie, you self published? Where? How did you do it for advertizing. That's hard.

Julie Dao said...

Nancy, you've got such a great attitude. I know that if you want something badly enough, you will make it come true. Keep your chin up through these tough times and power through. I know you can do it! Sending good wishes your way. *hugs*

Peggy Eddleman said...

Best of luck with all your goals! With your great attitude and perseverance, I'm positive you will get there on all of them.

cleemckenzie said...

So sorry about the medical issues. They do put things into perspective very quickly and your priorities reveal a lot about you as a person. I'd say you've done very well in setting them.

Joylene said...

What a truly wonderful post. Had me teary too. I'm praying you're okay. I'm thrilled you get to meet Lisa. I know exactly how you feel. I'm not making the rounds either because I'm clear across the country visiting my son and his wife and their new baby. Blake is 4.5 months old and such a hoot. I'm beside myself with joy. Kudos to you, Nancy. Hope you're all right.

Al Penwasser said...

Your blog gets mentioned in my latest post.
NOTE: This is not a thinly-veiled attempt to get you to read my blog.
Well, much.

Margo Kelly said...

I've had to face this question recently as well ... what would you do if your time was shortened? It really helps get your priorities straight!! And, I met up with my critique partner at a writers' conference - - it was wonderful!! :) I wish you only the best!