I needed a hiatus from the trials, tribulations and sometime headache of dealing with blogging, especially at Cobwebs Of The Mind. For a few months I put is aside, letting it gather dust, as other responsibilities had to be attended to. Unlike my other forays into the world of blogging, posts at Cobwebs Of The Mind have to be thought out and actually say something, (or not as the case of your sensitivities and judgment may be.)
It never ceases to surprise me how we tend to accept stability in the world around us and then perspective granted by the passing of time somehow allows us to view some real serious changes. In the blogging world of literature, writing, agents and publishing - change over a period of time seems to be the norm.
In the past six months since my last post here, when the day came when and I realized enough was enough and let us take a time-out to go play in the sandbox, many changes seem to have taken place within our little blogging world.
Miss Snark upped and left. This was not unexpected, by the way, however in reviewing my bookmarks and links (half of which over the past six months simply stopped working and the owners dissipated into the mists hovering over our virtual world), I find that no one has taken up the vacuum. Perhaps it is because Miss Snark, indeed, was a one time phenomena, and no one has the time to put into a blog that she did. Truth be told, many of us were addicted to her cynical wit and often straight no BS advice. Sometimes such an approach is just what the doctor ordered.
The Rejecter is still at work, though seems to be on a cut back schedule. She has tried to adopt some of the "snarkiness" from Miss. Snark, but by her own admission, this is a query letter reader, so in the ultimate importance of things, her advice though often great, seems to be taken by most of us with a few grains of the proverbial salt.
The denizen scam-busters are still at it, and Writer Beware is one blog I sneaked a peek often during my self-imposed exile. Sometimes I do find it difficult to follow the stories about messes and scams that writers seem to gravitate to at times, but I put that down to my senility. Of all the blogs out there for writers, Writer Beware is truly a public service.
Then, of course, there are the literary agents who blog. Most, not all, seem to have kept up on a fairly steady stream of blogging and advice. Much of the advice is usually to the point and excellent, but then again, much of it also presents a personal view of the agent involved. My favorite among them, though, Lit Agent X, has certainly cut back on her blog and her informative posts. It seems her move Folio Literary Management has taken up a great deal of time. Her posts were usually full of information and written in a straight way with a kind attitude for the writers who are trying to break in to the industry. Of course, BookEnds, LLC — A Literary Agency, is still a wonderful blog to peruse, as is, Pub Rants of the Nelson Literary Agency.
The Deepening too, went to the great virtual cemetery of the virtual world. Personally, and for obvious reasons, I believe it is a loss and perhaps it is a lesson for all of us in expectations and perseverance. The Internet is a harsh battleground and takes no prisoners. Though I think this one on-line magazine, did have a great future ahead of it. But alas, it too, is no more, and I wish the editors and owners luck in all their coming endeavors.
In short, the blogs may change, the web-sites come and go, but the rules of the game, and to no great surprise all remain the same. (All right, maybe more agents are entering into the world of "modern technology" and are no longer demanding the snail-mail letter and are willing to except email queries - which is a plus.)
Over time, I have made friends with quite a few published authors, others who are on their way to be published, and yet others who are still upon the query letter route. It has been an enlightening and interesting experience. I have heard stories of writers, agents and publishers which we would never read on the Internet - good, bad, pretty and some damn right ugly.
Many of the authors, hopeful and established, I have had the pleasure of sharing emails with, all go from the ecstasy of hope to the despair of fear of failing. I have learned even those who have 5 or more books to their name, and have even been on the Best-Seller lists, suffer with each work the same self-doubt which plagued them from the beginning. I have also learned certain rules were made to be broken in the quest for a good agent and entrée into the world of publishing.
And there are too many, who still feel that their ability to make a one-line quip or witty remark turns them into bona-fide writers. They hang on the forums and writing circles, which are good for information from time to time, but sooner or later, one should realize that writing is just that -writing. Either you do it or you don't. That too is a lesson to be learned. Writing forums and blogs as well, (like this blog), can become a massive waste of time and energy. In the end result, the normative route to publishing is the old writing-agent-publisher route. Of course you can go POD or self-pub, and of course you can create a pdf with an E-book in mind, but the facts are simple. In order to have your book published via a normative route the path is laid out and the stones are slippery from all the wear they have upon them.
The contests as well come and go, with new trends being experimented with even by traditional publishers. Many of the web-sites who have decent names, such as Gather, have coupled with traditional publishers. And @ Writer Beware they keep us totally up-to-date on what is legit and what is not, if you are so inclined to enter the contests.
One rule which to be honest I always knew, but never accepted is that you just never know what will work and will not work. Instincts are great, and work for us most of the time, but sometimes one has to take a deep breath, and just go for it. When I had started my other blog, Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, I thought it would honestly end up as curiosity for maybe twenty people. Little did I realize that it would garner the interest and following it has in one short year. It was a round-about lesson me in the world of writing as well.
So, everything changes and nothing changes. You first write, then you have to find an agent, then the agent has to sell your ms. to a publishing house, then you have to sign a contract, then you have to wait for pre-publication and publication, then you have to work hard to market your book and put in the public relations, and during all that besides your daily activities, you must write your next book and your next and your next.
The one thing that didn't change is what I consider to be the utter genius of the folks over at Despair.com. Sometimes when they release a new "Demotivator" I am willing to swear that the one who wrote them was or is an author. So in the spirit of some true Despair (which as you know deep in your heart is something we all partake in) I have included two new ones from the folks at Despair (one above and one below). Don't let them blow the wind out of your sails though. Just remember them from time to time to put a more realistic edge on your goals and dreams. And if you have written, gotten an agent or published in the time I have been musing in other things, drop a line or comment about the book or agent or story you have. If it is of interest to the public I will be glad to post it here at Cobwebs Of The Mind.
Now Go Write!