Friday, February 5, 2010

Blog Chain - Oh The Mistakes I've Made!

Between reading, writing, revising, critting, the stomach flu, and ice fishing (YES. Seriously. Ice Fishing! My husband is a lucky man!), another blog chain has come around. This round Rebecca goes all deep and thoughtful on us, asking:

What is the best mistake you've made so far in your journey as a writer? How has that mistake helped you grow :)?

I think I may have made every single mistake an emerging writer can make. Funny story, Tuesday night I actually received a rejection on a query I sent out two years ago. Yep. Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. Two years. It was one of the first queries I'd ever sent out and man, it stunk to high heaven! Rotten. Honestly, I'm amazed it even garnered a response.

But if not for making the mistake of writing a truly horrible query, I would have never learned how to write a good one. How do I know? I've received a lot more agent love than I had in the past.

Another newbie mistake I'm glad I made was refusing to network. I dug my heels in and turned my back on the writing community. But when I finally came out of my shell, and overcame my shyness, I realized that a book isn't finished until it's critiqued. A lot. Period.

However, thanks to my mistake, I realized there was no way to navigate these waters on my own. I jumped in head first and made some great friends. Just look at my blog chain peeps. There are some kick ass writers here! ;)

And now, I'm going to break a taboo and share the biggest mistake I'm glad I made. I didn't let "No thanks" be the end of it. I know that we're told not to re-approach an agent after they've given us a rejection. I crossed the line and queried again and it's worked in my favor more than once.

Now don't go crazy... I didn't become an agent stalker. I didn't call their offices begging them to take a second look. I didn't re-query the day after the rejection. I took their words to heart. After all, they'd turned me down for a reason. I revised the manuscript and re-wrote my query and/or synopsis. I made BIG changes. Then, I re-approached the agent in a very professional manner. I've had partials and fulls requested this way. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But it paid off.

Making mistakes is how we learn and grow and I'm grateful for every single one. Check out Kate's post before mine, and Sandra's tomorrow to find out what mistakes they're glad they made!

13 comments:

Eric said...

Great answer. From all those mistakes, your determination to continue and succeed shows through clearly. I know I'm glad you didn't stop trying after a few rejections.

Sandra said...

From what I've heard, if the agent makes suggestions, it's OK to approach her again after making them. Kudos to you!

Michelle McLean said...

I've learned much from my mistakes as well. And I've also requeried agents after a lot of revisions, and a lot of time, has passed, and had it work out well. Great post!

Cole Gibsen said...

I've also requeried. Hee. A few revisions, a title change, a viola! One particular agent I queried twice and then, later, pitched again at a conference. Oh, how much I've learned since then!

Christine Fonseca said...

Great ost Amanda...and I am glad you are finding ways that work for you!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Best way to learn -- just plunge on in! :)

BLACK & GOLD SUPA BOWL - WHO DAT?!

Suzyhayze said...

OMG I am so GLAD you posted this!

Like you I've been told (at conferences by actual agents) that re-sending things is a no no.

BUT, like you I tried a few times, professionally, and it worked out!

I love these real posts about real things that we writers always worry about. Thanks for the REAL answer!

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who's had trouble networking. But from your blog and everything, I'd never have guessed. Awesome post!

B.J. Anderson said...

Wow, these are really good ones! Especially the social networking one. And I think I'll take your advice on requerying agents after they've said no thanks. In a totally professional manner, of course. ;)

Rebecca Knight said...

I love hearing about your journey--thanks for sharing this with us! :)

Kat Harris said...

Two years? Please tell me it was snail mail. :-)

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oh, I cringe when I look back at my first query ever too - and the sad thing is I thought it was really good at the time!

lbdiamond said...

This is a great theme! It took me seven months to realize I needed to learn from my mistakes. It's paid off. For real. I finally got a request! :)

Wonderful blog!