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My Jane Austen Summer
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Category Archives: Cindy Jones
Kathryn Stockett spoke to a standing room only crowd in a huge church sanctuary because there wasn’t enough room anywhere else in Dallas for her rock-star crowd. We were totally with her when she began reading from a pile of rejection letters. She named names, and what could we do but laugh at the stupidity of the agents and editors who rejected THE HELP. We loved imagining how they must be kicking themselves, no longer able to trust their judgment, mortified and embarrassed before the entire literary world.
by Rebecca Reynolds
In her book The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Janet Malcolm talks about reading a biography of Plath by Anne Stevenson. Malcolm found that the quotations from Plath’s poetry in the book spoke more strongly than the biographical part: ‘the voices began to take over the book and to speak to the reader over the biographer’s head. They whispered “Listen to me, not to her. I am authentic.”’
I have been telling my husband: if I had one week of total isolation I could finish my novel. Well, I got my chance to prove it. As of 8:00 am last Monday morning, I was HOME ALONE. For five days it was just me and my novel.
Day T-1: I wanted to hit the ground running so I cleaned my office (for the first time since 2013) and cleared my desk of everything not related to the novel-in-progress. The result was exhilarating and I decided I should do that more often.
Previously published on Girlfriends Book Club
Since we are discussing setting I will reluctantly work past my discomfort to share, not only how I obtained realistic details to create the manor house in my novel, but also how a sense of poetic entitlement caused me to behave badly. Ahem. (Sound of me clearing throat). I avoided arrest and have purposely omitted names in this post in order to protect myself.
Some of you may be surprised to learn that I know how to tweet, and even more surprised that I know how to create a hashtag that will change my life. Yes, I, who never had a problem sitting down and facing my literary problems am so far off track, I’m surrendering myself to the mercy of the very social media frontiers I intended to ignore. With Twitter and a hashtag, I can be held publicly accountable for my writing time and output.
Five Non-financial Rewards of Publication
It took me seven years to reach the point where my work attracted the attention of an agent, and another seven to get from the agent to the publisher who finally cut the advance check. Spread over fourteen years, the proceeds of my writing career have been sufficient to feed one goldfish once a day. Obviously, I am not in it for the money. The secret, I am convinced, is to write faster. But until I get up to speed, I make a point of enjoying the many non-financial rewards of published life. Instead of getting paid:
I spent the holidays finalizing revisions on my novel while my family skied. Yesterday I sent the third draft to my agent, with the expectation that we are almost there. But, I don’t know this for certain, and now I am waiting to hear from her. Waiting.
As a writer, I have spent a lot of time waiting, and instead of worrying about sitting still while the industry evolves, books become obsolete, and publishing, as we know it, ceases to exist, I’ve developed a strategy for dealing with the tension. Rather than obsessing over how long it is taking, I try to distract myself. Here are a few of my strategies for coping: