Self-Care Tips for Querying Writers
As querying writers, we face rejection almost daily. It can be difficult to stay positive waiting for that one yes! in an ocean of no’s. Here are some self-care tips and positive thinking strategies that have helped to keep me on the sunny side:
Remember our journeys are our own. It does no good to compare ourselves to other writers whom we feel have had an easy time of it. We each have unique stories that only we can tell. Maybe we haven’t yet lived the experiences that will create the person we need to become in order to write our story the best way it can be written.
Be grateful for what we do have. I don’t have an agent or a book deal right now, but I do have a car that gets me where I need to go. I have an apartment with heat, jobs I love, and many other things for which I am thankful.
Step away from the computer. Play a board game with your family, go for a walk in nature, and spend time with your pets to recharge your spirit.
Creating memories and thoughtful experiences through living them is what gives us inspiration to write.
Help someone else. Do you know someone who could use a little pick-me-up? A batch of home-baked cookies, or a few hours playing cards with someone who could use a friend goes a long way to making them feel better. You will too!
Be kind to yourself. Spend an evening watching a favorite television program or listening to music. Buy yourself a tiny pressie! Sometimes we might not have twenty dollars to treat a friend to lunch or even purchase a new book, but we can usually find a few dollars to buy a snazzy new spiral notebook and a pen in a fun color.
As the great Janet Reid says,
Be ready for the big dance when the music starts to play!
Spend time waiting to hear back from agents by being proactive in your writing career.
Update your blog or website. Even an updated #amreading post with the picture of the book cover of your current read and a few sentences why you are enjoying it will cultivate a feeling of accomplishment and connection with the publishing world and readers of your blog (which may include agents who are scoping you out).
Is your email address easily visible on said site? Another tip from Janet Reid. Go ahead and check that your social media links are active as well.
Follow other querying writer’s blogs. Learn and share information with other querying writers. Find each other on facebook, and twitter through the #amquerying hashtag.
Start a writer’s group if you don’t already belong to one. Public libraries often have meeting rooms available and you can advertise your new group online and by posting flyers. You can create a great group of writers who will support and encourage each other.
Be active on Twitter. Along with Facebook groups for writers, Twitter is a wonderful resource for meeting other writers and fostering a sense of community. Follow your favorites, and tweet that you loved their new book.
Follow agents and lookout for their #querytip posts.
Follow JK Rowling on Twitter. She often tweets writing tips and shares inspiring information. She even shared copies of rejection letters she received as Robert Galbraith, one of which suggested that “a writing course may help.” OMG. Read them here.
Update your Goodreads page. None of us has the time to log all the many books we read, but create time once a month or so to stay current on your reading lists. Leave comments on the pages of authors you admire and connect with other readers, some of whom are writers as well.
Sign up on NetGalley to receive access to forthcoming titles before they are published. Then, post reviews on your blog. This is a great way to keep current with new titles and expand your pool of perspective comps.
Volunteer at a writer’s conference and pitch agents live. If you are lucky enough to attend, inquire whether there are volunteer opportunities. In exchange for a few hours of work, you can attend lectures and panels as well as gain a behind-the-scenes view of how conferences work. This would make an excellent blog post.
Most importantly, remember we all have moments of doubt. By practicing a few self-care tips and being proactive about your writing career, you can remind yourself that you are doing all you possibly can to become a published writer. Waiting is merely a part of that.
JK Rowling never gave up, and neither will we!
Verna Austen received an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. Her short stories and poems have appeared in The Minnetonka Reivew, Flying Island, Blood Lotus Journal, and others. She is currently querying and writing a new novel.