Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Day in My Writing Life

I have a love/hate relationship with online writing contests. Since I started querying, I've decided to bite the bullet and do whatever it takes to get my stuff in front of an agent. And the rare times that a 'request' does come, it makes all those crappy rejections worth it (just like the query inbox, I suppose, except a lot more public.)

How do you all feel about online contests?

I've been participating in a twelve week contest at Throwing Up Words (6 weeks in). The prize is an agent critique for a couple of lucky winners at the end and door prizes along the way (I've already won a book. Who-hoo.) Though the grand prize is a long shot, I've had to stretch myself writing-wise with the weekly challenges. Poetry, middle-grade voice, and an essay really had me pulling my hair out. But I'm growing. Upwards. I think. Anyhow, head over there later this week to vote on entries (we use a new pen-name each week so you won't know which is mine). I'll leave you with my entry from last week (It was supposed to be an essay about why writing matters to us. Alas, I'm a rule breaker, so deal with it.) Enjoy a day in the life:

Wake up.

Omigosh, I had the most amazing dream.

Jots down said dream.

Stephenie Meyer, watch out.
Email check: query rejection.
I never liked that agent anyway.
Kids to school.
Open WIP.
Blinking cursor. Blinking cursor.
Blog hopping. Twitter tweeting. Facebook facing.
Rereads last few pages written.
This sucks.
Designs book cover for WIP.
Finds song for WIP playlist.
Googles actors for WIP the movie.
Email check: query rejection.
Is it too early for Diet Coke?
Rereads dream notes.
What was I thinking?
Email check: full request!
Best. Agent. Ever.
Becomes said agent’s Facebook fan.
Twitter follower.
Blog stalker extraordinaire.
Rereads last few pages written.
This stuff is magic.
Writes 500 words nonstop.
Rereads said 500 words.
Wordy. Wordy.
Em dash much?
Enough BE verbs already.
Delete. Delete. Delete.
Kids come home.
Snuggle and read some Roald Dahl.
I need made up words for my WIP.
Except, made up curse words.
And science-fictiony.
Googles science-fictiony curse words.
Signs up for WIFYR sci-fi class.
Drives kids to dance, theater, scouts, underwater basket-weaving.
Reads latest bestseller in car.
Enough BE verbs already.
Ooh. Nice.
My writing sucks.
Drives home.
Stares at dirty dishes.
This is why paper plates were invented.
Husband reads aloud while kids hang on every word.
I wish I could write MG.
MG can have romance and horror, right?
Kids to bed.
Rereads last 300 words (formerly 500 words).
Cry. Cry. Cry.
Husband: What’s wrong?
Me: I’m gonna have to hurt my MC.
Like, REALLY hurt him.
I don’t know if I can do it.
Husband: Um…I love you?
Flings arms around husband and bawls some more.
Writes 5,000 words non-stop.
Can’t see keyboard through swollen, tear-filled eyes.
3:00 am.
Emails CPs: Writers are insane!
Cries self to sleep.
So worth it.


Cassie Mae said...

Oh my gosh, this was awesome. Totally laughing, esp. the 'Um, I love you?'

I'm a fan of contests myself :)

ilima said...

Cassie-I'm sure you do 'cause YOU WIN ALL OF THEM :)

Tonja Drecker said...

What a dejavuh (don't know if that's spelled right) - This is great! I especially like the googling actors for the movie. Dare to dream!!!

As for contests - hmmm...well... they're fun..and...well... I've come to the conclusion that unless there's an agent who usually doesn't accept unsolicited submissions, its not necessarily worth it. I'll query them anyway and they'll probably say 'no', but the contest won't change that. I still enjoy the contests, though. They're fun,you meant neat people, sometimes get helpful comments, and it keeps my mind busy while waiting and waiting and waiting for other agents to respond.

Martin Willoughby said...

I take part in Write1Sub1 as a contest. The only proze is the knowledge that you've acheived something.

Aside from the crying and having someone to cuddle, it sounds like my day.

Tess Julia said...

That's too cute! I love the cartoon at the end:)

Kathryn Purdie said...

I love this! And I'm so happy I read it first thing this morning. Way to begin my week, Ilima! (And now I know what you should REALLY be writing--something humorous, because you rock at it. But I did almost cry reading this too. How did you do that?) Here's to an amazing writing week!

ilima said...

T. Drecker-I tell myself that at least in the contest the agent is reading it and not their slush reading intern.

Martin-Ha! That's female hormones for you.

Honey-I know, right?

Katie-At least you're laughing at the humor and NOT laughing at the terrible writing...I hope :)

Amanda Olivieri said...

Haha, I love this!! Writers are totally insane :) I've never done a contest before, but maybe sometime in the future.

Angela Cothran said...

When did you start stalking me and watching my life? Too FUNNY!

ilima said...'ll love them. You'll hate them. But worth it, I think.

Angie-This is why I love meeting writers online. So I can be assured I'm not the only one...:)

Emily said...

It is never, ever too early for a diet coke.

Robin said...

You've got me thinking about doing contests once I have a shiny MS *sigh*

Great entry, I bet it got some comment love. I laughed so hard, wait, I do that, that too . ..

As for my writing day, I've opened my MS, but didn't even read part of it before checking blogs. So I better get to it:)

ilima said...


Robin-yes, the allure of all things online :)

Kelley Lynn said...


And I Love your comment to Cassie. :) She does win them all, doesn't she? ;)

ilima said...

Kelley-Seriously, right? You win lots too. But I'm not surprised, you both deserve it!

Elana Johnson said...

LOL! My favorite part of this? "Em-dash much?"

I am a lover of the em-dash, so I seriously laughed out loud int he middle of class!

ilima said...

Elana-Did you hear that people? I made Elana Johnson laugh out loud. Does this mean I can use you as a reference now? :)

DM Todd said...

Yup, that is my life with my wife. Wouldn't trade it for the world. Love you Lim.

ilima said...

DM-Aww. <3

PK HREZO said...

Love that! And gosh darn that Snoopy is cute.
Hmm.. I only enter contests if it's agent judged or there is feedback offered. Otherwise, it's not usually worth my time.

Kimberlee Turley said...

What's a strawbunkie?

You know, this sounds a lot like my typyical writing day. I used to keep a dream journal, but then I realized there's very little in them that make sense after I jot them down, or that anyone else would find interesting.

Good luck with your contest! They're tough work, but the chances of getting agent feedback and requests are much better than through the slush pile.

Tobi Summers said...

That was fantastic. And so accurate.

P.S. I put something for you on my blog.

ilima said...

Pk Hrezo-I couldn't resist the Snoopy cuteness either.

Kimberlee-I have a notebook by my bed. I usually write down writing ideas in it in the middle of the night instead of dreams, though.

Tobi-Thanks for the award!

Daisy Carter said...

This made me lol, for real. Thanks for following me! I'm following back!

ilima said...

Daisy-thanks and welcome!