Monthly Archives: August 2009

Rejections suck

I got another rejection from agent today. The hardest part (for me) about getting rejections is wondering whether a) That person just wasn’t the right agent and I need to keep querying until I find the right one, even if it takes 50-100 rejections to get there, or b) It still needs more work, and I should revise it again before sending it back out.

I feel like no matter how much I work on it and how many people I show it to, I will always hear that x, y and z need work. And yet there are a gazillion stories about best sellers getting rejected over and over and over before being published, so how do you know when it’s done? How do you know when to stop revising and put your energy into selling it? I read published works all the time that I would have given plenty of critiques if someone had asked me to edit them.

I think waiting another month to hear from two or three more agents, then rereading it myself (after having had some time away from it), may give me a clearer picture of what I need to do. I feel like I can be my own best judge if I have a little distance. And yet … I would feel so much better if an agent or professional editor signed off on it for me, said, “Yes! It’s ready! Send it out!”



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Oh, shit.

Shea says, “Oh, shit” about every ten minutes now. Before it was “uh oh” and then it was “oops” and now, thanks to hearing me say it one time, he says, “oh, shit” every time he drops something, his ball rolls under the bed, etc. etc. How do I train him out of this? I have a plan to say, “What is this word ‘shit’? Do you mean, ‘uh oh’? ‘Oops?'” but I feel self-conscious saying it at all in front of our nanny, so wait until she’s not around.


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Nine days and counting every minute

Oh Lord, I can’t do nine more days of this! I’m having contractions like crazy. I’ll be surprised if she waits until the third to arrive, but who knows. I didn’t swim yesterday, started timing contractions today because I was having so many, but nothing consistent yet. Did get woken up by them both last night and from a (short) nap today. Feeling more and more uncomfortable. Ready for her to come out. Too lazy at night to do any “goals,” so just chewing through Mad Men episodes like crazy.

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10 Days to Go


Well, 10 days until my due date, but it may well be longer than that since Shea was 10 days late. The baby room is mostly ready – all cute and pink, although I haven’t put anything on the walls yet. I have decals on order that will spell out her name, but I’ll wait until after she’s born to put them up since her name is a secret.

I’ve been having contractions on and off, but nothing major. I found out the Friday before last that the baby was no longer head down, but transverse, so I went in for a version this past Friday and when they did the ultrasound they found that she was head down again, so I didn’t have to do anything – thank God, since versions are supposed to be painful and are only successful 50 percent of the time.

I’m still swimming on Mondays, working Monday afternoons and Wednesdays, tutoring two nights per week, editing one morning per week and taking care of Shea Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday afternoons. Last week we had a lot of fun, and it felt good to spend some quality time playing with Shea. I feel like I’ve been spending too much time dragging him around on errands lately instead of taking him to parks. But Thursday morning we went to the Oakland Zoo (and went on the merry-go-round, too). Thursday afternoon I set up his new kiddie pool and his grandma brought him a beach ball sprinkler and we hung out in the backyard for two hours. It was so nice to do something fun outdoors without driving (or even walking down the street) to a park. I really wish our backyard had some landscaping (the gardens are wild and the deck is about to collapse), but it will happen SOME day! Right now I have a big long list of things I want to do before the baby is born. Friday we went to Live Oak park for our French play group and today we had a BBQ in Tilden with the same group (it was FREEZING in Tilden this afternoon!), and taking care of Shea is so much easier when there are other kids around for him to play with.

As for my to-do list, I’m still sending my book to agents. Three of them have it now, and I queried a fourth today. Three rejections so far – two with very encouraging e-mails telling me that I just need to find the right agent, and the third a form rejection.

I’m writing 15 minutes a day on my new book, which may seem like nothing but is incredibly difficult when a) I have a million other things to do and the days go by incredibly fast (it’s usually 9:30 p.m. and I’m sitting down to watch Mad Men and then think, “I’d better do my 15 min first or I won’t get it done) and b) when I don’t know what the heck to write because the concept of the book is still so fresh/vague in my brain.

Still editing, still doing tutoring prep, still learning Scrivener, still reading blogs about publishing, still planning to get my photo albums done one of these days. Busy busy busy.

Shea is doing great. He’s talking more and more, so much that I can no longer keep up with his list of new words. He’s running a lot, climbing up bars and going down slides, coloring every day, kicking and throwing balls constantly (his favorite pastime), ALWAYS on the move. He seems to like babies and loves the baby girl doll and stroller we bought for him. He put her in the swing today and rocked her back and forth. Let’s hope he’s as gentle with the real one when she arrives!

I haven’t blogged much about this pregnancy because it’s gone by so fast, because it’s been uneventful, because I feel fine and know what to expect this time. I can’t say I’m looking forward to labor and can’t say I was terribly upset when I heard she was transverse and that I may need a C-section. A C-section sounds way less painful than labor without drugs, but I’m happy that everything is okay. I’m looking forward to the birth, but not the hours preceding it.

I’m totally hooked on Mad Men. We’ll probably finish Season One tonight and start Season Two later this week. It’s my only break from work. I’m up past midnight every night, often on my computer, and it’s really nice to take a break every few nights to watch TV. Speaking of which, it’s time I logged off and did that right now.

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This is what I want Shea to be for Halloween, but I don’t think I have the time/energy/money to pull it together. I can’t find it online anywhere, so it would probably require some sewing and it’s been about 18 years since I turned on my sewing machine. There’s always next year, though! Meanwhile, I bought him a pirate’s costume from Babies R Us.

Le Petit Prince

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The Countdown Begins!

Old-fashioned typewriter

In writing news, I’ve received two very nice rejections from agents (with comments like, “great writing, compelling story, you should pursue this, you just need to find the right agent, feel free to send me other work,” etc. while two others requested to see the full manuscript and will get back to me after vacation in mid-September. So right now my goals are to:

1. Query four more agents
2. Get my website redesigned
3. Learn as much as I can about blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
4. Work on new book (need to start entering notes into Scrivener)

Besides writing-related goals, I still have to:

1. Finish decorating the baby room
2. Read my friend’s manuscript
3. Get a lot of editing work done for my client before the baby comes
4. Continue tutoring
5. Work on photo albums (wanted to get these done, but so far it doesn’t look good)

And I want to:

1. Sleep
2. Watch TV
3. Swim
4. Spend a lot of time with Shea while he’s still the only child
5. Sleep some more

19 days left! Maybe less, maybe more. How much can I get done?

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Turn Baby Turn


I went to my OB appointment yesterday to find out that my baby is no longer head down. She’s not completely breech, but she is sideways (back up, feet down, head on the side), so next Friday, if she hasn’t turned back by then, I’ll go to the hospital for a version, where they try to flip the baby by pressing on your belly (at least I think that’s how they do it). Not supposed to be the most pleasant experience. If that doesn’t work—and it often doesn’t—there are 16 other things I can try, including swimming to the bottom of a pool and acupuncture. Some of the suggestions sound a bit hokey, like “place iPod headphones inside mom’s pants toward her public bone and play classical music for 10 minutes 6-8 times a day.” I guess I’m reluctant to try too many of these techniques because what if she flips the wrong way and becomes completely breech? Right now she’s only at a 90-degree angle. Either way, though, if she doesn’t move, I’ll have to have a C-section. Doctors don’t generally deliver breech babies anymore, and since mine is feet down, my OB said that’s the most dangerous position because if my water breaks, there is no head or butt there to seal the opening and all the fluid will leak out, and possibly even the cord. So should be an action-packed last couple of weeks. (I have 19 days to go).

In other news, I taught Shea how to swear the other day. I set the hand soap on the windowsill in the kitchen where it always goes, but because it was a very hot day the window was wide open and the soap fell out the window. I said, “Oh shit” and Shea, who was coloring on the floor behind me, said, “Oh shit. Oh shit.” I had to try really hard not to laugh, but I did and said nothing and he hasn’t said it since. He’s in total parrot mode right now, repeating everything we say. And the language thing is funny. He always says, “l’eau” for water, but all day yesterday he was asking for “agua” and when he wanted his small sippy cup, “petite agua” and the big one, “grande agua.” He knows little and big, and we’re trying to teach him colors since his favorite new activity is coloring in coloring books (and on the couch, the kitchen floor, the placemats, etc.) I think he understands that the baby is coming because the past few days he’s started this fake crying thing that’s really annoying. When he doesn’t get what he wants (like to play games on Martin’s iPhone), he pretends to cry, and he is NOT much of a crier, so I’m not used to it. We bought him a little stroller and an anatomically correct girl doll to prepare him for the baby, and he loves both. He took his “baby” to Target Thursday and to the park yesterday. Just hope he doesn’t throw his sister into the sand when he’s bored with her like he does with his baby.

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