Autumn Updates and Querying

Hello wonderful people, and happy autumn! Hope you’ve been enjoying cooler weather with lots of pumpkin cream cold brews, good books (hello, The Ex Hex!), and all the spooky movies/shows. 

This has been one of the busiest seasons of my life, full of lots of new beginnings and new opportunities. I closed on my very first house on Oct. 1, and moved in Oct. 8. This has been one hell of a process, and I can’t believe I’ll be writing my future stories from my *house.* I’ve never lived in a traditional house, and as the youngest of a family of six with twice as many cats (not an exaggeration), growing up was…cramped. Everything about our first home is surreal, from putting up decorations, to starting up on our library, to planning Thanksgiving and the holidays. It’s a happy time here, even if I have random bruises from constantly moving boxes!

On the writing side, I participated in this month’s #PitDark, a twice-yearly Twitter party dedicated to stories with darker themes. This could mean many things, but this is the first time it’s fit my storytelling. I was so thrilled to get interest from several agents on my pitches, and truly humbled by the amount of support I received from friends and the writing community! I also took part in my first DVpit, pitching the mental health side of my novel, which also got several agent requests. Anxiety is a big part of one of my main characters, and it’s the first time I wrote about my personal experiences with it, along with my unseen chronic pain (though I kept my pitches around the anxiety aspect). It’s certainly been a month of stepping out of my comfort zone–I used to desperately hide my anxiety from the world, hoping no one would see me as imperfect. I’ve embraced it much more this year, among other things. I’m not *quite* ready to blog about all of it, though, but I’m happy to be where I’m at mentally at this point in my life!

Since both Twitter events, I’ve been querying more earnestly, but I’m well aware querying is a long game. It’s easier to query now than it was for my first and second book, and a big part of that is because I’ve managed my expectations so much better than before. I used to take it EXTREMELY hard when I got rejections, and through working on some of my own mental health struggles, this process has become much easier. Rejection is tough, and this industry can be incredibly hard to deal with sometimes. Please, please keep an eye on your mental health; talk to your friends, make friends in the writing community to help you through the good and bad days, and be kind to yourself. I could spend an entire blog post on this subject alone, and probably will eventually.

Because of the amount of change going on with the house, the holidays approaching, and querying, I’m not currently working on any new books! I’m the type who only works on one project at a time and wholly dedicates herself to it, so I’m taking time to let my mind wander and decide what I want to write next. I have some ~vibes~ for possible book ideas, but they’re nowhere near built out yet. If anything, though, I now know the types of stories I love to tell.

Last week, I took some time off to celebrate my second anniversary with my wonderful husband in Maine. Life has been moving so quickly lately, and we wanted to take some time to simply enjoy the moment and pause. We both love traveling, and we went somewhere we felt safer in. It was such a nice breath of fresh air! The Witches Brew and Caramel Apple martinis certainly weren’t bad, either. Or the Caesar salad, or the asiago fougasse, or the French toast, or the apple profiteroles…I really like food, friends.

My mind also started wandering more toward one specific story idea, so we’ll see where this month takes me. I’m not taking part in NaNoWriMo, but I do love drafting in a month, so I’ll probably do my own version in January or February, depending on where I’m at with this new story idea. We’ll see!

For now, I’m grateful querying is going rather well, and I’m crossing all my fingers that good things will happen. I’m manifesting for an agent offer of representation soon, and am doing everything I can to make it a reality. Even if I don’t, this is far and away an improvement from last time, and it’s important to remember this journey is all about growth and patience. Still, cross your fingers for me, please!

Sending extra sprinkles for your hot cocoa,
Valerie

Note: photo taken in Portland, Maine!

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