Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'd Write This, But...Oh, Look! A Cloud!

Playing on the iPod: Ray Lynch, something from "Deep Breakfast"

I was gonna translate the Ten Commandments from the original ancient Hebraic today, but after yesterday I think I'm burned out on religion for the moment. Instead let's consider something near and dear to my own heart: Procrastination.

Oh, look! A cloud!

What? Oh yeah.

If you read the Absolute Write bulletin boards (and I do, man, I do), you'd be quick to come to the conclusion that most writers have Issues with this thing. Generally, though, they seem to have trouble actually writing. This has never been an issue with me; most of the time I can't hardly stop. (As I once told an ex-boss, "Hell, no, I'm not working on the book at the office! I go to the office to get away from the damn book!") Where I get stuck is in actually doing something with the stuff I've written. You know, like trying to get it published and all that.

Okay, I had a tragic experience with this as a youngster; my agent dumped me to run for Congress. For a while there I thought I had a new agent but that Didn't Work Out (getting an agent is like getting someone into bed; you make promises, send presents, go to dinner, develop wild crazy expectations of the other person that neither of you can ever fulfill...) Still, that was quite a while ago and I've done batshit nothing about finding a new agent, or publisher, or--or anything, except write more. I've somehow come up with the idea that somebody else should do this for me. Like, I dunno, an agent or something. Now there's a concept. Get an agent to get an agent.

It's better than it was, I guess. I used to get this terrible crippling fear even when I sat down to write letters to agents. Back when I drank, I was in the habit of knocking off a few cold ones before I even sat down at the computer. Which worked, after a fashion, but it played hell with my digestive system. Now I just sit there, shake like a leaf, tell myself "this too shall pass," and it does, and I write the letter. Or I would if I were writing letters instead of procrastinating. Which, uh, I'm not. Oh, look! A cloud!

Seriously, this has the potential of going on for years, maybe even the rest of my life, if I don't Do. Something. About. It. Immediately. I'm just not sure what. I mean, there's no point in randomly writing to agents and publishers. You gotta do market research and figure out who represents/publishes the stuff you're writing. You gotta know people who know people who can introduce you to other people who can tell you to whom you're best off sending letters. So of course I have to do all that before I can start writing letters. Except I haven't done that, either. Well, I have, but I don't feel like I've done enough of it. I don't feel like I have my finger on the pulse of the great throbbing vein that is Media. If I don't write to Exactly The Right People I'll be wasting my time and, worse, theirs. I need a nice tidy list of exactly to whom I should write so that when the rejection slips start rolling in (as they always do) I'll have a Next Option.

It ever occur to you that perfectionism might be another way of procrastinating?

Oh look! A perfect cloud!

Okay, okay. I've done some research. I can do more research until the cows come home but in the meantime I gotta crank out a letter to somebody, somewhere, asking if they wanna read my stuff. So here's my solemn pledge: I, Jen Ster, do hereby promise to write to at least one agent and at least one publisher on or before Sunday of this week, that is, the 25th. If I fail to do so, I will immediately post a list of everyone I've ever slept with, including dates, incriminating details, sex toys used (if any), angry significant others involved (if any), and whether or not any mind altering substances were used and if so, which ones.

Now that'll make dull reading. I'll do it, though.

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