The turning point of the year has come and gone. Just a few days into 2015, we’re starting to get the winter weather that’s been held off by the strangely extended autumn – not that I’m complaining, since as a passionate hater of snow and cold, having it be warm (or warm-ish) until Christmas was probably the best gift I got this year.
I decided to take a dose of courage with the new year, and start actively querying agents again for GATEKEEPER. I’d sent out two in June and never heard back from either person. At first I thought, well, I should give them three months to respond, especially since this is supposed to be the slow time of year. Three months went by, and nothing. Then it was time for the wedding, then the honeymoon, and before I knew it, the holidays were upon us. And still, radio silence from the two agents I’d contacted. I know not to take it personally, that silence is a rejection in itself after that much time, but the total lack of acknowledgement reinforced that niggling little fear – one which we all have, I think, to some extent – that I’m not even worth responding to.
Nurtured, that kind of fear can become an oroborous of self-doubt, until you never show anyone anything you do because, like George McFly, you just don’t know if you can take that kind of rejection. It took me six months to remind myself that a bunch of agents might say no to me, and that’s okay, because I’m not writing what everyone is looking for, but if I say no to myself – if I defeat the whole process by not even asking whether it’s something they’re interested in – then my work is never going anywhere. And all the hours, all the love and sweat and early mornings and stolen moments of writing and editing, will sit in the bottom of a drawer. That’s unacceptable, because I believe my story is worth sharing with the world.
And honestly, I think it’s good. Everyone who has read it has liked it, some have loved it. No one has told me it’s no good. Not one person, and it’s been under fifteen or so pairs of eyes at this point. With that kind of generally good feedback, there’s GOT to be someone out there in the agent world who will feel the same way. The trick is just to find that person – which I’ll never do if I never reach out to anyone. So despite my terror of rejection, I’ve reinforced my commitment to getting my story into the hands of an agent who will want to share my work with the world.
Meanwhile, I’m at work on my second novel, which doesn’t have a title yet but which I’m for now calling SIREN. The goal, just like with GATEKEEPER, is 500 words per day, though the holidays have been wreaking havoc on that goal. For the past two weeks I’ve had to bundle all my writing hours into one day on the weekend, in order to get the word counts met by the end of the week. (I’m glad to say that I’ve been successful, so though I’ve slipped a bit from the daily practice, I’m still hitting my weekly targets.)
On one hand, it’s going to suck to go back to post-holiday real life. I’ve also had a bit of a holiday at work, in that I was pulled off all my normal work for two months in order to write an industry book authored by my company – which was like a paid holiday for me. It was work, but it was fun work, and I loved doing it. That project is basically over now, so I’m back to doing the old job, which makes me want to gouge my eyes out or find the nearest roof to leap from, and I’m back to only working 2 days a week from home.
On the other hand, there’s a silver lining in this – the return of the routine means the return of my writing routine as well. And that can’t be a bad thing – as easy as it is to bundle everything up for the week and write 3,000+ words in a single day, it’s better for my mind and my story to write a little bit every day rather than pushing it off and writing once every seven. It’s been especially hard to write these past two weeks because my husband’s been working from home a lot too, and I can’t write while anyone could look over my shoulder or talk to me or have any sound on that could distract me. I’m definitely a “solitude and silence” kind of writer, so even if he didn’t do any of those distracting things, I’d still be thinking about the possibility that he could do them, and my concentration would be ruined even if it was only all in my head.
So, in that way, I’ll be glad to have the routine back. There’s another reason, too, and that’s in getting everything to fit in. It’s hard to do when you’re running an abnormal schedule, especially when you’re trying to fit more in. My husband and I are getting into P90 – we actually started the week before Christmas, but it’s been a rocky go what with all the holiday parties and weird timelines. We’re starting over tomorrow, from the beginning. Now that all the parties are out of the way and we can go back to being home in the evenings, we can get back on schedule. Having back our “normal” days is super important since timing exercise together is so tricky for us – Matt likes to be up late and doesn’t mind not starting exercise until 7 or 8 p.m., whereas I’m in bed between 9 and 10 and I like to exercise before I eat, so I like to be starting no later than 6. It’s a struggle to bring our two timelines into alignment, even for just a 30 to 40 minute workout, so routine is essential.
Every year, at my uncle’s New Year party, my mother brings out the medicine cards and we meet our guide animal for the year, the one who enters our lives to teach us something, in addition to our more permanent guide animals (which I’ve talked about before; see here for that). This year, my medicine is that of the dragonfly.
According to the Medicine Cards book,
Dragonfly medicine is of the dreamtime and the illusionary façade we accept as physical reality. The iridescence of Dragonfly’s wings reminds us of colors not found in our everyday experience. Dragonfly’s shifting of color, energy, form, and movement explodes into the mind of the observer, bringing vague memories of a time or place where magic reigned.
Some legends say that Dragonfly was once Dragon, and that Dragon had scales like Dragonfly’s wings. Dragon was full of wisdom, and flew through the night bringing light with its fiery breath. The breath of Dragon brought forth the art of magic and the illusion of changing form. Then Dragon got caught in its own façade. Coyote tricked Dragon into changing form, and the shape of its new body became like Dragonfly’s. In accepting the challenge to prove its power and magical prowess, Dragon lost its power.
Dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment, and the communications from the elemental world. This elemental world is made up of the tiny spirits of plants, and of the elements air, earth, fire, and water. In essence, this world is full of nature spirits.
If Dragonfly has flown into your cards today, you may have forgotten to water your plants. On another level, you may need to give thanks to the foods you eat for sustaining your body. On the psychological level, it may be time to break down the illusions you have held that restrict your actions or ideas.
Dragonfly medicine always beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which you need to change. Have you put on too much weight, or have you started to look like a scarecrow? Have you tended to the changes you have wanted to make in your life? If you feel the need for change, call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation.
Lots of good stuff there – and timely. There are a LOT of things that I think will reach a breaking point of change this year. Correcting my weight and getting back to better health is one of them; finding something to do with my life that feels worthwhile is another. Both are HUGE changes, and I hope the Dragonfly will help me get through them with grace and strength.
Of course, seeing through the mists of illusion into other worlds could be useful too.
I feel like 2015 will be a difficult year, but not without its rewards. 2014 was creative but passive; this year I want to be more mindful of doing active things – not just writing, but working on sharing that writing with the world, and of moving toward a more satisfying way of spending my days in general – that might be painful in the short term but will ultimately make for a better, more satisfying life.