Tag Archives: writing

2010 Year In Review

Somehow it is difficult to believe that today is the last day of 2010. Time seems to fly really fast lately. Even though I don’t set up goals, I still like to look back and see what I have achieved over the period of one year. Could I have achieved more if I’d set goals and specific measurements? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I don’t limit myself by goals. There is a certain feeling of freedom and of endless opportunities when there are no measurements set in stone.

More Writing, More Reading, Less TV Watching

I am very pleased with myself because this year I wrote so much more than usual. I wrote five chapters of the book and queried some agents (bad idea! exciting time!). The query of unfinished, unpolished, unwritten novel attracted the attention of a couple prominent agents. Nothing happened after that but I concluded that I can come up with some creative plots, ideas and characters, and, yes, I can write. Not very humble, I know, but hey, two agents wanted to see my chapters.

I wrote a short story and submitted it to more than twenty magazines. It never got published but it was great just to write a complete piece.

A Random Thought (Not A Resolution) for 2011: Keep writing (maybe an e-book this time) and reading!


In 2010 I started three blogs and closed them down. After a few blogging debacles, I finally found myself in my current blog. I joined the Yakezie challenge, met quite a few great bloggers and made some friends. My blogging direction emerged, and The Kitchen Sink became a lifestyle blog with emphasis on personal finance. I became a staff writer @Beating Broke. Do I consider all of this an accomplishment? Yes, I do.

The most popular posts of The Kitchen Sink in 2010 (according to the unique page views):

1. Five Reasons To Stop Being Frugal And Get A Life
2. Beware of Men Counting Pennies
3. How A Debtless Aloysa Became Buried in Debt
4. My Life Without Christmas
5. Seperate or Joint? Mine or Yours?

A Random Thought (Not A Resolution) for 2011: Keep blogging, keep supporting my blogger friends and the Yakezie network.

Paying Off Debt

We were able to pay off $13,000 of our debt. This is a huge success because my spending habits are not the best, and we still love to take trips and go on vacation. Could it have been better? Of course. Could it have been worse? Sure. What matters in the end, we did the best we could and paid off a good chunk of debt.

A Random Thought (Not A Resolution) for 2011: Keep paying!

Healthy Food Choices

This year we improved our food shopping habits significantly. In the past we used to run to the store right after work and decide then and there what we were going to eat that night. Now, we do grocery shopping once a week and come prepared. We go to the store with a list of groceries based on a menu that we come up for a week instead of just having a vague idea of what we are going to eat.

We cook more at home, we reduced the number of out take outs from three times a week to once a week. Huge improvement.

A Random Thought (Not A Resolution) for 2011: We do need to reduce our sugar intake, eat a little bit less red meat and a little bit more fish.

Curb Those Shopping Habits

My spending habits are not the best but I was able to keep them under control this year. Most of the time. J The results speak for themselves: paid off a good chunk of debt, saved up for vacation, stayed UNDER budget during Christmas consumerist frenzy. Could have done better but a certain long and simply gorgeous pair of boots threw me off balance. Oh well… we do live only once.

A Random Thought (Not A Resolution) for 2011: Shopping my own closet a little bit more can be very helpful in 2011.

Happy New Year Everyone! Let all you dreams, hopes and wishes come true. Let all your goals and resolutions be achieved. Salute!

Aloysa’s Reading Picks

There was an interesting discussion on the Yakezie forum about how everyone is keeping up with reading each others blogs. I have to say that keeping up with reading is not that easy. But we all try, and overall we all are doing really well.

But if you think that you could have missed some of the great articles, make sure to read some of the great posts from this list:

First Gen American suggested a writing experiment – an embellishment on 12 Days of Christmas. Some of the great bloggers participated and wrote:

12 Days of Christmas – Writing Experiment @First Gen American

The 12 Sips of Christmas @From the Pint On

12 Days of Christmas @Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

Walking in the Winter Wonderland @Invest It Wisely

12 Email Spammers of Christmas @Every Day Tips

Other interesting, funny, thoughtful and simply great articles in PF blogosphere:

One of the bloggers might not be able to retire by 40. Find out why: Retirebyforty Biggest Obstacle #1 @retireby40

You have debt and you are thinking about tapping into your 401K. Smart or stupid? Read  Tapping Your 401K Plan: The Pros and Cons of Taking Out A Loan @Spurce Up Your Finances

Want to get a job but don’t want to work in an office? Be careful and know How to Avoid Work At Home Scams@MomVesting

Planning on giving a special gift to a special someone? Read Homemade Holiday Gifts That Won’t Collect Dust@Frugal Confessions

Have some fun with Funny Money Comic 7, Passing on Lattes @Money Reasons

Don’t like to tip? Like to tip? Express your opinion after reading Is Tipping Getting Out of Control @Squirrelers

Wondering how to handle a homeless person when he or she asks you for money? Read Should You Give Money to Beggars and Homeless @Get Happy Life

Dreaming about winning a lottery? Organize your thoughts while reading How To Deal With $10 Million @Ultra High Networth

Feeling lazy lately? Lazy Pays Pretty Well @Minting Nickels

Like cartoons? Love personal Finance? You will love Samurai’s Jack Guide to Personal Finance @Saving Money Today

Hate being rejected? Does rejection discourage you? A must read – You’re Rejected! How I Use Rejection To Motivate Me Every Single Day @Financial Samurai

Holiday stress is getting to you? Find out Tips To Reduce Holiday Stress @Frugal Zeitgeist

Are Your Characters Rooted For?

BrownEyed is a freelance writer from her home in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia. Originally hailing from a software background, BrownEyed took the plunge and traded her full-time job in software for a freelancer’s life in writing seven months back. Since then, she has worked on many assignments like articles, e-books, websites, and newsletters. Recently, she signed a 3-book deal as a ghostwriter. Before going to bed, BrownEyed enjoys two hours of reading non-fiction, memoirs and literary-type or YA fiction. You can find her musing and reflections here<http://www.browneyedmystic.wordpress.com/>

Lately, I’ve been reading Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. The book is Miller’s self-inspection with quirky anecdotes and outlandish characters. While the book revolves around different aspects of Miller’s life, and tries to make his otherwise boring existence into a meaningful, interesting narrative (and in my opinion, succeeds in it too), this is not the only reason I quote it. Miller has hidden writing tips about characterisation in his book which I totally adore. At times they are in-your-face, but at other times you are on a scavenger-hunt of sorts. He contends how a character sometimes protests with the writer’s plot and how, at times, due to the character’s incessant protests the story suffers. What’s interesting is an analogy Miller draws between God and humans. What if God is the all-knowing writer and we, the characters of his story? And what if he threw hurdles in our paths and we kept protesting that the story be changed? What if, just as our characters give us a headache when they don’t comply with the plot, we are doing the same to God, our life-story creator? Why not experience life the harder way then, face challenges, take up the path less travelled, and evolve like we want our characters to? That’s a fascinating thought.

Characters in our stories will never be rooted for if they just sit on the couch and, well . . . sit on the couch. Characters won’t be cheered if they continue taking the easy way. It is true and if you don’t believe me think of your favourite book. Does not the protagonist want something? Moreover, does not the protagonist wantsomething and overcome a conflict so that they get what they want? They do, right?

Whether your reader will love your character and keep turning pages of your book or put your book down to browse through the TV channels depends on you, the writer. Chances are they will lose interest in the story because the character is too shy to participate, too scared to move ahead, too ignorant to have any goals. An excess of anything that’s preventing your characters to dive in the wild waters is to be cut off. It could be an excess of riches, or an excess of adversity. In both the cases, the character may be unmotivated to take any action. They would want to continue in their abode of sameness, where unforeseen events are best avoided. You need to shake them up, and make them embrace change. Give them a shock of their lives so that they have to get off their butts, take action and overcome a sort of conflict within or without and evolve in the process.

Even the tiny cells in our body change every six months. Every old cell in the skin and bone dies and a new one takes its place. Change, not stagnancy, is the key. Characters too must go through such a change. For this, the characters must have some goals and inner drives.

Say for example Jon has a goal to avoid social contact. He has issues with self-respect and he doesn’t want to make a fool of himself in front of a crowd. Worst, he stammers when he talks. Jon will avoid a party or a crowd at any cost. Now, put Jon in a strategic position when he has to face a crowd. How about his boss choosing him to give a presentation in another city? The boss has a last minute commitment and he can’t go. He asks Jon to cover up for him. This is known as an “inciting incident”. It causes a stir within the character. What will Jon do? How will he face the bunch of executives? Will he succeed? It is important to note that though Jon may fail at the presentation, he hasn’t failed at his life. In fact, he has been brave enough to experience a conflict. The readers will identify with Jon. They will love him and want to be there for him, depending on how he faces his failure. The readers want to see him trying at least. They want to vouch for him. Give the readers a chance to support your character. Let them sympathise!

In the end, your character must emerge as someone who’s different from what they were when they had begun. Facing the conflict changes them in some substantial way. It may be emotional, physical or both. If your story is great, it will bring about some good change. That’s the golden rule.

How I Deal With Criticism

The following is a guest post by Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Her blog covers saving, spending, and the fun stuff along the way.

Aloysa recently wrote a post, Food For Thought, about criticism as it pertains to writing and her natural reaction to it. It caught my interest because some of her experiences were so close to some of my own.


She first mentioned that moment when you finish a great piece only to find out that not everyone thinks it’s as amazing as you believed.

I don’t know how many times I type up a post with a huge smile on my face since, to me, the post has heart, is interesting, and will wow their socks off. Then I’ll type up a quick commentary piece -something I like but don’t actually expect to see really build any momentum.

The self-proclaimed uber-post will inevitably be my least popular post of the week. The fluff piece will have the most comments, links, and praise. This was a downer for me in the beginning until I saw the humor in the situation…

People appreciate controversy and opinions just as much or more than 100% original personal posts. It’s the way of the world and it makes me smile. I post everyday at BFS, 3-4 times a week at my other two blogs, staff write every Wednesday, and write guest posts every week or two as well. Commentary is way easier and faster for me to write than the heartfelt personal stories. This means that I can please my audience with a ton of faster posts while throwing my artsy posts in as well. That lets you enjoy yourself and allows me an artistic outlet at the same time. We just can’t beat that, right? :-)

Response to Criticism

Aloysa also mentions that she reacts defensively when her writing is criticized and she doesn’t agree. I think that is human nature. I am 27 years old and can control my emotions way better than in my teens, but I am light years from not being defensive when something I thought was awesome is “attacked”.

I’ve learned to hide that reaction a bit, but it is still there. My first response is almost always to think the other person is smoking mushrooms or something. They must be wrong because I’m obviously right. Then I remember that I am only the center of the world in my own head and try to keep myself from calling them names. It works 99% of the time. ;-)

Learning to Listen

I think this part of Aloysa’s post was dead on, “Try to dissociate yourself from a person who is giving you his/her opinion and look at criticism as information. Take from it what you consider useful without giving up on your dream.”

I’d only add that some of my most interesting conversations happened when I took the time to really listen to criticism and replied logically. A few times, I’ve been completely correct. Sometimes they are. Most of the time, we are both right about our own opinions and just didn’t think about it like that before. That whole “agreeing to disagree” thing is a cliché for a reason. :-)

What do you think? Have you found a way to deal with criticism in a constructive manner?

Food For Thought

Writing is a very personal, intimate process and sharing it with someone requires a lot of courage. You write your best piece, putting into it everything you have: your talent, your life, your dreams and your hopes. You are immensely proud of it. You send it to your family and friends. What comes back is a big surprise: someone doesn’t understand your ideas; someone thinks that the story could have been told better; someone suggests a better usage of words.

It seems no one shares your feelings of delight about your written piece ( a blog post, a short story, a chapter in your book.) You listen to everyone who has something to say – anxiety is building up, frustration is mounting – and you start to wonder if they know so much about writing and blogging, why don’t they sit down and write a blog post themselves.

Finally, after endless discussions, you start to question your writing and wonder if you are wasting your time. It is extremely difficult not to take anything that is being said about your writing personally, especially when it is coming from a family member or a close friend. These people know you the best and can hurt you the most.

As a writer and a blogger you have to acquire a very thick skin, take criticism as food for thought and analyze it. If you take it personally, it will be disturbing and damaging. It will create anxiety. It will ruin your inspiration.

I remember how while writing a short story, I came up with the expression “the ugly spirit of the conversation.” A family member read the chapter, hated the expression, and strongly recommended that I remove it from the text. My natural tendency when given advice that I don’t agree with is to become defensive and emotionally upset. Of course, immediately, I tried to convince the person that they were wrong. We had a heated argument and we both retreated with hurt feelings.

Writing is a form of art. It gives us freedom to create. Even if my expression was awkward, it was of my design. So, “the ugly spirit of the conversation” has stayed untouched for the time being.

Try to dissociate yourself from a person who is giving you his/her opinion and look at criticism as information. Take from it what you consider useful without giving up on your dream. Remember, the writing is yours. Don’t give up your ideas or your style. Don’t give up your freedom to create. Most importantly, don’t give up your ownership. Not everyone will like what you write. Not everyone will understand it. But ultimately everyone will have something to say.

How do you deal with criticism?

Reading Picks of the Week

Every other Tuesday I will be posting a number of my reading recommendations. These are the articles I read during the week. They made me think, laugh, dream, discover something new and learn something different:

Green Energy: How Much Can You Save @Every Day Tips;

Pizza, Beers, Frat Parties, Credit Card Cosigning @Wealth Informatics;

The Yakiezie Challenge is Open to Everyone @yakiezie;

How We Became Reluctant Landlords @GetRich Slowly;

Thoughts from a First Generation Immigrant @Musings of an Abstract Aucklander;

Thrifty Sucks – The 30 Day Compact @Live Real Now;

Travel Trails: Niagra Falls @Cities of the Mind;

The Social Network Movie Review @World’s Strongest Librarian;

If you Enjoy Financial Obligations, Don’t Read This @Invest It Wisely

Munich, Day One @At Large in London

I also want to say Congratulations to BrownEyed Mystic (who describes herself as “a dreamer, a writer, a thinker… a mystic“) on her 6 months blogoversary (I think I‘ve heard this word before)! I am very happy I got to know you, Browneyed.

Happy Readings, Everyone!

About Aloysa, The Kitchen Sink and the Yakezie

About The Kitchen Sink: the blog celebrates a two months anniversary in October. I am getting to know a lot of you, my loyal readers. When I started this blog I was not sure where it will take me and what I was going to write about. So many subjects I wanted to discuss. A lot of questions I wanted to raise and search for answers. So I created The Kitchen Sink and decided it will be about:

– living a life filled with writing and blogging;

– exploring personal finance;

– trying to live a healthy life;

– traveling, researching, learning and reading.

Quite a wide blog niche you probably think. That’s exactly what I like about The Kitchen Sink. It breaks the rules of the blogging world, does not define a niche and does not limit me to one or two topics. It is a lifestyle blog that is scattered and full of unpredictable things. Just like our lives are.

About Aloysa: Aloysa is my blogger’s name. You know a male name Aloysius? Well, Aloysa is the same name; it’s just a female version of it that I came up with. I am an accountant by day and an aspiring writer and a blogger by night. I work in finance industry and deal all day long with numbers, budgets, debits, credits and journal entries. It is fun stuff but sometimes it gets to me. To get away from it all, I created this blog.

Before all of this happened, I was born and raised in the Soviet Republic of Lithuania (call it the Soviet Union) in a family of teachers. My grandmother taught Chemistry and Biology, my mother was a teacher of Russian Literature. My grandfather (a character worth at least a few blog posts) was a teacher of English and German languages. He should have taught me English but he never did. I guess, he never could imagine me moving to the US many years later.

Our life in the Soviet Union was not all that bad. Like in every culture and in every country, there were good things and bad things. In 1990, when I was close to graduating from the high school, the Soviet Union collapsed and The Soviet Republic of Lithuania became The Republic of Lithuania. It happened very fast: one night everyone went to sleep in the Soviet Union and woke up in the different country with a new government.

Everything was turned upside down. Russian language became a language of the enemy. Russian schools and Russian community struggled to survive in the new hostile world. About five years later, in 2000, I moved to the United States.

About the Yakezie: it is a personal finance and lifestyle blog network that was formed awhile ago. Their motto is “Selflessly Helping Others.” Sounds great to me! The group created the Yakezie Challenge (you can see their badge on my blog) for bloggers. The challenge requires the following:

– write quality content;

– post 2-4 times a week;

– selflessly promote others.

All of these are required in order to challenge and hopefully increase bloggers’ Alexa ranking. Before I stumbled onto the Yakezie I never even heard about Alexa. Apparently it is a very important ranking in the blogosphere. The lower your number (closer to #1), the better it is for your blog. I started my blog two months ago and my ranking is a whapping 2,693,805.

I joined the Yakezie Challenge yesterday. Let’s see where it takes me in six months.

Final word for my readers: I hope that my eye-opening and jaw dropping content will make you come back to The Kitchen Sink again and again. It is a potpourri of intellectualism, culture trends and out-of-the-box stories featuring smart and stimulating plots… Are you still with me? Good! I am joking! But I do hope you will come back, read, enjoy and subscribe. Without you, my readers, this blog would not exist.

You will find in The Kitchen Sink:

1. My book reviews;

2. Ramblings on life, writing and inspiration;

3. Interviews with great, empowering and talented people;

4. Personal finance discussions (I am an accountant after all);

5. Articles about health and fitness;

6. Guest posts that bring a new and fresh perspective.

I want to say a special Thank You to my most loyal and committed readers. Through The Kitchen Sink I met a lot of interesting, talented and inspiring people from all around the world. I hope to meet even more now as I joined the Yakezie Challenge.

You gotta love blogging for the opportunities it gives!

Thank you all for your support, encouraging and moving comments and kind feedback.

Please follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to this blog through email or RSS.

Interview with the World’s Strongest Librarian

He is a hugely popular blogger. He is a successful writer. He has written and published the novel, The Knot, and currently he is working on his memoirs. He reads a lot. He writes a lot. He has an amazing sense of humor, an entertaining writing style and a very articulate thought process. He promised to never bore his readers and he keeps his promise. He calls himself “an aspiring strongman, bookish nerd , twitchy guy with Tourette’s Syndrome, devoted family man, tearer of the phonebooks and humble librarian.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Josh Hanagarne, The World’s Strongest Librarian.

First, let me thank you for participating in this little project and generously giving me your time. I really appreciate your willingness to answer my questions and feed my curiosity. Thank you! Josh, I am sure that this question was asked before, but anyway, why The World’s Strongest Librarian? It is a pretty bold statement you know…

There are a few reasons.1. I am a librarian. I’m surprised at how many people assume that it was just a gimmick, but I have a master’s degree in library and information science. I’m a professional researcher and I’m pretty good at my job.2. I’m strong. I’m really strong. I am a passionate strength trainee and I do a bunch of weird fringe activities like bending nails and tearing decks of cards.

The idea for the blog originally came up because I kept losing track of the notebooks where I would record my workout numbers. Someone said I should start a blog that I wouldn’t misplace. Like a lot of things I’ve done, it was completely impulsive and I didn’t think anything of it.

As I started writing about some of the challenges I have with my health disorder–Tourette’s Syndrome–I realized that “strong” could mean anything I wanted it to, which is convenient since other librarians are always writing to me and wanting to compare deadlift numbers.

You blog logo says: Get Stronger, Get Smarter, Live Better… Every Day. What does it mean for you? What do you think it means for your readers?

For me it means that I know how to make myself happy–by getting better every day. If there is a scientific explanation for happiness in my life it is simply the science of measurable improvements and progress. The easiest way I know to stay upbeat is to improve myself. I would hope that it means the same thing for my readers.

A lot of people don’t reveal their identities on the Internet (me included!) because they are not comfortable writing personal stuff and posting their picture. You openly talk on your blog about yourself and you are brutally honest. Have you ever had any reservations about it? Any regrets?

Yes and no. My reservations are usually after the fact when I get nasty hatemail. I write for myself. I often don’t know what I think about something until I write it down. But I gained a following without really meaning to. I’m not going to tell people “Hey I write for me so leave me alone if you hate what I’m doing.” My blog is an extension of me. Sometimes I’m worth knowing, sometimes I’m not. This is reflected in the responses I get to posts.

Your first book The Knot was self-published. Why did you choose a self-publishing route?

I wrote The Knot a few years ago during a time when I couldn’t speak much, due to a treatment I was getting for Tourette’s Syndrome. I never intended to publish it, but once I had a blog with a bunch of readers, I thought I might as well put it out there for fun. That’s the whole story.

Seth Godin noticed your blog and hooked you up with his literary agent. Now you have a book deal! It sounds like a fairy tale for so many of us waiting to be discovered. What do you think Seth liked about your blog-story?

I actually turned down the first book deal I was offered. It was a book I didn’t want to write and I’m not motivated by money. I’m currently working on the manuscript for another round of submissions through my agent.
As for what Seth saw in my nonsense–you’d have to ask him. I have no idea.

What does your family think about your blog? Do they read it?

My mom loves it. My dad doesn’t really care unless I tell a story about him. My siblings check in from time to time, but they’re busy and they know a lot of the stories I tell. I do get a fair amount of traffic from the search engines, however, and my relatives are constantly searching for terms and finding the blog that way.

You write a lot! Where do you find time to spend time with your family, work your full-time job, write for your blog and most importantly work on your memoirs? Do you sleep?

I don’t sleep much. Lifelong insomniac, compounded by the Tourette’s fidgets. I write really fast (when the stakes aren’t high, like on my blog) and I have a job where I am on a desk waiting for people to talk to me. I’m able to get most of my writing down on my lunch break at work. When I get home, I try to be home and not worry about writing. When I’m under the gun for deadlines, I just get up earlier. When I’m working on the book, I have to be alone and have things quiet. That’s getting harder and harder to come by.

What inspires you to write, what drives you?

Writing helps me make sense of my thoughts. There is also a lot of joy for me in simply creating something. I can point at my writing and, for better or worse, say “That wasn’t here before me.” But mainly I am driven by how fun writing is and how terrified I am of boredom.

Here is an unfair question for you – kettlebells, your blog and writing mean a lot in your life. If you had to choose only one of these three things, which one would you pick and why?

Writing. The better I can think, the happier I am. The more I write, the better I can think. There are lots of ways to get strong and healthy. Kettlebells just happen to be my favorite. I could always just start a new blog if I didn’t have the current one.

Let’s talk about boredom. You gave your wife a ring with the inscription that said “I will never bore you.” You made the same promise to your readers. Why do you think people get bored with their own blogs and/or their writing?

I don’t know that everyone should blog or write. It’s a very healthy process for me, but nobody should feel bad if they hate writing or blogging. I know a lot of people who get bored or frustrated with their writing, but they’re writing because someone told them they should.

Besides that, writing–especially writing a long project–can be lonely and thankless if you do not enjoy the process. It’s a grind. It takes patience and commitment, two things that are lacking in many people and that I am constantly working on in myself.

What are the most important things (name three or four) that beginner bloggers can learn from you (because we all want to know what we are doing right or wrong with our blogs)?

Ignore all of the advice you get from experts and just experiment. When someone tells you that you “should” do something, just test it out and see if you believe it. If it doesn’t work for you, try something else. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to blogging. Just about everyone I know is making it up as they go along. There is great opportunity for anyone with the curiosity to try things out. The easiest way to stand out is simply to do the opposite of what just about everyone else does.

Whether I’m writing, lifting weights, or doing anything else, I’m never trying to be “the next so and so.” I only care about being superior to the person I was yesterday.

Do what you love and I believe you’ll be rewarded. Try to follow someone else’s advice to the letter and you’ll never get as far as you could have if you were running your own experiments.

Agent Trouble

It happened again. This time I am not sure what I am supposed to do. Do you recall that crazy story when I emailed my query to twenty agents pitching my unfinished novel? One agent rejected, one wanted to see the first chapter and no one else answered, remember? So, I am back to the same nightmare. Two days ago I received a request from another agent. This time it is not just the first chapter, but five!

When I opened that email and read it, I was excited. I was very proud of my story and my query. My story is good enough to attract attention! My query rocks! Then I realized that I DO NOT HAVE A BOOK. My shoulders slumped. I sat down and wanted to weep. So, what do I do now? Do I get into the agitated editing state as I did before? Do I file away this precious request, finally write the book and re-query? It is a tough decision.

What are my chances of getting a request for a full manuscript? Really slim. But it is possible (or so I like to think). If I do get a request for a full, then what? Do I write a very humble and apologetic letter confessing all the idiotic mistakes I committed, all the naive dreams I had, and ask, beg, pray for time to finish the book? I can only imagine what will come in response… if anything at all. Do agents have some kind of a “stupid authors” list where they write down names of writers like me for their future reference?

I don’t know what I am going to do. I might edit the pages and email them. I might just take my time, finish the book and hope that when I re-query again, I will get some interest.

Meanwhile, I will tell you this:

1. Don’t be stupid and don’t query an agent before you actually finish your book.

2. For your own sake, finish that book!

3. Learn from someone else’s mistakes (mine!) instead of learning from your own.

On Writing and Publishing

I am a writer (aren’t we all?). I am not recognized, not published, not represented, not … you got it. I am “not.” But I do love writing (don’t we all?). I started three (!) novels and never finished them. Why? My novels bored me. I became extremely impatient. I wanted to finish my first novel within one month, my second – within three months. Finally I became more reasonable and gave myself six months to finish my third novel. As you can guess, I never finished any of them.

However, I wrote a query letter, describing an electrifying and powerful plot of my third novel, and emailed it to twenty agents. The fact that the novel was unfinished, unwritten and unedited was conveniently omitted. Three days later a very respectable agent asked me for the first chapter. That’s when it hit me. What was I thinking when I sent the query out? Obviously, I was not thinking. I was dreaming.

I feverishly edited my first chapter and emailed it to the agent. Then I panicked. What if the agent liked it and wanted a full (nonexistent) manuscript? What if I blew my only chance of becoming a published writer? You are not going to believe me but I really, really hoped that the agent wouldn’t like my first chapter. Thankfully, she didn‘t.

After this agent searching debacle, I decided to revamp my approach to writing novels. Instead of attempting to write an epic book, I wrote a short story. When it was edited numerous times and polished, and edited some more, I sent it to twenty-five literary magazines. Today I received my twentieth rejection. I am disappointed. I am sad. But I am still hopeful. Five magazines have not rejected me. Yet.

I think that one day I might post here one of my favorite excerpts from the short story I’ve written. Maybe not one but two excerpts. Maybe you will even like it.