Thursday, December 21, 2006

Afraid to blog

So, try this one on for size....

For the last few days, I've been afraid to blog. Afraid to announce by my presence online that I'm alive and active. Because here's what happens... I write a blog post, right. And then, invariably, someone (sometimes a client, sometimes a prospective client, sometimes someone demanding to know why their query letter is not yet read) writes me an e-mail, reproaching me about my lack of having answered them. Because obviously, the fact that I have written a blog post means that I have ignored their e-mail, which is ever so more important than anything else in the world. Sometimes the e-mails are nice and polite, and those are fine; more often than not, the e-mails are not nice and polite, and those make me angry.

Now I know this is all part of the world; I know this is part of my job. I know that my e-mail inbox has 80 some-odd e-mails in it, all of which I need to answer. The e-query folder (even though I DON'T LIKE e-queries) is over 200 e-mails right now.

But for pete's sake, I am on vacation now! I would like to relax. I would like to enjoy the holidays with my family. I would like to get the time to do some writing of my own done. I would like it to snow, purely so that I can go out and tromp around in it like a little kid, although that doesn't look likely for NJ.

I am tired of feeling badgered because I write blog posts, especially when I'm on vacation and not working. I LIKE writing in this blog. It's an outlet for me; I get to get some writing done and hopefully entertain people, as well as providing some useful information. I LIKE my blog readers. I MISS interacting with you guys on a daily basis, when I don't write blog posts. I wanted to write something today about Carl Sagan, but I didn't; similarly, I wanted to ask some serious questions about introducing dogs and cats to each other; I wanted to put up the kitten pictures. But I've simply been afraid to do so because I don't want to be attacked for
writing and not working away being a busy-beaver agent. Something is not right with this picture.

Oh, and if you haven't managed to yet tell, by the tone of this post, I am tired and stressed. Life has not been ideal, lately--I am not having a fun vacation.

I am almost recovered from my cold, which is good. My mother, however, is quite ill, and is going to have a surgical procedure on Friday morning. My boyfriend's mother (who's practically family at this point) has recently had a cancer diagnosis, and although they've caught it in early stages (we think), she still needs to have surgery in January. I know these are not earth-shattering events, but in my life, they take precedence.

So please, if it's not too much to ask, I would like to enjoy the rest of my vacation. I would like to write my blog posts in peace. If Santa brings presents to good little Jewish girls, do you think he'll give me this? =)


barista brat said...

sorry to hear about your mother and boyfriend's mother. i hope they both recover soon.

glad to hear there are kitten pics on the way, though!

BuffySquirrel said...

At any rate, these e-moaners didn't get you from Santa--they don't own you!

Don't bring the kitten straight into the dog's territory if you can avoid it. Give the dog something that smells of the kitten first. Then introduce them on neutral ground.

And remember--kittens can climb where dogs can't. So they always have a getaway plan.

kiwi said...

Jenny, you couldn't be more accommodating as an agent. Don't let inconsiderate people make you a victim. You're allowed a holiday ... take it and enjoy. If some folk find that unacceptable, then that's their problem. Leave it with them.

Besides, this is your blog, nobody else's. No one has a right to stop you posting whatever you please, and they sure as hell have no business berating you for not answering their questions ... gods, as if you have not got enough on your plate.

People, we’re guests here. In this business it’s a privilege to garner a response from a literary agent, not a right. And Jenny goes well beyond the call of duty. Come on, cut her so slack, she’s human just like the rest of us.

December Quinn said...

My mother, however, is quite ill, and is going to have a surgical procedure on Friday morning. My boyfriend's mother (who's practically family at this point) has recently had a cancer diagnosis, and although they've caught it in early stages (we think), she still needs to have surgery in January. I know these are not earth-shattering events, but in my life, they take precedence.

They sound pretty earth-shattering to me. Sending my best wishes and positive energy to both of them. I sincerely hope they both get better.

Sorry you're having such problems. You deserve a break. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for taking one.

Nonny said...

Wow. That's crazy. Agents are people and do have lives. I can't imagine getting one's knickers in a knot because an agent wrote a blog post instead of answering emails. *scratches head*

I'm sorry to hear about your mother and bf's mom. I hope everything goes well. *sends healing thoughts*

Jodi Meadows said...

Doode, Jenny, fie on those who think you should abandon all life! Fie! You deserve vacation and time with your family (and my best wishes to both your mothers). And Zoe! Doode, cats need all the attention ever (according to Kippy, who is staring at me with her belly up). Oh, and a boy. Gasp!

There is no excuse for people to write you rude emails just because you want to post on your blog. (And I do wish you would blog more--I check it at least [embarrassing number redacted] times a day hoping that you've posted. Which might make me creepy; I'll keep you updated how that develops. ;)

*sigh* I hope your vacation gets better.

chisem said...

Good morning Jenny:
My wife, the light of my world, has had several serious surgeries, along with a serious battle with cancer. These are difficult times that demand you fix your eye on the future, and the happiness and normality that lies there.

My lovely Martha has survived all these problems, and I believe that prayer had a lot to do with it.

So, with your permission, we will put you and yours in our prayers.

Don't let the complainers of the world bother you. They will always exist. Personally, I sent you an email query letter and received a swift reply, so as far as I'm concerned there is little basis for their complaints.

And finally, Schyler sends his best wishes to your kitten. If you're going to introduce another animal, now is the time to do it while the kitten is young. Big Sky is now more than two years old, and very territorial. Any animal who comes into his home is unwelcome; but, humans are welcomed, and petting is a requirement, along with a liberal dose of long, silky black and white hair.

As you do, we love our cat. Always had a dog before Big Sky found us at the animal shelter, and graciously agreed to let us live with him. Treats first thing in the morning, long hours in our lap, and he's my assistant writer, often curling up in the chair next to me or walking across the computer, as your kitten seems to do. They're fun.

Happy Hanukkah and a happy, prosperous and health New Year's to you and yours.


Kimber An said...

Sorry to hear about the mothers.

Do yourself a favor. Just don't read the emails. Don't open. Ignore them. It will be good practice for if you're ever a mother. If it's not bleeding or on fire, it's not a priority. Your family and peace of mind are the priority.

Lon said...

Hey Jenny, don't let the bastids get you down. They're the ones should be worried about what Santa will bring, not you.

PS I have it on good authority that Santa is an equal opportunity gift-giver. ;) Hell, these days, he's even running a union shop!

Hope the rest of your vacation is peaceful, enjoyable and filled with good memories.

Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful holiday and be with your family!

resurrectedwarrior said...

Gah. I'm sorry things have been cruddy for you! I suggest following Kimber's advice. Ignore them. If someone sends you a hot-headed email, delete it as soon as you realize what it is. Don't read it all the way through. You're on vacation; you shouldn't have to deal with work.

As far as introducing cats to dogs . . . I'm afraid it was the other way around in my family. We had a yellow lab (named Kitty) and then found and hand-raised a kitten (named Mouse). We introduced Mouse to Kitty very early to get them acclimated to one another. I think it worked fairly well, because they play together now (well, actually they pick on each other a lot, but they've never hurt each other). So . . . I suppose the best thing would be to introduce dogs as soon as possible, and to introduce a number of different dogs. We recently took Mouse with us to my grandmother's house and he did not get along with her beagle at all!

Berry said...

So if these folks want a reply immediately, give them one: "No thanks!"

James Dashner said...

Jenny, I personally think you should make it official that you don't accept email queries, and delete them.

Man, that was easy.

Catherine Avril Morris said...

Oh boy, Jenny, it does sound like you're having a stressful 'holiday.' I really hope your mom and Chris's mom are OK soon and pull through all of this. I'll be thinking of you all.

Ben S. D. said...

Please provide me with the e-mails of those inhuman individuals berating you for not reading their goddamn e-query during your vacation.

I'd swear, if it wasn't a criminal act and if it wasn't the holidays, I'd hunt them all down and throw 'em a beatin'.

I understand writer desperation. Trust me on that. But there are limits and boundaries in all our lives that vastly out-pace and supersede that desperation. And if you're not capable of recognizing those boundaries, you're not worthy of a response, or any attention at all.

As for you, Jenny, all my best wishes go out to you and your loved ones. This season can magnify everything, including the tough reality of life, but all that matters, ultimately, is which magnification you wish to focus on. ;)

BernardL said...

Just keep writing the Blog posts whenever you want. Imagine how Miss Snark would answer those impatient E-mails, and give them something similar in your own voice. As to introducing dogs and cats, there are cat killer dogs to be wary of. Of the dogs I’ve owned, only one was a cat killer. I adopted the all white mutt when she was running around by my shop. She was the greatest around kids and people, but you could not turn your back on her around a cat. The colds this year are the most brutal I remember, and I’ve been around a while. I hope good health returns for you and your family.

Don Freshour said...

Enjoy your time off and enjoy your new cat. Have two of them and they each have their own place in my life. Tigger sleeps above my head, on my pillow, lots of nights. Blossom sleeps at my feet.
Happy Holidays, Don

Anonymous said...

I hope both mothers find themselves in good health come 2007. Everything else can and should be ignored. Jordan

Yasamin said...

Hey! Shouldn't you be on vacation!? instead of wasting your time working and such... you need to be writing more blog posts for my entertainment!!

aw honey never let others bother you with their words. from what i hear, you're an outstandingly hard worker so enjoy the time you have off and I'll light a candle for your family. :>

Kat A. said...

When we introduced our puppy to our 2 year old cat we:

1) kept them in separate rooms but allowed them to get near the intervening door so they could smell each other

2) kept the puppy in his crate while the cat roamed and sniffed around the crate with impunity

3) finally let them be together under supervision

Of course, at the time, the dog and cat were the same size, but now that the dog's fully grown, he still knows who's boss :-)

Happy holidays and best wishes to you and your family.

Anne said...

I don't usually leave random comments like this on strangers' blogs, but this post really touched my heart.

These past few weeks leading up to the holidays have been particularly stressful, more so than in other years. With all the going-ons in my family right now, it's all I can do to keep up with assignments and projects. Fortunately, everyone I'm working with has been more than understanding. But I can imagine exactly the kind of hurt you're feeling should less-than-kind emails start popping up in my inbox.

This is your vacation, luv. Enjoy it with the ones you care most about~*

heidi said...

Being an agent is a job. Jobs are, for the most part, "9-to-5" things. So what if sometimes it's more 5(am)-to-9(pm)? You still have time off, and you're allowed to do whatever you want on your time off.

Including posting to blogs.

Do not fear the blog and feel free to Snark those who think you're strawbricking.

Bernita said...

The inconsiderate sods can stuff it into their personal dark space.
Your blog. Your time. Your heart.
Our prayers.

eleora said...

I echo what everyone else is saying: you are probably being too nice to people who aren't following the directions ;) E-query folks who sent against your preference should expect to take last priority--it's only fair to those who pay postage to send and pay attention to your preferences. Don't feel guilty! (speaking as one with an over-active sense of guilt)

Don't be afraid of completely ignoring these people who are badgering you (the mean ones) or sending them instant e-jections once you are "back" from vacation ;) because who wants a pest as a client?

Enjoy your holiday as best you can considering the circumstances, and God bless!

Kim said...

Don't let the Scrooges get to you - concentrate on taking care of yourself, your loved ones (both human and furry), and enjoy the vacation. Life is too short and too stressful to not take a breather when you can and those idiots who think the universe revolves around them can go scratch!

(takes deep breath and hops down from soapbox)

That said, enjoy your time off with the newest member of the fam, keep up a positive attitude and thank you for sharing so much with us.

Happy ChristmaHanukwanzikaa - to cover all bases! :)

kis said...

You know, hon, if I were you, and had it posted in my submission guidelines in several places that I didn't like e-queries--especially if it's because they're hard on my eyes--I'd just delete them without reading. And anyone who reads your blog, where you have stated why you don't like e-queries, shouldn't be bitching that you haven't read theirs. The freaking gall of some people's children.

I'm planning to query you--when I get my shit togther, that is--and when I do, it will be by your method of preference, not mine.

cm allison said...

I'm sorry it took me a few days to catch up on your blog (been busy studying hooks on Miss Snark's website) but i want to say "Phooey" on those who criticize you for taking breaks and posting in you blog. I would MUCH rather you be fresh and eager to read my query than burnt out and ready to reject anything that comes across your e-mail. My "day job" is accounting, I couldn't do that without breaks to refresh and see errors I might not catch if I just plugged away determined to get through the pile. So "stuff" the complainers.

Enjoy the time off!

Tess said...

I can't believe people have done that!!! Like you don't have a life?

I'm so sorry to hear about both your mom (hope the procedure went well) and your bf's mom.

Please don't let the idiots of this world get you down.

The Home Office said...

I read agents' blog for insights that might be of use to me as a writer, or at least entertaining. Too often agents fill their blogs with Solzhenitsyn-esque litanies of the mind-numbing tedium of 20-hour days spent dealing with non-responsive editors for unappreciative clients. The slush pile grows like bamboo in the rain forest, threatening to cut out all light and means of escape. You never succumb to that. (You wander in that direction from time to time, but always stay on this side of the swamp.)

Agents of any genre are not required to work 24 hours a day. If spending a few minutes a day on your blog passes for recreation for you, do it. (Alleged) Authors who would too stridently protest a little lightening of the spirit wouldn't seem like much of a loss as a potential client.

Julie Wright said...

Never worry over the whiners. They should be working on new material rather than pining over manuscripts already submitted. Blog away. Never let a source of stress relief be robbed from you. Everybody needs down time. Enjoy your vacation.