Thursday, February 4, 2010


For those who don't know I hurt my knee back in November and haven't been able to run or play soccer for three months. It's hard not being able to play with my teammates and slowly I'm feeling more disconnected with them because you bond through experience and right I'm not experiencing anything. Plus I've gained like ten pounds because I usually run to exercise and I can't run.

Well on Tuesday after getting on the scale I was determined to go work out. I went to the gym and rode the bike, which I hate. I did the eliptical, which I'm not sure was good for my knee, and I walked on the treadmill at a high elevation, but the need to run was too much. So I ran for two minutes then I went out to the track and tried sprinting, stopping short and turning the other way.

My knee felt fine on Tuesday night, but on Wednesday during the day I could feel it stiffening up. I was considering going to practice last night, but at the last moment decided it would be a good idea.

Because of being impatient, my knee now really hurts today.

Same can be said for writing. There are times during the writing process when impatience rears it's ugly head. I get tired of editing. I want to start experiencing the query process. I want to feel the excitement of what could be. But I did that once already (a few years ago) and when I look back on what I sent out. It was no wonder I got rejected. So I've waited, learned and edited my book.

Now I'm not saying that you need to edit forever. Eventually you need to put your name in the hat and see what happens. It's hard to know when you've reached that point. That's what I'm struggling with right now, having the confidence to push that send button. I can't help but second guess myself and I'm constantly re-reading chapters.

For those who have queried, how did you know you were ready?


strugglingwriter said...

Good luck with the knee. Have the doctors been able to give you anything for it?

Matt said...

When I first queried I had re-written and revised seven times. It was a complete story and I'd answered all the questions and tied up all the loose ends. Still, no takers. I thought I was ready because I thought I was finished. Something I'd never felt before about my writing. Well, now that I've got a few conferences under my belt, I think I'm on the right track again. We'll see. Query two will wait for a few more re-writes though.

Patti said...

SW: I go to a sports med doctor next week. I might have to have surgery.

Matt: I think I was in the same boat as you. I thought because I finished the book and had gone through it once I was done, but so not the case. Getting closer though.

Jenn Johansson said...

I'm sorry your knee is hurting again. I suffer from impatience too...especially in writing/editing. For me, it's taken a very long time and more edits/rewrites than I can count to finally feel like my story is great. It's really hard to tell when it's ready, but I think it's a trial and error as well as a personal decision.

JKB said...

I was at the end of my third revision with the book and started. At some point you've just got to start.

I will say making the query itself took a loooot of time.

I hope your knee feels better soon?

K. M. Walton said...

I hope your knee feels better!

I knew I was ready to query after getting nearly 100% positive feedback from my beta readers, and prior to that time, I had taken my manuscript through as many revision as it took to get that nearly 100% positive feedback.

Carolyn V. said...

Oh Patti, I totally know how you are feeling. I'm feeling it too. I want to be done and get the ball rolling.

I queried my first book (a long time ago) and it wasn't until after I mailed it out that I realized it wasn't ready. Oh well. =)

Paul Greci said...

Great question, Patti! I had a couple of false starts querying but I learned a lot by that process and got some feedback that pointed me in the right direction.

I guess this time around I started querying agents when an editor (yes, I queried an editor b/c I thought my book would fit her list) requested my full ms after reading 30 pages and a synopsis, and I won a contest with a 15 page submission.

I was a little gun shy until I got those two positives b/c I'd been thru the query process twice before and received a lot of requests that all turned into rejections which I interpreted as having a good query letter and story premise but the writing not quite being there.

I hope your knee heals up soon. I had knee surgery in April and am back to running and am experimenting with pushing myself more and more. It's hard to know how much you can do until you do too much. Catch 22.

Elana Johnson said...

First, I can't believe you actually LIKE to run. I only run if there's a pack of rabid dogs behind me.

Second, I think it's just a feeling you have inside. You know you've done everything you can for the MS. You've sent it to betas, incorporated their feedback, polished, resent, re-polished.

Then you send it.

Tamika: said...

Great question! I think I'll scan the comments for all the varied thoughts.

Patti said...

Jenn: I agree it's a personal decision and you need to trust your instincts, which I need to be more confident in.

Jen: Just jump in huh?

KM: That's a good lipmus test.

Carolyn: I want to get going, but at the same time I'm a little afraid to.

Patti said...

Paul: That's good advice. I'm trying to do more of that. I might need surgery. I'll find out next week.

Elana: I think I'm pretty much there. I'm just twitching above that send button second guessing myself.

Tamika: There's definitely been some good suggestions.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I think I queried too soon on my first novel, but we all go through it and learn from it.
I've never been good at being patient.
Hope you feel better soon!

Jessica said...

I was impatient too. After a few rejections. I decided to pay for a critique and then, once that was done and I'd edited again, I decided to start querying. Based on my lack of success, I probably wasn't ready but the way I see it is you can't know until you try. If you get rejected, it's okay.
:-) We have more stories in us. Sometimes you just have to jump in order to know.
You'll probably be ready soon. :-)

I'm so sorry about your knee. Take care!

Tina Lynn said...

You're ready. Do it. If you're anything like me, you'll edit it until you die. If it's been through multiple revisions and you've received feedback and worked that stuff in, you're ready. Go! *nudges* Stop punishing the knee though. Hope it gets better sans surgery.

Lisa and Laura said...

It's always a leap of faith. It's just one of those things, you know? You've got to at least dip a toe in to see what the water is like.

This is a great comparison! Love this post.

Susan R. Mills said...

I feel your pain. I'm in the same boat. I have no advice. But you are right. You can't edit forever. At some point you have to just put it out there.

Jessie Oliveros said...

An author told me once that at some point you are not making it better, you are just making it different. SEND IT.

patti said...

Sorry about your knee, Patti. I've played tennis/jogged for YEARS and mine are starting to protest.

Hmmm. When is it right to query?
For me, paying for a professional editor was huge. I used Camy Tang, who REALLY helped me firm up both my query and my proposal. When she said it was right and I prayed over the timing, it went out.

jenniferneri said...

Well, I knew there was nothing left that I could work with in the novel. I had worked my query for literally a year, and it was time. I think somehow you just know. It's not about fear, that would always stop me, it's about assesment. Good luck with both!!

Cammie said...

I've just given you a Superior Scribbler Award ...

Patti said...

Karen: I did the same thing. I don't want to make the same misake.

Susan: We'll have to jump in together.

Jessie: That's a good way to look at it.

Patti: I've heard of a few people doing that.

Jennifer: Thanks for the well wishes

Cammie: Thanks for the award.

Heidi Willis said...

Patti - this knee injury is dragging on forever! I can certainly see why you're impatient and pushing it. I hope the doctor has good news for you!!

I had a few people I trusted read my book and give me feedback, and when it was mostly little stuff, I knew it was probably ready.

It still probably wasn't perfect, but I think it never is.

Tiffany Neal said...

In the same boat right now (with the querying, that is). I finished my YA MS, but am almost too afraid to query. I've been contemplating it so hard and have been overanalyzing every thing. This post just may give me the inspiration I need to go ahead and send one out...
I'm new to this blogging deal, come by and check me out! :)

Patti said...

Heidi: My knee is driving me crazy. I had a friend tell me once that if you can get your manuscript to 80% you're doing good.

Tiffany: Thanks for coming by. I can totally relate about the fear thing. I'll come check you out.

giddymomof6 said...

Oh yikes! My hubby is a runner as well... and the best thing to do with a hurt knee is stay off and take it easy. For MONTHS. If you don't you'll be really in pain, or looking at surgery.

Hang in there--and yeah, I'm impatient too. Really impatient, so I'm learning to just relax and take things slowly. *sigh*