Thursday, January 14, 2010

Of Good News, Bad Days, and The Underpants of Confidence

My life is a pendulum swinging from elation to misery and every shade of emotion in between. This is not a surprise to any human, but I'm feeling it acutely in my writing life right now.

Good news! As you may have seen on Twitter or Facebook, I not only entered Nathan Bransford's Contest, I was lucky enough to get Honorable Mention! That was a lovely surprise, I must say, and thanks to Kristan Hoffman of #YAlitchat for bringing it to my attention. I was oblivious, and might have never thought to check back. If you're interested in reading the letter that got the Mention, I'm going to post it as a separate blog entry when I'm done here.

Bad news. The agent I fell in love with back in December sent me a form rejection. So, apparently my crush was meant to be unrequited. *sigh*

So, I was already feeling pretty low this morning as I was starting a new quest for potential agents when I realized something. I had a big fat mistake in the second paragraph of my query letter. (Especially painful considering the first paragraph is one sentence.) I've already sent this query out to at least three agents with the mistake in it, and it was no surprise to get a rejection from one of them already. It happened after a furious period of revising, during which I moved a sentence, but somehow left half of it behind in the previous paragraph. So the second sentence of my big story paragraph is a fragment AND it gets repeated down the road. I am feeling like the world's biggest idiot. And, unfortunately, there is just no coming back from it. I can't resubmit the query. I can't even send a note of apology and beg for mercy because part of the point of queries is to look professional.

You know that phrase, you never get a second chance to make a first impression? Well, yeah, that's the problem. Any action I take from this point is only going to reinforce the unprofessional first impression I've already given.

How did this happen? I didn't read through it before sending it off. I was so sure the beginning was solid, I just left it alone. Lesson learned: there is always time for patience.

In light of this fantastic display of idiocy, I knew I was going to need something to improve my day. So, I turned to my most trusted method of ensuring a turn-around: The Underpants of Confidence.

Perhaps I'm the only one whose mood can be affected by her undergarments, but I doubt it. Most women probably have some triage system for underwear: ones no one can see, ones everyone should see, ones only one other person should see, ones I will only wear if everything else is in the wash... I have a few favored panties that fit great, don't give me a wedgie and fit under my jeans. These are The Underpants of Confidence.

I knew today, the U of C's wouldn't be enough, so I started with a shower and freshly shaved legs. Then, it was jeans straight out of the dryer, and a shirt that I fully intend to mourn for a year after its demise. I even picked uber comfy socks. This is my version of the power suit.

Instantly in a better frame of mind, I was ready to attack the day. And guess what. It worked!

More good news! I got a request for a partial manuscript today! Wahoo! The Underpants have worked their magic once again!

Today's Lesson:
Patience and more careful attention.

Today's Recommendation:
Identify and revere your own Underpants of Confidence. They are magic.

- Liz

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Mary Brebner said...

Wow--no wonder you've run through the gamut of emotions! Congrats on the partial request, that's wonderful and really exciting *fingers crossed for you*. I know what you mean about the query. I got a not-so-gentle comment that my query not looking so hot, after I already submitted it to an agent (luckily it was just one!). So, I bit the bullet and will be submitting it to the Query Kick Around on YALITCHAT next week. (scared!)

Love the "Underpants of Confidence"! Because there's nothing worse than a wedgie or stretched-out elastic.

Good luck to you!

Kristan said...

LOL about the U of C. Congrats on the partial request! And yay for being the one to bring the good news! :D

Kelly said...

Love the underpants theory!! I will try it next time I'm feeling down and rejected!!

jasouders said...

Oh, missed this the first time around, but this was FUNNY. ROFL. I can't say I've ever used the underpants theory, but it's something to think about. Go you for putting it out there.