Bird at the Window

Okay, this is very weird.

There’s a bird–very pretty in its fluffy brown, mocha, and tan feathers and piercing red beak.  But, for the past few days it’s been ramming itself into two windows on opposite sides of the house.

And it watches me watch it do that as though very normal behavior for both of us.

Today, in major frustration over my path to novel publication I thought I might have way too much in common with the mentally challenged bird.

It’s very clear the bird has business to attend to in the house.  But he can’t communicate it and even as I stand there looking around the room, trying to figure out what’s in the house that he wants to get at or why the hell he needs to take a path through the house instead of around it, he just keeps ramming away, getting nowhere.

This is where I am in my writing.  Novel writing, anyway.  Something isn’t getting across to agents and editors and I don’t know how to remedy it.  It’s not that I don’t want to, but with disparate criticism, what am I supposed to do?  Whose advice do I take?  Do I simply trust myself and keep querying?  But changing my manuscript–trusting one person over another hasn’t resulted in my books being sold to editors.  Is it a wrong agent match?  Maybe it’s as simple as I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing and never will.

I do write by instinct, mostly.  Not that I don’t tear the manuscripts apart, butchering them in whole and part, splicing them back together or reinventing out of whole cloth.  I might bitch about the revision process but I’ve never avoided it, thought myself above it, but what if it’s just fruitless?  What if I’ll never communicate to the fricking idiot looking at me from the other side of the glass–that thin sliver of barely there glass–what it is I’m doing?

I believe in this book wholeheartedly and will continue to shop it to other agencies.  But today’s put an emormous dent in my will to write another (I’m on number 7.  Don’t think I’m being a spoiled baby giving up after number 1).  And yes, I know all the stories of best sellers requiring 100’s of submissions and all the rest.  I hate to even entertain this type of pouty post because I think it’s bad Karma, sends the wrong signals into the universe.  Because tomorrow I’ll end up back at the computer writing as though I know what the hell I’m doing.

But, for today, for right now, I’m sick of writing for no pay off other than the “manuscripts in the attic for the grandkids” angle.  I’m just tired of it.  I’m sick of being the f’ing brainless bird.


12 thoughts on “Bird at the Window

  1. Might I suggest Its a self publishing website, and I know that youre looking for editors, but there is a fantastic community forum on the site that might help you get some answers. Just a thought.

  2. Thanks Jessie. I’ve heard Lulu is reputable, but I definately want to go the traditional publishing route. I’m a glutton for punishment which I guess is why I’ll continue on this path…thanks for thinking of me.

  3. Hey Kathie…another bird here. I totally understand banging your head on that agent’s door. And I’ve been butchering and slashing the last few weeks. Keep at it. The bird who doesn’t try, is sitting in the nest, while the other one soars. I’m right there with you. Kathy

  4. Kathie, I can understand your point of view, but as a bird who feels like she hasn’t even gotten off the ground yet, I think you’ve accomplished so much so far. Seven books? Amazing. I don’t have any wisdom or advice to impart (JUDY SCHNEIDER – HELP US!!), but in the dark, fruitless, bird-banging-window hours, this Feb. 23rd post from Miss Snark might help. [Sorry, can’t figure out a way to just put the link in…] The reason I had this handy? I emailed it to myself. Hang in there.

    When to give up

    At what point does one simply give up? When does one say to oneself “I can’t write, and I’m wasting my life doing so?”


    Publication may be nice but it’s not the only reward.

    The very act of writing is its own reward. It teaches you (if you pay attention) how to see the world through different eyes; how to wield language skilfully; how to organize a persuasive presentation.

    You recognize that writing is a creative art and brings you joy.

    You recognize that doing something difficult over and over again, and trying your utmost to improve is a worthy endeavor even if you fall short of your goal.

    You recognize that these moments of despair or frustration or fear are part of the process, and will make the achievement of your goal just that much sweeter

  5. You already are a success. You’re a wife, mother, and friend. You write a blog that many people enjoy reading.

    You should be gloating – not despairing!

  6. Kathie,
    I feel your pain. I’m at the same stage in my writing, and I feel very much like that bird, too. In fact, we have the same problem with birds at my house. We have a bird that visits every spring and bashes into the windows of our sunroom. It drives our dog nuts.
    Hang in there. If you believe in this book, then keep pushing on. It will find the right home. Until then, keep the faith, my friend.

  7. Anti-wife and Kristine,
    Thanks for the support. Anti, you made me smile and Kristine, you made me laugh. Nice to know we’re not the only people with whacko birds. Very nice comments to wake up to.

  8. Kathie, I can only imagine your frustration….you’ve been at it for so long, putting your heart and guts into it, only to come up “empty.” But antiwife is right — you are more than your list of publications!! You’re already a success in so many ways, and a constant source of inspiration to lots of us….while you may be banging against a window (how weird for a bird to do that, and at Kristine’s too! — my birds are boring over here), I haven’t even taken flight yet. At the rate I’m going, I wonder if I ever will! At least you’ll have that manuscript in the attic for the grandkids….I’m hoping to pull that much off at some point. Keep at it!

  9. You’re totally allowed to gripe about it! I love the manuscript in the attic for the grandkids take on it!

    You and that bird, keep plugging away, and one of you will get through the window. The other one, however might crack its face and leave a bloody mess on the glass!

    : )

  10. good luck with your writing and don’t despair!

    I wrote an article that was published about 2 years ago in a local journal. Some old man called me at work today to tell me he enjoyed it and ask how I went about doing the research for it. I just had to share because it was so random but weird how your writing, no matter where it shows up, can have an interested reader.

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