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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Better Brain for 2012

My writers group is truly a gift in my life. When I joined, an agent handled my work. I came to our meetings and participated in the critiquing. When the discussion turned to submissions--which editors had moved where, what the different houses were looking for, whether or not they accept un-agented manuscripts--I sat back, blissfully reorganizing comments around my manuscript or looking up an author someone had mentioned. I didn't need to worry about editor issues. They were my agent's proficiency. That was his arena, his problem, even though a niggling little voice told me I'd lost touch with a big, important part of the field. Sort of the way you feel when you hand your tax documents over to your accountant thinking you'd forgotten something, but telling yourself that if it really mattered she would ask for it. That's her job, to know what your tax return needs. Right?
I knew it was coming. Life had gotten more complicated and left me precious little room to write. I took up valuable space in my agent's hard drive, I suppose, because I certainly didn't bug him in any way. In fact, I avoided contacting him since our conversations always ended with his asking, "How's that next novel coming?". It wasn't. So in 2011 my agent cut me loose. Without him, I suddenly needed to know which editors have moved where, what they're looking for, and whether or not they accept un-agented manuscripts. And that's not all. While I lolligagged in Agentville, a whole new set of requirements developed involving the other fact of life I had avoided: technological savvy.
Like Dave Amaditz wrote in his blog Weather Woes=Less Motivation??, I've looked at these things for the past year as hills in my way. So, for 2012, I've turned them around, transformed them into learning opportunities. (I'm reading Daniel Amen's Making a Good Brain Great. One of his suggestions for doing so is to learn new things. It doesn't count to keep doing the things you're already decent at). Therefore, in the interest of my brain, holding onto my lovely writer's group, and getting this novel published, I'm relearning the marketplace. I've also signed up for Apple's One-to-One learning sessions. Book trailers are coming up on our group's agenda. I'll have my notebook and my Macbook ready. Bring it on.

submitted by Fran McDowell


  1. Way to go, Fran. I think we all need better brains... And like you, technology is one of those areas I need to continue to focus on.

  2. Yeah, Fran! We're all in this together. Can't wait to check out that book or borrow it when you're done. Thanks for the powerful post and recommendation!

  3. Nice post. I think learning Twitter might be my New Year's resolution. I've put it off for too long!