Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

A New Year

Wow, where did the old one go? The sad truth of getting older is that time does indeed go faster the longer you’re on the planet. It seems like I just got used to writing 2011, now I have to get used to 12. Such is life.

First, I have to say how much I appreciate all of you for stopping by and spending a few minutes with me a couple times a week. I had no idea what to expect when I started this blog back in May. I haven’t exactly rocketed to the tops of the charts, but that’s okay. If I woke up and found myself in the Nathan Bransford zone, I’d probably panic and go into hiding. Small is good, for now. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to meet you all, and get to know some of you fairly well. I hope I can continue giving you good reasons to come here as 2012 rolls on.

Now, I’m not generally a resolutions kind of guy, but I can tell you what I hope to accomplish for 2012. And because these things require me to take action and be proactive, well, I guess they’re kind of like resolutions, aren’t they? I don’t think they’re all that different from many of you (or at least, those of you who aren’t agented/published yet). So, here we go….

Get an Agent. Pretty obvious, right? I’m not planning the Renegade’s path of self-publishing. I’m going Old School here. So, to that end, I have to do a few things:

  • Finish the damn book. Good news – I’m working on it.
  • Find the right agent. I’ve been scouring the agencies off-and-on since the summer, making a list, checking it twice. I have more work to do on this front, but I’ve been laying the groundwork.
  • Killer Query. Like the Great Agent Search, I’ve been playing around with this one off-and-on for a while. Likewise, I’ve been trying to create a decent synopsis, too. Schnikies, what a pain!

Write a New Book! Hey, I’m working on that one, too. I’m a little disappointed to say that it still hasn’t grabbed me in quite the way I want. It could be because Parallel Lives is still hanging over my head: it’s being read, feedback is coming in, and so it’s still occupying a fair amount of front brain. I hope that’s all it is.

Improve, Improve, Improve. Let’s face it, there’s always room for improvement in our writing. I am trying to identify my weak points – true weaknesses, not just the sort of self-doubts that give this blog its name – so that I can correct them. This is a life-long process. So, again, a couple of steps to take:

  • Read, read, read. I love to read. I just need to read across a broader spectrum. This will not only help my writing, it will also help me figure out where I fit in in the broader spectrum.
  • Pay attention to the critters. I have taken the huge step of putting my work in the hands of some very capable readers, who are giving me some very good, honest feedback. Now it’s time to pull that together and use it.
  • Crit! I’ve seen people say all over the place (well, mostly on Absolute Write) that critiquing the work of others is a great way to help two people: them and you. It’s absolutely true. There’s nothing quite like raising a red flag on something in someone else’s story to make you think, “Hey, didn’t I do that in mine, too?” Pot, meet kettle. At the same time, it is nice to feel like you’re helping someone. 

So, that’s it. Pretty simple, right? Of course, the overarching goal is to land a deal, sell my book, and get it on the road to publication. That won’t happen on its own, I’ve got to make it happen. And I suppose the real big resolution for 2012 is this: Be resolute. There will be bumps and grinds and disappointments along the way. I’ll have to learn from them and be able to move on. Thanks for being here and sharing your time and your thoughts with me, and I’ll be back on Friday. Have a great week!

15 Responses

  1. Some great goals there, Jeff. As far as critiquing goes, I've learned as much seeing how others in my critique group critique each other compared to how I did it. Very insightful.

  2. My God! I could written this! I mean, I have both the query and multiple synopses, but everything else, yeah, that's me, too! Maybe we can keep each other company on our journeys in 2012. I know I'd certainly like that.

    I also know that, once you've done all the things you want to Parallel Lives, you will find an agent in no time. That's how good it is. For your query, work with CPs and query critique blogs and workshops just like you are with your book. That helps a lot. And good luck to you, Jeff. I absolutely know it will happen for you.

  3. 'Be resolute' is really a great resolution. I think I'll steal that, too. Good luck with all of your other goals!

  4. I predict you'll get snatched right up by a great agent! Can't wait to read what you come up with next! Hope this year brings much success!

  5. I love your goals! It sounds like you have a really great handle on what you're going to accomplish, with very specific ways to accomplish them. Throw in the BE RESOLUTE, and you are going to have it made! Not that you'll need it so much with your great plan, but best of luck with everything!

  6. Awesome plan for 2012! And you're so right: Accomplishing the ultimate publishing goal is up to you. I've always said that publishing is a lot about perseverance.
    Best of everything to you in 2012!

  7. I think as long as our goals rely on us working to improve our writing skills, we are winners regardless as to whether we hit the resolutions or not. I know what you mean about the year passing quickly. I seems like she year went as fast as a snap of the fingers.

    I hope this year is a very successful one for you!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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