Bento box lunch with food made to look like wrapped presents

Birthday Boy Bento by Gamene /CC by 2.0

So, Commenter Jackie is curious about my thoughts on blogging for one full year.

Hmm, has it really been a year?

I’m going to start my new writing workout regime on a little slower note. 250 word blogs three times a week (hey, I don’t want to pull a writing muscle). Maybe a little public humiliation if I don’t live up to my promise will spur me on.
-June 5, 2009

The Empty Pen has changed quite a bit from that initial concept, however, it’s done what it was supposed to: keep me writing. *ahem* It does seem that the spring and summer are my lazier months. Or, perhaps, I can blame the lack of public humiliation. Where were all those rotten tomatoes for not writing three times a week?

Writing The Empty Pen has also made me look at other blogs. I wasn’t much of a blog reader until I tried writing one. The wealth of writing blogs, from doodlers to published author to agents to editors, is wonderful.

Does any of this make me a better writer? I doubt it, but it certainly makes me a more informed one. My first query letter will suck beyond belief, but at least I’ll know that.

I follow Evil Editor, Query Shark and, more recently, Phoenix Sullivan…all take queries submitted by blog followers and say why it would be rejected.

What have I learned?

1) Don’t talk about yourself unless it’s relevant. It’s all about the story.

2) Don’t bother with backstory. It’s all about the present conflict.

3) It’s hard. It’s very hard.

While a query letter shouldn’t yet be a glimmer in my eye, I wonder how mine would stack up. I know I wouldn’t  escape the snarky replies. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t end up on SlushPile Hell (fingers crossed).

The more I read these blogs, the more I wonder if I should start writing my query letter before Julia is finished. I’ll need the time to perfect it…and I wonder if it would help hone some of the story sections that are getting away from me. But that seems to be the backwards way of doing it.

The fact that I’m thinking about query letters shows how far I’ve come in one blogging year; the fact that I’m still struggling with self-doubt and writer’s block shows that not much has changed.


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