Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ Shopping Tips for Your Writing

How do we successfully obtain our ultimate writing goal, no matter if the aim is securing a great representing agent/publisher, the just right critique partner/group, or publishing venue (online, regional or national pub, literary journal)? By shopping carefully, of course.

Let's say our Writing Wish (WW) is that illusive, perfect fitting pair of jeans. You know, the go-to jeans we can't do without; the ones we'd grab if our house caught fire. How do we shop for those jeans?

  • We shop, and we shop hard. Even if it takes many long days and visits to tons of stores. Since we wouldn't go to the closest, most convenient store and just grab the first pair we see, the same goes for shopping for our WW. Shop lots, compare, don't be in a hurry. There's less chance of making a bad "purchase" if we leisurely (and thoroughly) see what's available out there.
  • Never buy jeans just because they look great on the rack or someone else. The denim that fits our friend, a fellow blogger, someone on TV or the streets are NOT going to fit our body the same way because we're all made differently. We've got to get in that cramped little dressing room and try on every pair we think might be "the" ones, then face the 360 degree mirror. That's right...research for OURSELVES vs. listening to others' advice exclusively. While other writers can surely point us in the right direction as to a winning agent/pub, short story or poem venue, or crit group, we can't go by their advice alone. 
  • Don't just go with what's popular at the moment:
   Most of the time, we have better luck with tried-and-true brands tailored to our, and those brands/types that have stood the test of time. (This applies to what we write as well as how to get our WW!) Be true to your personal style and taste. So what if everyone's wearing those horrid skinny-legged jeans? The perfect fitting pair for us might make us in the minority (at the moment), but we'll be happier and more comfortable with our own tastes in the end.     

  • Think outside the rack for places you might find that perfect pair of jeans -- online, specialty boutiques (indie and small publishers, smaller journals), going to market (conferences), festivals or events (social networking venues). And don't forget the awesomeness that is hand-me-downs! If a friend has already "broken in" that pair of denims, maybe they'd be a good fit for us too. A personal recommendation or introduction can sometimes work magic.
  • Always read the labels (fine print) to make sure you know what you're getting. This also applies to carefully reading submission guidelines!
  • Finally, and as all good shoppers know, consider the cost. Are the blue jeans you're "buying" within your budget? Have you considered the personal sacrifice demanded in order to walk out with those perfect jeans in hand? If we're not prepared to pay the price (time investment, deadlines, restrictions, etc.), then better to hold off til the budget can accomodate us without stress.

So...what's your perfect kind of jeans or Writing Wish? Mine are below. They fit me perfectly without binding or bunching, and have just a bit of sparkle but are still in the "regular ol' Wranglers" cut. They represent the perfect agent and/or publisher who loves my writing and style. [Unfortunately, these great jeans do not represent my current body shape.]

*Jean photo from this site and this one and this one too.


The Paper Whisperer said...

Great "Jean"alogy! My "go to" jeans are actually polyester stretchers. hahahaha So what does that tell you about my writing? Does my blog make me look "phat?" hahahaha Love YOUR taste in jeans! Have a jean-uinely beautiful day Angelina!! Hugs!

T. Anne said...

Nothing comes between me and my Calvins. ;) What kind of writer am I? Hmm, designer and well fitting!

Kittie Howard said...

If I looked like Dat in those low-cuts even for one minute, I'd be on the floor from shock!

So love your jeans analogy. You really caught my attention. Perhaps you blog later about 'submission guidlines' (hint hint).

Oh, forgot, I love kinda tight, slim-legged jeans that move. Hmmm, gotta think about this.

(Karen G's having a huge wkend blogparty at Coming Down the Mountain.)

lakeviewer said...

Now, this makes sense! What an apt metaphor, shopping for jeans!

Tere Kirkland said...

Why is it so hard to find mid-rise jeans these days? No low-rise agents, er, denims, for me!

Fun post!

Carrie Link said...

Thanks, Angie! Love the advice, the bad jean photo and the new look of your blog!

Angie Ledbetter said...

PW - Poly. stretchers, hunh? Ummm, that you "wear" those so all of your many selves can fit in 'em? hehe

T. Anne - Touche!

Kittie - Me and you both on the bikini jeans! I'll blog on submission guidelines soon. Will check out the link for that blog party. Thanks.

Well, thanky, lakeviewer!

LOL, Tere. :D

Thank YOU, Ms. Carrie.

Kathryn Magendie said...

:-D you are so wise, my friend

Diane said...

Did you get paid royalty checks for all that modeling you did?!?!?!??

Seriously, I am trying not to picture anybody wearing that one pair of jeans and feeling jealous at the same time if they can pull it off. Not fair!

Stephanie Faris said...

I found my agent after another, lesser agent, had me completely revise one of my books. He ultimately rejected it but I realized it was much better now, so I sent it to my "A list" agents and one wanted to represent it. That taught me that you should probably stick with your A list agents...because what if I'd gotten that lesser agent? Would he have been the best choice for my career? Probably not.

Angie Ledbetter said...

LOL, Kat. Have you seen my jean selections? One ratty but beloved and a pair of overalls. ;)

Diane - Yeah, that check's def in the mail! *snort* But being 50, I don't even WANT to fit in a pair of bikini jeans. yay!

Stephanie - Glad you went for (and got) your dream jeans!!

Robyn Campbell said...

Waaaahaaaa my current body shape is not to be put in these jeans. I do love the bottom ones. But alas. My big butt won't go in. ;)

And wise you are, Angie. I love the analogy. You know I'm about to lift off. I know some agent will love my book. Hmmmm, now to pick that right fit. ;)

Kitty Hawk said...

My jeans are comfortable and flared, which probably represents my writing - comfortable with flair (hopefully!)

My writing wish is to finish my novel and have it published. I have zero experience with publishers and agents, and have started blogging - and reading blogs to try and get a handle on them. Although so far it seems to provide more procrastination for me than education! But I have enjoyed reading your blog as a new reader to it :-)

Lori said...

Great analogy. And as always, you keep it so humorous and lighthearted. Wonderful read.

Terri Tiffany said...

LOL This analogy was perfect!! I once bought the wrong jeans (a publisher out of England) and the fit was horrid. So I am now careful to shop around. I want my WW to be perfect!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Robyn - I know you'll find just the right fit!

Thanks for the lovely comments, Kitty, and I LOVE your flaired jeans. Go get 'em!

Lori - Thanks bunches. :)

Teri - Some of us just have to do a little extra shopping and searching, but that'll make finding that perfect "fit" so much sweeter.

Karen said...

Angie, where did you find those funky jean pictures? Ha, mine cover, drag and stretch out to be nice, soft and comfy! ARGH, that sounds like an old slipper. :P

Deb Shucka said...

What a fun and perfect metaphor! Great insights here. Thanks for the brain charge and the chuckle.

colbymarshall said...

I love the "never buy because they look good on the rack" analogy. When agent-hunting, I talked to someone who looked SO good, and probably IS good, but wasn't a good fit for me. I was so sad it didn't work out, but now, I'm glad it didn't, because I found an agent who is the right fit for me. :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Love the old slipper jeans, Karen. LOL Pics from google. (links down at bottom of post)

My pleasure, Deb. :)

Hey Colby! And write on!

Zoe said...

Dropping in from the blog party.

Great post! I will keep reading.

john bord said...

quite comfy in my bib overalls
then I have no interest in agents
then I don't write books
would of liked to of been the photographer of the models
nice metaphor
good after dialog and quips

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