On Great Expectations

Surprisingly, I’ve never read Great Expectations, though I bet I would like it. (Anyone who slogged through the middle of The Count of Monte Cristo would probably like GE, right?) I experience great expectations every 20 minutes or so. This is usually useful, but the letdown can be awful.

I have been a fount of ideas lately, thanks to a two-week nearly unplugged vacation and a lot of Stumptown Hairbender coffee. I’ve got article ideas, narrative non-fiction book ideas, how-to book ideas, novel ideas, and blog ideas, and I’m putting every iron in the appropriate fire. By which I mean I’m pitching, researching, and writing like crazy. I really want to work on all of these projects, and I really believe in each one. Great expectations, see.

But that letdown I mentioned has been a bitch this summer. Emailed pitches are bouncing back; swamped editors are not replying; agents are sending me personal, very kind rejections.

I really do believe in these project ideas. So I’m marshaling my friends and fellow freelancers for help. Ellen suggested that I ignore the admonition to never follow up with a magazine editor on the phone and just call. I did. I got an invitation to discuss the shape of an article once the current issue of that magazine is put to bed.

Nicole, my marketing pro of a friend, is reading over parts of my book proposal to make sure I’m selling myself and showing that I can complete and sell a book too. I suck at marketing. Nicole most definitely does not.

I’ve even pressed my soon-to-be-sister-in-law Mariah into service as a sample chapter reader. She’s in the target audience for my book. I told her that if she slams my work in her critique, I’ll still buy her a nice wedding gift. Well, nice-ish, anyway.

The result of all this marshaling? Great expectations. Without them, the armies of rejections would get a freelancer down so far she’d never get back up. With that in mind, I’ve got a proposal to polish, a book to edit, a blog post to write, an image gallery to upload …