Teaching is a think-on-your-feet profession. The unexpected happens on a regular basis and you have to throw the carefully-planned lesson out the window and react. Sometimes you cringe, shake your head, and thank heaven that tomorrow is another day. But every once in a serendipitous while, the unexpected turns into a teachable moment.
On Saturday, I posted "Living in a Half-assed World," and the world found me. It was very exciting. Two different agents and an editor posted comments. Granted, Mr. Bransford's comment expressed displeasure at my sucking up accusation, but fame is a fickle mistress. After the initial euphoria at entering the #queryfail conversation, I began to ponder the fact that one heat of the moment blog post had garnered more attention from the publishing world in 24 hours than my query letter had in four months. More pondering...then epiphany! I stumbled on to my own teachable moment.
So what did I learn?
Voice, voice, voice! Your voice has to come through in your writing. You also have to have something relevant to say, and you need to say it in tight, to-the-point writing. But voice has to be there. I know this. I TEACH this. Looking at my query with a critical, honest eye, I realize I haven't accomplished this.
Picture me banging my head against the wall. Why am I just figuring this out? The query letter is a high stakes piece of writing. Maybe I've been so consumed with dotting the i's and crossing the t's that I've lost myself. Yeah, that sounds lame even to me. I'm going to pitch the whole thing and start over.
One more reason to love #queryfail...it set into motion a series of events that led to a teachable moment for me. And really, wasn't that the point?