Nathan Bransford, Author


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dealing With Frustration

Today in HTRPITFONBTTLOABTW...

Confession time: I'm having a frustrating day. But hey, it completely goes with the territory. This is a frustrating business. There are more books than slots at publishing houses, and that's the case now more than ever. Frustration happens. It's the nature of life in the book funnel.

It's also just built into the business. When you hear about a publisher jumping from $2.5 million to $3 million in an auction for a celebrity book, it's easy to think, "Uh... that publisher just nickle and dimed my client and refused to give them even $1,000 more when they really deserved it. And they passed on another project because they didn't want to take a risk on a debut. But they won't even blink at jumping $500,000 in an auction for a book about Paris Hilton's chihuahua?" (Okay, it is kind of a cute dog. Also I'm kidding, that's not an actual book. Yet. UPDATE: Oops! Yes, it is.)

And then of course, there's the aforementioned rejections, bad reviews, negativity, and strange whims of fate.

Depressed? Don't be!

Here's the only way to deal with the frustrations of the publishing business: don't become fixated on the publishing business.

You'll. Go. Mad. if you place all of your eggs in the basket of publishing, following the ins and outs, letting it consume your entire being, and living and dying by your rejections, reviews, and what mean anonymous commenters are saying about you on any given day.

It's soooo easy to let publishing become an all-consuming force in your life. It takes so much time to write, and then there are the blogs to follow, the agents to research, the publishers to keep track of, the industry news, the rejections to track... it takes a lot of time. Combine that with a day job and there aren't many hours in the day left.

But it just can't be everything.

The best way to deal with the frustrations: ignore it for a while. Take a walk! Spend time with your friends and family! (Remember them? It's okay to ask them to remind you what their names are. They'll just be glad to have you back.). Take up a second, less frustrating hobby, like sunflower photography. Better yet: start rooting for the Sacramento Kings to see what frustration really feels like. The publishing industry has nothing on being a Kings fan.

If you find yourself becoming down in the dumps about your prospects or the business or the state of things: It's probably a sign you're spending too much time focused on it. It's perfectly okay to tune out for a while. When you clear your head and come back: all of a sudden the industry will magically seem like a place of hope and possibility.

Because the difference between seeing opportunity and frustration in this business is all in your head. It's just a matter of how your brain is looking at it that day.

Please share your favorite method of distraction in the comments section!






178 comments:

Dara said...

For me, it's playing on the Wii. More specifically, playing Animal Crossing :P

Also, watching movies helps as well as old episodes of Gilmore Girls. Something about that show just makes me forget about the frustrations of life. Maybe it's because I'm so focused on following the fast paced dialogue between Rory and Lorelai. Who knows :P

Kat Harris said...

For me, it's searching youtube for really bad videos from the 80s.

There's nothing more entertaining than ABC and the B-52s. Well . . . :-)

Beezer the First said...

A few frustrated friends and I started a happy blog. Taking time to post things there, and visiting them as frequently as needed, is really, really soothing.

http:www.happinessontap.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

There actually is a book about Tinkerbell Hilton. http://www.amazon.com/Tinkerbell-Hilton-Diaries-Tailing-Paris/dp/0446694304

Does this frustrate you even more?

Kimber An said...

Dark.
Chocolate.

However, that may only work for the female of our species. Dunno. Mountain Dew works for my Heroic Husband. Try that.

Anonymous said...

Looking like a female John Wayne right now. Was so frustrated I decided to go for a ride (on a horse). To bad you couldn't have suggested a WALK two days ago!

Now off subject, if you have time. On a query letter, is it appropriate to leave everything about yourself off, if the only asset you have is a large chest? I don't think that is going to get me very far with most agents!

Heather said...

I focus on my writing. Maybe that's lame, but when I have something out on submission, instead of looking through reports about what is selling and what agents are picking up, I just focus on my next book.

That way, I figure if this book doesn't sell, I can maybe sell the next one and then some agent might be able to sell my old stuff too.

I enjoy my positive world bubble (painted with cynical stripes).

abc said...

Interpretive dance. Home alone. Turn it up and move. Lately I've been preferring that David Byrne & Brian Eno album. I hope my neighbors don't see me.

Ink said...

Seriously, go watch the first thirty minutes of Saving Private Ryan and remind yourself that it could have been your generation charging up that beach. Perspective is a beautiful thing.

My best, as always,
Bryan Russell

Loves2Read said...

I like to read. Y'all should try it, it's a great way to escape.

Ash D. said...

Methods of distraction?

First, like Dara above, Animal Crossing for the Wii! Oh, how I would move into that video game if it were possible! Lazy days of picking and selling fruit, fishing, and mingling with the laid-back animal villagers.. ahhh.. It is THE BEST.

Second, I like to indulge in a bowl of some sort of hot fudge chocolate thing (or brownies, or cookies, etc.) while watching reruns of Dawson's Creek on DVD.

Third.. Oh goodness. I'm glad none of you know me as I am embarrassed to admit this hobby of mine... I like to make fan videos!! There, I said it. I make fan videos of my favorite fictional couples from my favorite daytime and primetime soaps and publish them to youtube.

So.. there you have it. Sometimes I actually have to pry myself away from those things to get any writing done...

Confession is good for the soul, right? :)

Anonymous said...

x x

Patti said...

I do anything to be away from the computer. My favourite is playingy soccer and watching my kids play basketball.

Lisa Schroeder said...

I think in some ways, that's why it's good I still have the day job.

As far as entertaining distractions, Friday Night Lights. Love it, love it, LOVE IT! Riggins can make anything better.

Thomma Lyn said...

I hike regularly in the mountains. It rejuvenates me on all levels and keeps my head on straight.

Another favorite activity: playing my piano, getting swept away by music. When I return to earth, things look better again. :)

And cats. There's nothing like cats: unconditional friendship, purrs, warm fuzzies, and they give me the gigglesnorts with their antics.

Anonymous said...

Let's make the rich celebrity slobs richer. Why not?

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

good blog, Nate. I get frustrated every once in a while, but I gotta keep my cool or I'll go CRAZY!!!

Anonymous said...

Primary Responsibilities, maybe. Yeah, that's it. Responsibilities fit nicely in the Distraction Class.

Bane of Anubis said...

Second what Bryan said...

The day I got laid off, my biggest fear was telling my wife (particularly since I'd told her there was a 99% chance I was safe only two day before - yeah, I know I jinxed myself) - she took it a lot better than I expected... and of course knew how to put things in perspective:

she'd just seen the CT for a 26 year old female who had metastatic cancer and rightly let me know that there are far worse things than rejection.

And yeah, there are a select few people who are more fortunate than most of us by far, but I'd definitely bet a fat load of cash I can't afford right now that most of our fortunes are far better than the majority of people across the world, many who don't have the luxury or time to even dream of pursuing dreams.

Of course, rejection and idiot celebs still suck :).

Rick Daley said...

My favorite method of distraction is reading Celebrity Memoirs, especially about their spoiled pets. Love. Them.

Just kidding. What I really do is post comments on blogs.

Dara said...

Ash D, I would move into that game too if I could. I believe my house in that game is bigger than where I live now :P

And I also make fan videos on YouTube too, although I haven't been able to make one in more than a year. *Sigh* I miss that...

Chuck H. said...

Honda VTX1300, full tank of gas, and a long and winding road.

Hey, I'm no longer a lurker!

Kristi said...

Sounds like being a Kings fan is equivalent to being a Kansas City Chiefs fan...seriously, how many years can a team say they're "rebuilding?" Aaah...maybe next season.

Methods of distraction: Playing Mario Party on Nintendo w/ the hubby and kids (I know, we're old-school and don't have a Wii yet). Actually, doing anything with the kids is a complete and refreshing distraction.

My other recent distraction reveals my extreme level of geekitude. My husband and I don't watch TV at all...BUT...on a recommendation, we recently ordered the new Battlestar Gallactica series on Netflix and talk about distracting. It's "hey, maybe we can put the kids to bed early and stay up til midnight so we can get in another episode so we can mail it back and get the next disc" distracting. Scary, but for any other sci-fi dorks like us, it's amazing! :)

Marilyn Peake said...

Nathan -

You are wonderful. I really believe it’s best to keep at least one eye on the optimistic side of things because that’s how you’ll spot the trail that leads to success. As you’ve said, writing and publishing can become all-consuming. For writers, it often needs to be all-consuming in order to keep our brains wrapped around a complicated writing project and see it through to the end. Thanks for sharing about the frustrations that literary agents face. Here are my favorite methods of distraction from writing:
1.) Time with family.
2.) Watching movies. I just discovered a great indie movie about time travel: "Primer". And I cannot wait to see "Watchmen", now in theaters!
3.) Photography - one of my favorite hobbies.
4.) Traveling – I just booked a vacation with one of the amazing deals being offered right now, paying just a fraction of the normal cost.
5.) Brand new hobbies. I took my first skiing lesson a few weeks ago after crossing skiing off the list of things I would ever do.
6.) Playing computer games - this is very new to me, another brand new hobby, actually.
7.) Physical exercise, although, alas, I tend to let that go when I’m writing.
8.) When I'm writing something that takes a long time to write, especially a novel, I sometimes write much shorter pieces including flash fiction and start submitting them.
9.) Mocha lattes with 2 shots of espresso, whip cream and chocolate sauce on top. I'm drinking one right now. I feel better already. Yummmmm...

Nixy Valentine said...

Love the post, Nathan, and it's so perfectly timed.

Thanks for having the most positive negativity week ever! ♥

Writer from Hell said...

music....

never fails

Dharma Kelleher said...

Spending some quality time at http://icanhascheezburger.com/ helps me out.

Colorado Writer said...

March Madness
a new puppy
knitting
scrapbooking
Wii bowling

Natalie said...

I draw. It's so relaxing to me to spend that time to make something beautiful. Takes my mind off everything else.

ella144 said...

I play video games with my sons and husband. A little mild gratuitous violence or winning a few races in MarioKart really helps to work out those frustrations.

Other ways include reading a really good book (Jane Austin, C.Bronte, or Laurie King) either with my cat, who has excellent taste in literature, or out loud to my kids, who also have excellent taste. I do the different voices and sometimes act out scenes. We usually end up laughing so hard I can't read any longer. It's a riot! Laughter is great for frustration.

Also digging in my garden, or if all else fails, ranting to my husband. He's very patient and let's me vent it all out of my system. Then I'm good and get back to writing.

Anna said...

oh no, not a KINGS fan!

although being a Niners fan as of the last several years as been a soul destroying I mean strengthening sort of walk.

this made me giggle. ta love...

and yes, sport is one way of getting ones head out of the mind numbing cloud of what the business side of writing entails...

Marilyn Peake said...

I. Did. Not. See. That. Update. About. The. Paris Hilton. Chihuahua. Book. Noooooooooo...

Oh, wait, positive spin - that is a truly perfect ending to Negativity Week. :)

T. Anne said...

My favorite distraction? Writing.

Ash D. said...

Dara - I agree about the AC house being bigger than my real house! Although, at least with my real house, I never have to wonder what the Happy Room Academy will have to say about any new furniture I buy ;)

And making fan videos is so fun and addictive! It's very therapeutic to take much-loved characters and favorite scenes, rearrange them and put them to a fitting piece of music!

Good stuff! Glad to know I'm not alone in my choice of hobbies :)

Writer from Hell said...

for the moment: The stone roses - Where angels play

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7szkhv77rE

(audio only)

Anonymous said...

Reading, bubble baths, American Idol,Ghost Hunters,America's Next Top Model(did you see the girl with huge fishy eyes?),and knitting---I can only make scarves (if anyone needs one).


Coll

Anonymous said...

Losing myself in a good TV show or movie. Or reading a good book. Playing Texas Hold'em either online or at the home of buddies once a month. Gardening.

But when all else fails, curling up into a fetal ball, sucking my thumb and banging my forehead slowly against a wall to the opening section of the theme from the movie version of 'Exodus'...sometimes, to put in a bit of variety, I'll do it to 'Thus Sprake Zarathustra' sometimes identified as the theme for 2001. Painful,of course, but a good pain. And I feel so much less frustrated when I quit.

Allegory19 said...

I couldn't agree more Coll - except I crochet instead of knit. I finished my first baby blanket in 2 days! Nothing like mindless repetition to get my mind off rejection. =)

joelle said...

Cubs fan here. I got your frustration. A hundred years of it.

Great advice. And baseball season starts soon so I'm covered.

Elizabeth Cota said...

The master chief and I spend a lot of time killing covenant and flood to get over trying to be a professional author.

On the other hand, I'm also finishing a master's thesis in economics, so that'll take you someplace sci-fi doesn't go so easily. Once that is done (please soon!!!) hopefully a day job will take its place.

Anonymous said...

Hey, who was it that was going to put query letters for us to comment on their own personal site? Are they still doing that?

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Beer.

Tiffany Schmidt said...

My day/pay job is a 6th grade teacher and you’re absolutely right about how perspective is so important. Sometimes when I see the kiddos stressed out over a B on a test or not wearing the right skinny jeans or who has the newest sparkliest cell phone, I want to say “Seriously? You’re upset over that? It’s not a big deal.” But it is a big deal to them – in the same way rejection or publication industry angst is a big deal to me. I’m sure others would look at me and think the same things. So I try and follow the same advice I give them: Being stressed isn’t healthy or productive; it just drains energy. Look for ways to change/fix a stressful situation. Breathe! (This one last one we painted across our ceiling tiles).

sex scenes at starbucks said...

anon 11:43-- a great way to get feedback on queries is at http://crapometer.blogspot.com

word ver: reads

Seriously.

Nathan Bransford said...

Anna-

Did I mention I'm also a 49ers fan?

Tyler said...

Oh, the Kings! And Anna-the 49ers are on the upswing, Woot singletary!

But yes, it's very easy to go NUTS with all the waiting and research and blogs, not to mention the-gasp-writing.

My distractions: reading and playing water polo.

Eiko said...

The Hills. I have no idea why (well I do, but now is not the time for an analysis of its brilliance) but it works.

Also - you are amazing. It was comforting to read this post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, SSAS!
ANON 11:43

Steve Fuller said...

Nathan,

Try living in Cincinnati and being a Bengals fan.

Talk about frustration and despair.

writermomof5 said...

Ah... 49er fans must stick together in these trying times.

I play. Walk away from the keyboard, grab a ball, a child or two -- there's enough around her believe me -- and go outside and play. If it's ugly outside, balloon volleyball... does the trick every time.

Wilkie said...

This blog SOOO addressed what I've been feeling lately! For my bf, the writer, he plays NCAA football on his Play Station. For me, I guess I've just tuned out to helping out for awhile- forced myself to stop religiously checking email and researching agents until I feel a little refreshed. I nice, hard workout works wonders, too.

Wilkie
http://towriteandpublish.blogspot.com

Lupina said...

In no particular order:
Walking with my dog.
Pavarotti.
Battlestar Galactica.
Very long nap.
Making art.
Cuddling with the hub.
Facebook.
Calling my mom.
Cleaning the house (last resort)

Diana said...

Uh, drinking comes to mind. We're writers, after all. Don't the two go hand in hand?

Excellent for relieving frustration and sometimes even providing inspiration (although I would recommend some serious editing of said inspiration once you're sober).

Have you ever wondered... said...

This post is eerily on target. My mind has been on the subject of frustration with my hopeful career and how there never seems to be enough time/opportunity/luck when it comes to my writing. Thanks so much for the reminder of what is important.

Geoff

Michael Pickett said...

My distraction is sports. I love them. Can't get enough of them. Although, I am from Sacramento, so the recent years have been kind of frustrating, too. The Sacramento Kings, which you know about, the 49ers and the Giants have been very bad recently. There are some glimmers of hope for the San Fran teams, though. Until they pick up gain, I lose myself in the love of sport. That'll have to be good enough for now.

Anonymous said...

When I get frustated I like to pull weeds. There is nothing like jabbing that sharp pointy stick into the ground and prying those suckers out. I don't know what I'll do if I ever get ahead of the weeds but I don't think that is something I need worry about for quite some time.

Dara said...

Anon @ 11:35--
Yes I saw that girl on ANTM with the huge eyes. I don't think that freaked me out as much as the fact she has an odd fascination with blood o_O

Oh yes, and ANTM is one of my guilty addictions.

Vancouver Dame said...

Frustration happens to me when the cause is something that I can't personally affect. It's that feeling of being the small human against the universe. My love of control in my own life is thwarted. So I usually first put on music in the jazz, or blues variety. Then I try to get outside for fresh air -- something that the business or corporate world can't control - yet. Distancing from the emotion of being frustrated can help. I also vent to the significant other to get it off my chest. I refuse to accept it as defeat.

I may curse the cause or the instigator, but not publicly. Maybe I'll work that frustration into a scene, since the feeling is so fresh. Whatever works at the moment is my motto.

This is a tough question, since it can be affected by how you felt that morning when you woke up as well as by the weather. But it beats anger, for me.

Mira said...

Anon 11:43 - Rick Daley just started a site for people to submit queries and comment on them.

Nathan, I enjoyed reading your...what do you call it? Blog? Article? Post? Well, I thought it was well said.

I am really, really good at distraction. I'm so sad it's not a marketable skill because I'm terrific at it.

I like e-mailing friends. That's fun. I like computer games. Alot. I like reading and commenting on blogs. Major fun. I like reading my favorite books over and over. That's fun, too.

When I get out of the house, seeing friends, of course. I love to go to Barnes and Noble and spend hours there reading books. And getting into nature. Just going somewhere beautiful and sticking your toes into a stream washes a bunch of stuff away.

David Eric Tomlinson said...

Working out, hands down.

Jo said...

A 5-mile hike every day. And the constant presence of my 21-month old. Can't really fixate on anything but what's most important. And that is writing.

Stephanie Faris said...

There came a time when I had to cut ties with my writing group. I'd become consumed with which publisher was looking for which type of book, etc. All around me were people struggling to get published, writing books tailor-made to what publishers supposedly wanted, but then constantly I'd see some newbie who had no idea what it was all about come in and sell without knowing she wasn't supposed to sell so easily. I finally realized there's a point where you take what you've learned and just WRITE. Write from the heart and put it out there and stop obsessing over what publishers want. Of course, that's not working either yet...but at least I'm happier!

Thomas Burchfield said...

Frustration? Oh, there's plenty. Deep breaths, think about something else.

If the writing is frustrating, I'll walk away from it by trolling online at a few news sites (I'm wrestling through two of the most frustrating chapters in my book; I finally nailed one down yesterday . . . but I'll save that talk for the Red Room.).

One thing I've done is almost entirely stop watching TV news, whose only purpose is to profit off dread and frustration (I now prefer Turner Classics or one of the other movie channels).

Thomma Lyn: You're very lucky! I wish I had mountains close by!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mira. That was what I was looking for. Is Rick still doing that? I couldn't find it.

Sex Scenes at Starbucks,
I just looked at that site you posted. Really cool site. I tagged it to my favorites. Thanks!

L.C. Gant said...

Didn't Paris Hilton already come out with a book awhile back? Something about how great it was to be rich and fabulous and some other equally nauseating drivel? *head desk*

Moving on...

I love to pick up a book by a new author when I get frustrated. To me, there's nothing more inspiring than seeing that folks are still having their work published and making a living off of it, even if I'm not yet one of them.

And of course, my hubby and kiddo always help me put things in perspective.

If all else fails, I'm with Kimber An--never underestimate the power of chocolate :)

ryan field said...

TV is a great distraction...especially the home and garden channel or the cooking network.

Sports works, too.

Gardening is another.

But anything that isn't publishing related works. You need a break every now and then, and you have to recognize the importance of stepping back.

Anonymous said...

I'm frustrated too! But I know how to deal with mine!

I will go over my apocalyptic fiction manuscript and remove all the comas, chop all the sentences down to be as short as possible, get rid of quotation marks and replace green trees and ocean vistas with roasting infants and bands of cannibals!

Then I will be a best selling artist!

Emily Breen said...

Just as the first commenter I turn to Gilmore Girls repeats in the afternoon - for me though it's a love-to-hate thing. Bad chick lit works the same voodoo.

When times are really tough I buy a gallon of coffee & a disgusting amount of ice cream, then hide out in the cinema. One long afternoon at the movies with Ben & Jerry makes the world a warm & fuzzy place once more!

Laura D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura D said...

I side with writing to ignore all the literary/publishing rules to relieve frustration. Knowing they wouldn't like it spurs me on to be rebellious. And a nod with Dara about the Gilmore Girls. Fav line "monkey monkey underpants". Sometimes that's what's in my brain too! lol

Amber Lynn Argyle said...

When I can't stand it anymore, I read.

Right now, my agent has sent out my MS out to ten different publishing houses. I've been waiting to hear something for over five months.

*groan and shudder*

I think I'll go read some more . . .

Mira said...

Anon 11:45 - Re. Rick's new site - I have it linked at home. I'll post it later today after work.

Mira said...

Anon 11:43 - I found it. The Public Query Slushpile. Go up to Rick's name above, and click on his profile. There's a link there.

Emilie said...

Thanks for this.

Joann Mannix said...

No certain order:

Bubble Baths.

Blogging.

Loud U2.

Pretending to dissect the complexities of the wine,when really just getting my drink on.

Working Out-clears the head and keeps the dreaded upper arm wobble, under control.

Watching those shameless bitches-Housewives of New York and Atlanta.

Really dark chocolate.

A daily dose of Nathan's sunshiny positivity!

And for all you frustrated Cubbie fans-rent the charmer of a movie, "Diminished Capacity." Great movie that perfectly captures our legendary frustration.

Margaret Welman Paez said...

Interesting article here on publishing:

http://papercuts.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/gutenberg-is-dead-long-live-gutenberg/?hp

Mercy Loomis said...

The way I deal with any kind of stress is to take a nice long bath and read a book, preferably with fruit or something to munch on. Recently I've started playing Rock Band 2 - I love to sing and it's very therapeutic to sing through a few songs - especially ones I don't know. I used to hate sight-singing but now it's a challenge! My husband is also very good at getting me to stop thinking about things, at least for a little while. Ah, what would I do without him?

As for when stuff is sent out, I just refuse to think about it. Once it's out of my hands I start working on something new. We have a rule - never worry about what you can't effect. But venting about it is just fine.

Vodka Mom said...

I go an all expenses paid conference at Daytona beach= stay at the Hilton, drink a LOT of martinis and get fried at the beach.

that's what I do.

Carley said...

Music, long walks, cooking, playing with my kids, plus I have a new puppy, who is beyond cute, and a wonderful distraction.

Ultimately, I just have to step away from the 'drawing board' for a minute, which is sort of like coming up for air sometimes. Take a few breaths and start it all again.

Carley said...

I have to add, once I was voicing a few frustrations along these very lines to my mom, who listened for a long time and then said, "I thought you liked writing?" I had to laught, and say, "Oh, yeah I do."

Jen said...

For me, nothing is as good as dancing. I study street latin, so a bit of salsa or cha cha or anything else that's fast and takes a lot of concentration always leaves me in a much better mood.

Also, old movies from the 1940s to transport me to a different place. Oh, and I can distract myself for hours on end messing around in Photoshop!

Mystery Robin said...

I agree that the Gilmore Girls are always a good choice.

Then there's always Bejeweled2. Or if you want to be more cutting edge, Peggle.

Whirlochre said...

Bubble bath is good, as is shouting in the attic.

At the moment I'm going through a prolonged phase of distraction shaving.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

For me it's anything and everything. TV, friends, vacations. It's difficult, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that we're more than just writers. Sure, we're writers and that takes up a lot of our time, but if we don't enjoy the worlds outside of the ones we create, then we're missing out on a heck of a lot.

Shaun
A Product of Fear

lotusgirl said...

When I can't stand the frustration, I read or watch a good movie.

Diane T said...

Best way to alleviate frustration: go to animal shelter and pet homeless cats. Purr therapy always works for me.

And to you Kings, Chiefs, 49ers, Browns fans ... I say HA! I am a Detroit Lions fan, and it has taught me more about frustration and hope than anything else.

Heidi the Hick said...

I am really lucky: I go to my friend's place, head out to her backyard, and ride a horse. Best of all, she needs me to do that for her. Over winter she doesn't have as many students in lessons, so the horses need exercise.

I actually stop thinking about agents and editors. My brain is full of walk-jog transitions and collection/impulsion, turns on the haunches, and getting that perfect soft whoa.

And I also notice the colour of the sky, shape of clouds, dog chasing snowflakes, and the sound of the snorting horse. I don't know what I'd do without my horse time.

Liz said...

The best outlet - writing.

Michelle Muto said...

Another great, uplifting, and VERY true post. Thanks, Nathan.

So, how do I deal? Writer friends, family, my dogs, and eating chocolate while reading blogs and posts like this.

Meg Trotter said...

Thanks for this. I needed it today. It really applies to my area of work too.
I'm a journalist and have been hit with more discouraging news about the newspaper industry in general today (plus aggrivations at the place I work), and have been feeling pretty low all afternoon.
Reading this helped my mood. :)

MaLanie said...

I remind myself what the Tao Te Ching says...

When nothing is done nothing is left undone...

Meaning let the universe work it out. All is perfect as it is and everything will work out in it's own time.

I also, like to watch Ambition To Meaning by Wayne Dyer as it helps me get a grip on reality. I highly recommened it.

And then I go eat a lot of chocolate!

Nathan, I hope your day gets better. ((Hugs))

other lisa said...

Chargers fan here. Sigh...

Oh, and the Padres. Double-sigh...

I have a bunch of things I usually do, most of which boil down to being productive on some level, controlling the things you can control. None of those are working too well at the moment, so I think I'm going to read a book. Or, is there an ANTM marathon on today?

Kristi said...

Diane T.

Re: Being a Lions fan. Okay, you win, but if there had been a Loserbowl for the 2 worst teams, the Chiefs would have been there with them! :)

Lady Glamis said...

Ah, distractions for frustration. Yep, other hobbies for sure. As if my whining toddler wasn't enough to distract me from writing....

Linnea said...

I have another passion. I love growing grapes and have a small vineyard.
Also, in addition to working on my current novel, I've begun writing online nonfiction articles that give me a bit of instant gratification for each page view. Only pennies but it's fun.

Litgirl01 said...

Balance is important...nothing can be your WHOLE life.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Find Your Peeps - if you feel frustrated because you don't have an audience (not QUITE the same thing as "getting an agent" or "getting a publisher"), think of fun marketing campaigns to get your stuff in front of people's eyeballs. I don't mean self-publishing - I mean something fun, that's easy, that will "make someone's day."

Have a Political Laugh - I go to a certain website that shall remain nameless, and laugh and laugh and laugh, sometimes until my sides hurt (I'm thinking of a particular video last fall, that shall also remain nameless).

Visit Fabric Store - anyone with me on this one?

Dance. Have that one piece of music that centers you on why you write/create in the first place - for me, Marvin Gaye's Inner City Blues - I love that song, it obliterates all frustrations.

Hmm, are these really distractions? Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Wanda,

I like going in fabric stores, but I can't sew worth a hoot.

Cool Linea, I have always been fascinated by vineyards since "Parent Trap", that and I love kool-aid wine (that is wine that taste like kool-aid).

Anonymous said...

CORRECTION: apparently I can't type worth a hoot either.

"Cool, Linea, I have always been fascinated by vineyards since "Parent Trap", that and I love kool-aid wine (that is wine that tastes like kool-aid)."

Horserider said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

I gave up on the Kings when we gave away Jimmy Jackson, Keon Clark, and Damon Jones. Remember them? Sigh.

Taire said...

30 minute workout, 30 minute swim, hot shower. omg, all is right with the world.

Horserider said...

There is nothing a good bowl of ice cream and some awesome music won't solve. I plan to keep my fridge stocked with ice cream when I start querying. :) In fact, I could use some now.

annerallen said...

I play in the dirt. Plant something. Pull weeds. Gardening is about hope.

Corey Blake said...

I like to have so many projects going on that bad news from one is always set off by brilliant news on other fronts. I used to have a sign up in my office that read, "What have you done to create good news today?" My goal used to be to create 10 opportunities for good news. As I have built my business I spread that mentality to my staff and literally any day, one piece of rejection about a project can be offset by 20 other small and large victories. Go Fishing!

superwench83 said...

Acting.

It's still like writing in that you're following a plot and worried about character development, but it's different enough that it's a nice break from writing. And there's an added benefit: When you finish the final draft of a novel, no one applauds and cheers. But when you put on a play, they do. And that's a great feeling.

IQOkie said...

When I'm not writing, I'm reading about writing. Or if the situation gets really ugly, I have to pull out the big guns and read my favorite humor authors--Garrison Keillor and David Sedaris--to remember what it feels like to laugh.

Jen said...

When I get frustrated with the writing world, I eat chocolate. And write random death scenes for characters that are acting up. Haha.

Nikki Hootman said...

I joined a writing group. Once a month, I get together with three other people who love language, the written word, and the act of writing. We critique each other honestly, but we also support one another and really look forward to seeing the next installation of each others' stories. Knowing I have three intelligent people reading my words - and enjoying it! - always brings back the joy of writing anew.

StrugglingToMakeIt said...

Music. And general craziness (i.e. spending time with my friends). I went to a Tokyo Police Club concert Tuesday that was insane and made me really happy. Ruby Coast and Ra Ra Riot were also there. Great times. Oh and law school...unfortunately, there's always something to do for that...

Rachelle said...

1. Go for a run with my awesomely amazing yellow lab.

2. Go to Body Combat at the gym (every bit as cathartic as it sounds).

3. Watch American Idol.

4. Eat chocolate.

5. Do #4 and #5 at the same time, AFTER doing #1 or #2.

B.J. Anderson said...

The same way I deal with rejection: Chocolate and a treadmill.

Rick Daley said...

Attn: Mr. Fuller,

Greetings from Columbus! With all due respect, I'm not sure frustration and despair scratch the surface of your woes as a Bengals fan ;-(

At least we have the Buckeyes whooping on the Wolverines consistently, something all Ohioans can be proud of.

WORD VERIFICATION: braties. Brats, but baby ones.

Ginger Simpson said...

I do the cheapest thing I can think of--I dream. I pretend I just got a letter from Nathan Bransford, telling me he loves my latest submission and would love to represent me. No, in fact he begs to represent me. The whole bended knee things, you know. Then I wake up and go back to working on my manuscript. When I really get desperate, I watch reality TV shows and try to figure out how they pick such idiots to be on them... or tune in to Jerry Springer and verify that I really am much more intelligent than part of the human race.

Rick Daley said...

Anon @ 11:43 (and anyone else who is interested)

You can visit the Public Query Slushpile at:

http://openquery.blogspot.com

I started it 1 week ago. So far 5 queries have been posted, and all 5 have received useful feedback.

Please visit, comment, and submit (if you dare).

Anonymous said...

Yoga.

MaLanie said...

I love that I am not the only person that runs to Chocolate! The COCO Bean Rocks!

BTW, who would buy a book about Hilton's chihuahua? Seriously?

jil said...

Music = maybe Phantom of the Opera - very loud so I can sing and dance with only my dog to watch. (Have his dog friends been giving me funny looks lately?) Music puts me in a different world.

A long walk or run in the hills with "Cappuccino" where everything is beautiful.

Friends who only talk about dog agility or running. No depressing talk allowed.

A green tea soy milk latte at Starbucks where I watch people and dream.

Then I go home and rewrite that damn query.

Bane of Anubis said...

Rachel, I beg to differ w/ you on the Kings - dumping Clark, Jackson, and Jones was brilliant - overplayed and underperforming talent.

The Maloofs might not be Cuban-esque in their desire to win, but they're close - they'll do what they can to get a winning team, but they'll do it prudently (and not Snyder-esquelly) - hopefully they can draw some big name FAs to SAC-town at some point.

writin'mama said...

Well, let's just say I don't have time to be frustrated.......I was just lucky to finish my book; had I known that getting an agent would be so time consuming....well, who knows.....anyway, I work full time (English teacher), I have a three year old son and am about to have a daughter (due in June). So with each rejection that floats its way into my mailbox, I shrug and say to myself, "not this time.".....but I'm far from giving up.

Courtney said...

Nathan-- your 49ers fandom has made my day.(I live in the big middle of Cowboys country...) And, seeing as it is midterms week, that is saying a lot!

As for distraction, I'm a full time English major and the manager/lead singer/guitarist of a semi-professional Bluegrass band. Did I mention my two day jobs?

Hah! you depressing rejection letters--just see if I have time to read you!

Rachel said...

I respect your opinion, Bane of Anubis, but if I recall correctly...as soon as Peja and Bibby were back in the game that season, the team fell apart. However, when Clark, Jones, and Jackson were starting, they did awesome...

Anonymous said...

I love you for this post. It is so true. It is what you make of it, allow yourself to make of it.

Thanks.

and the fact that YOU can say this, where there is no escape from publishing.....golly jeepers.

:)

Beth Terrell said...

Snuggle with my papillon, Luca, a shining little being of goodness and light. He makes my world a brighter place.

Anonymous said...

talk about frus*tr*ting!
($%^&&%#*&)

(LIONS fan here...)

(Lions and Tigers and Bears...

oh no!)

Shannon said...

Hope your evening goes better than your day Nathan, and that you can find some time to relax, have fun, and take a break from the day's frustrations.

Thanks for the post. Reminders to relax and to put frustrations into perspective are always helpful.

Anonymous said...

Boxing.

Not kick-boxing. Boxing boxing.

Free cell.

Music (loud).

Wandering randomly in the city.

Calvin Trillin.

Elegant fiction.

Ice cream.

Law & Order reruns.

Practical joke and prank fantasies.

Anonymous said...

Okay, am a Michigan fan too, and with the new coach, .... (failure to launch)...

But here's what I do: (or did):

bought furniture until I had no space left in the house.

stopped opening my mail until it covered all the furniture

collected tables

collected chairs

imaginary people sitting in chairs

covered chairs with lively fabric

tried my hand at casseroles (warning: do not visit during such periods)

get drunk with my best friend on the tele

drive to New Mexico or the Grand Canyon or the ocean in North Carolina (actually these things really work well)
(note: until the credit card runs over the limit)

Play with my wonderful doggy.

(Life could be a dream, shaboom, shaboom...)

Alps said...

Kissing baby cheeks, definitely.

Don't have baby cheeks to kiss? Sorry.

Mira said...

Okay. Nathan I'm sorry you've had a frustrating day, but I really don't think it will top my frustrating week.

You remember I was searching for guatemalan orphans to serenade you? In order to entice you to stop playing hard to get and send me that signing contract?

Well, I'm giving up. I'm sorry, but finding guatemalan orphans is just downright frustrating.

Here's what I did. First, I tried the direct approach. I walked up to children on the street, gave them 20 bucks and asked them if they were guatemalan orphans. Well, evidentally mothers don't like that. I know they don't like that because my ears are still ringing from the screeching. And okay, fine. Grab your child and run, screaming at the top of your lungs for the police, but geez. At least give me my 20 bucks back.

So anyway, 300 bucks later, I finally gave up and did the next best thing. I posted an ad on craigslist asking for guatemalan orphans.

Well, it will probably surprise you to hear that this a bust too. I got all kinds of crazy responses. One guy was downright irritating. He kept saying: "Look. I'm an orphan. What does it matter if I'm from Mississpi rather than Guatemala?" I was very patient. I said: "Look. I can spell Guatemala. Nobody in the world can spell Mississipi." He didn't seem to get the logic. I can spell the rest of what he said, but I won't, if you see what I mean.

There's another good reason not to post an ad looking for orphans that will 'sing' for you. Did you know you can flag ads on craigslist? I do now.

I will say Homeland Security is very nice. I know Homeland Security is very nice because I spent 10 hours with them. They were very persuasive. Probably the most persuasive part was when they pointed out I don't own a microphone or camera, so you wouldn't even be able to hear the orphans sing.

But anyway, at least now you're on some list at Homeland Security. That's got to be a good thing, right, Nathan?

So, no guatemalan orphans. But I tried, Nathan, I really did. And think about it this way. This is the type of initiative and decisive action you would get to experience on a daily basis if we were in business together. Yes, I thought that would sweeten the pot. Yes, indeed.

Okey dokey. I'll look for the signing contract in the morning.

That ought to do it.

Mira said...

Oh sorry. I didn't mean to disrupt the conversation. I've just had a tough week, and I figured Nathan was wondering where his orphans were.

Um, so to speak.

But please, don't let me interrupt.

Marilyn Peake said...

New distraction:
Fantastic trailer for "Watchmen"

dc said...

Love this series by the way. Thanks for the sunshine! :)

I disctract myself by reading great writing, cooking for my husband, and the occasional painting project.

Stef Kramer said...

Read Deepak Chopra's Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Or play Operation with my son.

tammi said...

Cheering on my kiddo during their b-ball games. Go Celtics! Go Storm!

Oh, and watching Sawyer...um, I mean LOST...every Wednesday night at 8.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Since there are already 135 posts, and I'm going to assume all the Detroit Lions fans have already had their say, so they won't notice my posting this, and even if they did, they would just skip over it...but, I can't resist posting this link, which mentions the Detroit Lions & Detroit...

http://www.moltx.org/celebrate.html

I guess I'm just inspired because I started reading an essay a family member (GM employee) recently wrote, entitled: "THINKING DIFFERENTLY"

Go Detroit!

**the day's frustrations have melted away, imagine that**

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Hi Mira,

I am intrigued by your posts, self-referential ("conversation of one") though they may be - have you considered writing a diary-like novel, one entry per day for 3 months say, and try and get that published? You'd have to calculate how much you'd have to write to get up to 60,000 words, or whatever the threshold for such a novel would be - I am reminded of some comic monologues (don't ask me at this late hour to give names).

Just another writer,

Wanda B.

Mira said...

Wanda, how encouraging. Thank you, that means alot to me.

I have a piece I'm working on that's exactly like that - I just need to find the right character. The first character I chose was too annoying - I don't think she could sustain a whole book. So, I need to find another one. Or maybe multiple characters? I don't know. I have the voice and the concept, but not the character(s) yet.

I do have to say, though, that this really isn't a one way conversation. Nathan is participating in his own way. If you close your eyes, you can hear it. Beyond the soft rustling of leaves, the swift whoosh of the wind, the lonely hooting of the blowfish, in the far background is the quiet scratch, scratch, scratch of a pen filling out a signing contract based on a halfway decent idea...for lots and lots and lots of money.

And that makes for a truly lovely conversation.

But back to you, Wanda, someone who is actually talking to me. Thanks, really, for the encouragment. I'd love to hear what you're working on, too.

Bane of Anubis said...

Awesome must be a relative term - perhaps against the Clippers. I'm not saying they can't play, but nobody can win in the long run w/ players like that leading the way.

mkcbunny said...

This was a great post. Thanks. Just getting away is a good thing.

Eva Ulian said...

I became the Church photographer for the ceremony files archives: believe me there are a lot of ceremonies in the Church. Apart from that I am an impressionist painter, a translator, a researcher for an architect's studio and love ballroom dancing. Life is never boring, but even with all that going on, my only true ambition is to hit the NY Times top selling list with my book that is not yet published.

Helen said...

ahh, Nathan you're the best; anxiety can ruin a writer, I think. Meals taste bad, sunny days go by unnoticed, partners suffer.

I like to go down to the beach and walk about with no shoes on. sand feels good, and the sound of waves crashing...ah bliss. Unfortunately, I don't live anywhere near the sea at the moment. for others who do, please go and take advantage of the free therapy :)

Mary said...

Going round Museums and searching for the oldest object. There's magic in the ancient days!

ash-krafton said...

Bollywood. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is comfort food.

m. Swallow said...

funny that you said "take up sunflower photography," because that's (sort of) exactly what i did recently. (photography, but not of sunflowers) i'm also deluding myself into thinking i might make a go as an art photographer.

but i've also just stepped away from writing for a bit...just resting the brain.

Alexa said...

Another great post, I love the reminder that's it's all how you look at the world.

Best distractions are TV. Especially Gordan Ramsey shouting at people in Kitchen Nightmares. Makes me glad I'm not trying to become a chef! Surely no editor/reviewer can be as scary as Gordan!

PharmLibrarian said...

I'm not real proud of this, but when writing/agent/publishing refuse to yield the foreground in my life, and it's freezing out (northern clime), the best mental chewing gum is a zombie movie. Not: I did not say 'good zombie movie' as their charm tends to be the opposite of good...

Lucinda said...

First, I light a candle. Then I pour a glass of wine. Finally, I clean house like crazy. When it is all finished, I write and write and write some more.

Actually, I use rejection, criticism, and "setbacks" as tools to learn. They help me to focus on refining my writing by giving me new perspectives. Without it, I would think that I was perfect when I am far from it.

Dana M. Baird said...

Thank you for this post, Nathan. It is a nice reminder for those of us trying to eke out careers in the small press world.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I watch the Leafs slip into the Eastern Conference basement and thank my lucky stars I'm not a hockey player in Toronto.

Alle Hall said...

I go hang out with my children -- and remember what is really important. Taking their worlds seriously always puts mine into persepctive.

Marilyn Peake said...

Mira,

You have a talent for writing. Just keep on writing!

Melissa McInerney said...

Beth Terrell, I have a Papillon, too! Best dogs EVER. But some of my methods of vegging out are not, um, legal. Housecleaning is, though. I notice a lot of us ladies use housecleaning to clear out frustration. What does that say about us? I also listen to funk and rap and dance around the house. Thank goodness I live in a very private place.

Teri said...

Misery loves company.
I usually talk with fellow writers and we can relate to the same feelings.
Otherwise, I usually get in a really tough tennis match.
Lots of power serves!

Janny said...

This is a totally timely entry, because I have been awash in total frustration, ennui, and all those other erudite words that describe "I just don't care" sorts of frustration/burnout...

So yesterday, I plugged in college basketball streaming audio on my headphones at work, and watched B-Ball games when I got home. I LOVE March Madness (at all levels)...!

(oh, and...Go Blue!)

JB

Anonymous said...

Mira,

It's not just a talent for writing, you have an amazing imagination. I am impressed, also.

JO

Myra said...

Dance breaks. Lots and lots of dance breaks. And trying to keep my two-year-old from going naked.

Wait, that adds to the frustration.

Actually, I check out your blog. Thanks for the positive attitude and encouragement. It is truly appreciated!

“Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.” -
Elizabeth Harrison

MzMannerz said...

Shopping. It inspires a lot. Procrastinating on cleaning out that garage? Buy some new bins. Etc.

I don't go overboard, but even the tinest new thing gets me up and going.

Yesterday, I reorganized my work papers after finding some funky designer file folders. Four dollars well spent.

Marilyn Peake said...

Mira,

I agree with Jo. Just my opinion: Rather than writing about real people like Nathan, I would recommend writing a completely fictional story and, while you're working on a longer work, start submitting short pieces to reputable magazines and online sites.

Anonymous said...

Mira,

Marilyn has an excellant point. You should put that imagination and writing talent into short pieces in a magazine.

It also seems you have a vivid character. If you found her too annoying for MC use her as a best friend or even a classmate that is forever in trouble and needs to be rescued, kind of like a sidekick.

JO

Anonymous said...

I tell my students they really have only two options: improve your writing or stop sending your work out.

McMama said...

Oddly (given my poor rejection-management skills), I deal with frustration fairly well. I was a software engineer for 17 years before I quit to be a stay-at-home mom to my afterthought baby. Software engineering is all frustration, all the time. Your assumption going in is that whatever you just spent the last 48 hours coding will not work, and if it does, you view it with a great deal of suspicion.

So. Frustration-wise, I'm a pro.

Here are my strategies, in the approximate order in which I employ them:

Swear creatively while kicking whatever durable furnishing is closest. (Watch out for metal filing cabinets - they hurt.)

Determine that you will never do this (write code, write novels, whatever) again. Drink a cold liquid, which may or may not be alcoholic, depending on where your frustration management activity is taking place.

Clean out something, throwing away any articles which seem offensive (like earlier drafts of the same program or novel) with as much force as possible. You'll want a very large and sturdy trash container for this activity.

Do yoga for about ten minutes, and then revert to loud swearing.

Take a walk. Swear quietly so no one is tempted to dial 911 when they hear you coming. (If cops do arrive, stop swearing. I mean it. Stop right now.)

Read a book. A bad book. A book you know would have been better if you had written it yourself. (Software-wise, you crank up some Microsoft software. Because one monkey with one keyboard can write better software than what Microsoft makes you pay for.)

Return to your workstation refreshed and ready to try again.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Hi Mira,

I have more I want to say about "annoying" characters, and you did ask what I was working on myself...just too swamped at this exact moment to reply. In another post, somewhere, totally off topic, I will respond!

Wanda B.

Kate H said...

I go to church, where I am reminded that the whole publishing industry and my part in it are nothing more than a flea on the back of the cosmic dog, and God is that dog's master.

Verification word: flebeck. That's how God calls the fleas when He wants them.

Dutch said...

I ride my horse.

But that's totally not fair, really to this post, Nathan. Because I ride when I'm sad. I ride when I'm happy. Heck I ride when I don't know what I am! - I have a wonderful horse.

Dutch

Lisa said...

Why would you want to distract from the frustration?

After all, it's frustration that often pushes past our comfort zone to try new and challenging experiences to help resolve the frustration.

Now if you're talking anger management, may I suggest the Godiva Plan. It works wonders for me.

Jean said...

You. Are. Hilarious.

Now taking up sunflower photography.

Mira said...

Marilyn, Wanda and Jo - you guys are so great. I hope you read this. I was at a training all day, so I didn't check in this morning. So, I couldn't thank you for the encouragement. But now, I can't thank you enough. It means alot to me.

I hope to return the favor someday!

Thank you.

Based on our conversaton, Wanda, I started re-working something today during lunch. I delegated the annoying main character to side-kick status. It might work.....

But don't worry. It won't interfere with my trying to get Nathan to represent me. Writing something is an awful lot of work. I'd like to avoid all that and just get the contract.

Marilyn Peake said...

Hi, Mira,

I wish you all the best with your writing! Have fun! Glad you saw our posts about your writing talent.

Mira said...

I'm glad I saw them, too, Marilyn. Thanks.

And I want to say congratulations to you on your writing breakthrough today. That's an amazing feeling when it starts flowing. I'm really happy for you!

That reminds me - I was going to get one of your books. I just got paid. I'm going to order one this weekend.

Then I can tell you what a great writer you are! :-)

Marilyn Peake said...

Mira,

You just made my day! Hope you enjoy the book. Thank you!

debtink said...

Depends on the frustration!

If there's no graphic design work to do, I write. If I'm frustrated with what to write I read.

When I dont' know what to do with myself, I explore what's on demand tv or watch series DVDs. I'm on series 3 of HOUSE.

Mira said...

Okay Marilyn, I ordered Fisherman's Son. Wow, it got good reviews on Amazon. I am really looking forward to reading it. I love YA fantasy.

It's so quiet here this weekend. Wanda, if you're reading this, and you feel like sharing your idea, I'll check the thread. You, too, Jo. Are you working on something?

Marilyn Peake said...

Hi, Mira,

Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the book. It's my first published novel, a story I truly enjoyed writing. I've been delighted with the reviews.

It has definitely been very quiet here this weekend.

Gwenda, said...

Witty... Funny... Sexy... Tells it like it is... I think I’m in love... Eh, supposed to be commenting on the post. Oh yeah...

When I’m not promoting and obsessing about my newly released, 'Keeper of the Enchanted Pool' by Lucy Fox, on the Amazon charts or writing the sequel, I love to gyrate and lose myself to the sounds of Gary Moore. What do you mean, ‘Never heard of him.’ Don’t tell me your as uninformed as Canadians in music! Ex Thin Lizzy, Irish rock/blues God. Look up, ‘Still Got the Blues’ and ‘Parisian Walkways,’ on YouTube. Out of this world guitar and with all that sexy base...

Then there’s whiling away precious time on Facebook, playing Mafia Wars and catching up with long lost friends... Uh hum... and yes, family.

Steven Till said...

My favorite methods of distraction are sports/outdoor recreation type things: hiking, going to the lake, basketball, football, golf, etc.

Sarah said...

You could also start rooting for the Giants. It has the same effect. :)

OPINION ALERT:
I dislike that writing has really become big business (though I accept it wholly for what it is.) I suppose old souls like me long for days when a writer's words were pined over, dissected, and appreciated. I read the words of Sylvia Plath, and Whitman, and Frost, and fall in love with the words and pages all over again from the very moment I crack open the binding. Books now are mass produced, pressured by deadlines and contracts, and sometimes come across as cookie cutter. I am not envious of agents like you that need to determine who 'makes the grade.' More power to you, my friend.

I appreciate, by the way, that every time I read your blog posts, I can, to some degree, feel exactly what you're feeling. Kudos!

All the best,
Sarah

Reuben Garza said...

I usually hit the gym and let all of my frustrations out on the equipment.

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