Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Not Going Out

 So, did I survive my critique?
 The simple answer is yes, I did.
 I spent fifteen minutes with an editor from Macmillan who basically liked my book.
 Yes, she liked it.
 The writing, the idea, the synopsis, she liked it all.
 There were no major plot holes, no glaring problems, nothing of the negative persuasion so we spent a bit of time discussing the use of certain words, what was suitable for my age range in terms of blood and violence and a little bit on the motivation of certain characters and the rough word count this type of book should aim for.
 It was a pleasant fifteen minutes and I left reasonably happy that I seemed to be on the right lines with this book.


 I had made the mistake of going out and jumping back into the whole arena of publishing after months of relative hermitlike behaviour where all I thought of was the writing and now the beast was back.
 The desire to get published.
 It's easy to keep it at bay when I stay at home and tap away at my keyboard, my mind full of character and plot. Easy to feel smug and say "No, it's the writing that I love,  I don't need to get published."
Going out and meeting editors, brought it all back and I must admit to a tiny meltdown afterwards as the longing for external validation returned big time.
 Luckily my friend Tania was with me to talk me back down from the ledge over pizza and wine (thank you Tania!) but I felt quite bad that night.
 I felt weak for wanting it so much, for not being able to keep that desire down and just focus on my craft.
What was wrong with me? Was I a bad person? Why couldn't I love my craft for craft's sake and not need the validation of publication?
My epiphany came a couple of days later when I realised that that passion was good. That longing would be the thing  that kept me going long after any normal person would give up. That desire to be published would make me slog on with my writing and submitting until I got somewhere.
If I could give up easily on my dream then maybe it wasn't really my dream?

But I do think it's important to keep control of  this desire, to want it and work quietly towards it rather than career about in desperation trying to achieve it any way possible. I know how easy it is for the wanting to take over everything and that is not a place I want to go to again.
 So I'm doing my best to stay focused, calm and patient.
 Good things will come.
I've also decided that the best way to manage it is to time my forays into the world of agents and publishers to when I'm ready to submit. While I'm writing I'm going to focus on that and when the writing is good enough then I will step into the arena once again.
So I'm off to hermitville for the next few months, I have a first draft to finish and some editing to do. I hope to come out and play in the autumn.


  1. Just try to focus on the positives. You had a great review, and that's wonderful. And I agree, it really is best to time publishing events to when you're ready. Otherwise it's what my old german teacher described as "busy work for happy morons." Activities that take time away from essentials. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Happy morons, I like it! Thanks Jane X

  2. I know exactly what you mean, I have that itch too. Someone has asked me for my current WIP when I'm finished and I'm now (metaphorically) sitting on my hands, trying to get the first draft completed and then go through at least a second draft before I send it out. And I'm worrying about stupid stuff like "I said it would be a couple of months before it was ready, but what if it's actually four months? Will they still want it?"

    Timing is everything in this game, right? But that also cuts both ways, because if you send out a manuscript too early, you might lose the only chance you were going to get. And so I write and wait...

    1. Hi Nick, glad to know I'm not the only one who feels the tug and pull of agents and publishers. I guess it's finally experience that forces us to wait even when it seems impossible because we know ultimately that's the right thing to do! Wish you luck for when you're ready and hope all the waiting pays off! Lx

    2. The other thing I tried to point out in my Yahoo Group message a couple of weeks back (and which you touch on in your post) is not to punish yourself over these intense feelings that bubble up when you see an editor or get asked to send your work. These experiences are really thrilling, like the final few chapters of a fantastic adventure novel. Try to enjoy the ride a little before you get a new set of post-contract problems!