It’s been an interesting month.
I’m using that word in the context of four weeks having gone by, and I’m going to call what’s been going on “New Author Jitters” though I expect that the “New” part is going to be a misnomer on my part.
Let me set the stage for you:
Earlier this year, I signed with the, awesome, Dorian Maffei at the Kimberley Cameron Literary Agency and, since then, we’ve been polishing my novel to start shopping it around to publishing houses.
This is a pretty big step and we’re getting close. And working hard.
To put it in perspective, the last book that I absolutely devoured was Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price . The story went for 384 pages and it took me about a week and a half to two weeks to read it (I wasn’t paying attention).
And that’s just reading.
Over the course of two weekends, I read my book, which comes in at 430 pages, twice.
And that’s deep reading: looking for errors, places to add world building, character backstory, etc.
At the end of that weekend was when I had my first anxiety-fueled dream.
Suddenly the book wasn’t good enough, and nothing I did fixed it. In fact, I made things worse. So much worse that I was going to be dropped as a client.
All of which was utter nonsense, but that didn’t make any difference Monday morning when I got up to write.
And I did get up to write. And the book wasn’t garbage.
But the memory remained.
It stuck around after I sent off the story, and the day passed with no response – which hadn’t happened before.
“What could possibly be wrong?” The memory said. Over and over.
The reality was that Dorian had been on vacation for the good part of a month and had returned the day I sent the MS off. She probably had a boatload of stuff waiting for her – like I do, when I get back from even a week-long vacation. The reality also is that I don’t expect her to be at my beck and call. Yes, she works for me. No, I’m not her only client. Yes, I trust her to champion my book, and have my best interests in mind. I wouldn’t have signed with her if I didn’t.
My head was just messed up.
I suspect that I could have emailed and everything would have been fine. But I didn’t want to be *That* needy. And, the next day, she emailed and all was well with the world.
She’s reading through the story, and I’m starting something new.
And I haven’t had any more disturbing dreams.
There have been two separate times over the past two weeks, though, where, out of nowhere, I’ve been struck by the feeling that “I’m not doing enough as a writer and I have to do *something* RIGHT NOW!!!”
The feeling doesn’t last very long, usually not past the point where I remind myself that I woke up at 5:30 that morning – for the fifth morning in a row – and wrote. That I am doing what I can for as long as I can do it, and a frantic burst of random *Something* at ten minutes to midnight on a Friday night, isn’t going to do much.
I don’t know. It might be that this is unique to me and my dumb brain, though I don’t suspect that it is. I’ve seen similar blog posts and tweets describing uncertainty and worry, all of them from established writers. And it’s made me change my way of thinking a little.
At the beginning of this post, I called what had been going on “New Author Jitters” but I think that it’s more akin to growing pains.
You see, something also hit me out of the blue one night as I was finishing up reading before bed. I closed the book (Pirate’s Promise, by Chris A. Jackson) and it hit me that Doiran and I were going to start shopping the book around soon. That, while there are no guarantees, there is a chance that there will, one day, be a book out there with my name on it.
Don’t get me wrong. There are books out there with my name on them. I both love and am fiercely proud of the anthologies that my stories appear in (Shameless plug: You can find more about them here).
A novel with my name on it is uncharted waters for me. It’s starting to become “Real” in a way that I hadn’t thought of before and, as my headspace widens to accommodate that, there are mental creaks and groans that are happening.
How do you get through it? How did I get through it?
Trust in the folks you’re working with. More importantly, trust in yourself. In what you’re doing. That’s not to say that what you’re doing now will be the same thing you’re going to be doing five years from now, but whatever that is, however it’s changed, trust that you’re doing what you can as well as you can do it.
I suspect that there will always be worry in this business. That there will always be the notion that you *Should* be doing more, and, along those lines, I would encourage you to push yourself occasionally.
But don’t let it drive you.
Keep doing what you’re doing, as well as you can do it, and you’ll get through.
Time: 12:24 Pm-ish
Music: Turisas – Take the Day