The anxiety of waiting

If you’re a writer, you’ve felt it before: the creepy crawly feeling up the back of your arms, the burning racing feeling inside your chest, the tingly feeling in your fingers and toes. No, it’s not a crazy heartburn: it’s the anxiety of waiting. Most people  have spent some of their time waiting, but for writers (and maybe contestants on The Voice) waiting takes on a new meaning. It’s not just an impatience, it’s also a dreadful scary feeling wrapped in a blanket of curious insecurity. Writers are constantly asking ourselves worrisome questions like:

  1. What if I’m rejected?
  2. What if I’ve ruined my own chances? 
  3. What if I have to start over?
  4. What if I never hear anything?
  5. What if I’m accepted? (Believe it or not, it’s just as nerve-wracking to think about being accepted as it is to think about being rejected.  Because when you’re accepted, there’s a lot more anxiety waiting on the horizon: will it sell? will I have to change everything for it to sell? Will I be able to get along with my editor? Will I be able to handle success? Will I continue to be successful?)

I guess I’m feeling all of these things now: I’ve sent my first novel proposal out there for its first considerations. After working on this for 11 years (yes, I had a day job) and now feeling like a 2nd and a 3rd book with these characters also needs to be written, the anxiety of waiting seems more like a rush of manic feelings. Here’s how I process them.

Milestones

What happens when you reach a milestone? Last night, I finished the second rewrites on my first novel. I’m so excited to get it out there and see what the interest is. I’ve been working on this for over 10 years,  so it’s beyond time to let go. My mind is already on my next novel.

But part of me–a very small part–feels like I’m not ready to let go. Not sure why, but in the back of my mind, there’s a little nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, I need to work on it a little more. I think that normal for most writers.  Your work is always “in revision.” You feel like a parent: you know you’ve prepared your kids for the world, but you secretly wish they could stay “just a little longer. ”

In any case, milestones are for celebrating and looking forward.  Here’s to getting this novel closer to being published.  Beta readers: anyone interested?  😉

How a Novelist sees it (or The Way Story Happens)

As a writer, I find that I look at the world differently than most non-writers (or “Muggles,” if you will).

Here’s a series of events as they happened: 
Drove to the store, returned a movie, went to a fast-food place, got a breakfast sandwich, drove away.

Here’s the beginning of story (otherwise known as how it went in my mind):
So my singing career and my latest love affair began on a humid summer morning. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, but being me usually makes that impossible.
I was dressed like curtains: neutral tans and grays that go together in the whole scheme of a room but don’t work together as an outfit. I was determined to blend right into the background. But my over-sized purple shades made just enough of an impression to turn heads. Not in a good way, but in a boy-you’re-a-weirdo way.

Excerpt from my novel

Thanks to some good FB friends for helping me over my writer’s block last Tuesday. The following is an excerpt based on that brainstorm. The main character, Victoria and her boyfriend have just gotten into-and then out of-their first fight, and she decides to journal her feelings.

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So I thought I knew what love was. Now, I realize it’s something you feel when you’re a little left of center. You’re paranoid, out of control, and second guessing yourself. Paranoid you’ll never feel this strange feeling for anyone ever again. Out of control as you rearrange your life to revolve around the one you love. Second guessing yourself when you decide to do things like talking and breathing, afraid that saying anything or exhaling will blow the one you love out of your life. Love is dangerous and strange,and once you’ve felt it—necessary.


Michael stirred in his sleep, and Victoria quietly slid the dust-speckled notebook under the bed. She stared at the wall listening to his even breathing until she fell back to sleep.

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