I’m so nervous, I’m practically plucking out my eyelashes! Pulling the thread out of my the hem of my blouse! Chewing on my glitter glue sticks!
My agent started reading my novel this past weekend. Yesterday, he sent me an email that said he is “enjoying it so far” – no exclamation point(s), but a period. He often uses exclamation points in his emails when he is excited about something. But then, he uses periods a lot too.
Enjoying it so far.
What does this mean?
I can’t share the pain of this experience with anyone (except Patrick, bless his heart). Bottom line? Nobody cares. Everyone around me is SICK to death of hearing about this subject – and they have been ever since last November, when I began the process. I know this because someone at my work told me: “Kathy, honestly, no one really cares but you.” So I’m not ever talking about it again to anyone.
Um. Just here, I guess.
I’m a middle child. I don’t handle rejection well. I know that to be a writer, you have to accept the good and the bad with thick skin and learn from it. But with art, I’m used to working on something and having it, well – work. You can splash a glob of paint on something and it’s art!!! Fiction writing isn’t like that. There’s characters, plots, story arcs, attributions, POV, adverbs, tenses, etc. Make it stop!
Basically, I’m blind and clueless when it comes to knowing if I have the hang of it. It’s like painting a canvas with a palate of gray scale hues, and now my agent will turn the secret decoder light on to reveal if my colors match up. I loved the process of writing a fictional story. All the characters became my homegirls and I worried about them and their problems 24/7. I don’t want this to be the end of that ride. I want to tell more stories!
To make matters worse, I torture myself by reading all these other author web sites. I dream that someday soon, I can stand among them. And then I read their sample chapters and think, “Oh God! Who am I kidding?” I also look at the wonderful, talented journalists that sit around me at work and I wonder, “They could do a way better job than me. Why in the world haven’t they written a novel?”
*shakes out hands…takes deep breath*
Can I just say one more thing before I force myself to crawl out of this pathetic well of anxiety? I can’t handle the wait!!!! I wonder if I got myself over my head. Why can’t I just be happy with what I have already? I know there is something grand out there waiting for me. It’s weak times like this when I wonder if my drive comes from fantasy or ambition. Will I be 80-years-old in my rocking chair, stars still twinkling in my eyes – telling Patrick, “This is it, amor! This is going to be THE year! I can feel it! Hey, let’s go inside now, Crafter’s Coast to Coast is on!”
Present day. The realization has set in that maybe my collection of 98,456 words will suck harder than Loverboy on that awful TV show the other night.
I’m worried my agent is sitting at the dining room table, asking his wife for advice RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT on how to break the news to me about my horrible novel.
Agent: (Swallows piece of iceberg lettuce from dinner salad. Sighs.) “I told her I was enjoying it so far…”
Wife: (Dabs corner of mouth with napkin) “Uh-oh. You didn’t use an exclamation point, did you?”
Agent:(Stabs a cherry tomato with fork) “No, of course not. I made sure to use a period.”