Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cold Feet

Until recently, I've been psyched to send my novel to agents. This baby's been gestating for roughly 28 months, and I'm ready to burst. I mean, I know some writers refine texts for  years&years&years&years&years before they even think about publishing, but it's not like I'm writing War and Peace* here. I honestly think I've taken it about as far as it can go without professional help.

So anyway, I was really excited to send it out. Until I started writing query letters, that is.

I don't know what it is about trying to distill my book-baby into a few (extremely compelling) paragraphs, but it's making my self-esteem take a nosedive. I imagine it's similar to cold feet before a wedding.

To be clear, I'm not fishing for compliments. I'm still proud of my novel. Even if it never gets published, I wrote a cohesive, entertaining, 80,000+ word story. What have you been doing with your life?

Nevertheless, I'm an ambitious woman, and I'm inclined to measure my self-worth by my accomplishments. I really fucking want this to succeed. And I suspect that's the source of this sudden dip in confidence--I'm teetering on the precipice of success or failure, and I can't control the outcome.

See? "Teetering on the precipice"--hack writing.

The fear doesn't make any difference, of course. I'm going to write the damn query letters and send them to list of agents I've so carefully curated. I've scheduled it all in my Passion Planner, which basically means it has to happen now. I have no choice in the matter.

If any of you have experienced similar bouts of cold feet, I'd love to hear how you managed to overcome them. Right now my only remedy is lots of hot tea. Hot tea is my remedy for everything.

*I've never read War and Peace. Is it any good?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dispatch from an antique writing desk.

I'm typing at the antique writing desk I inherited from my Great Aunt Joan, which is easily my favorite piece of furniture in my new apartment. The apartment isn't new, of course; it's in an old Chicago building, squeaky wood floors, radiators painted white. But the windows are new, and the on-site handyman is friendly and reliable.

I haven't finished putting things together yet—another bookshelf is on the way tomorrow, a sofa and four dining chairs on Friday. My credit card bill is higher than it's ever been. But the good news is that I'll be able to afford it. My job may not be particularly glamorous, but as they say, it pays the bills. And I genuinely like my coworkers to boot.

I must take a moment to proclaim my eternal gratitude for Meg, Molly, Alex, Valy, Jon, and Felipe, who gamely lugged all my heavy objects up three narrow flights of stairs. They also kept me focused that evening at Target, when I had to stock my kitchen and bathroom. I'm not the most domestic person, and I honestly might have started crying in the middle of the store if they hadn't been there to tell me what I needed to buy.

Between all the moving and furniture-assembling—not to mention adjusting to the new commute—I haven't had much time to write. The first week of November I was so frustrated by my lack of literary progress that I forced myself to enter (b)OINK zine's 35mm fiction contest, so that if I produced nothing else, I could at least say that I had written 35 words. 

Then I found out I won the contest, which felt (and still feels) amazing. Thanks, (b)OINK!

My goal is to completely finish revising my novel by the end of this month. I'm essentially already there; I just have one scene that I need to edit, but I know how I'm going to edit it. And now I need to thank more people! Leta, Laura, Tim, Felipe—the novel would not exist in its current form without your sharp eyes and sharper brains.

Other things that have happened lately:
  • I went to see Arcade Fire with Gena. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.
  • I went to see Murder on the Orient Express with my family for my dad's birthday. Two disappointed thumbs down.
  • I joined the local YMCA, which has an indoor track and $40/month membership fees. Cue that disco classic