HI! Remember me? I’m that girl that used to blog five days a week. What happened?
I’ll tell you what happened–life happened. Yeah I had to get used to working a part-time J-O-B again. Then add in a jewelry business on the side. Then for fun, I wrote a novel in my copious spare time.
The novel’s working title is House of Lucan. It’s a science fiction fantasy. I finally learned after years of writing that if I talk about a plot I won’t write it. So I shut-up and put-up or rather put the plot down on paper. I have to thank dear Eva Jarkiewicz for being my cheerleader through the process. Her almost daily support was why I got through the first draft!
Last week I went to Madison. I attended the Writer’s Institute at the Madison Concourse Hotel. It was an excellent conference. There I officially pitched to two agents and wound up beside another at lunch. All three are interested in the book and me. So I am continuing work with them to see if one is a match for me.
While there I realized how far I’ve come as a writer. I have published works from large publishers. I have connections in the industry. I’ve learned a lot of techniques that have improved my writing. I have cards with my picture! Yet when it comes to writing I feel I’ve not made any progress. I don’t know what I would think would be progress. I mean if I by some grace of the fates I wound up on the USA Today’s best seller list that inner voice in me would say, “Yeah but it’s not the New York Times.” If I got that I know the inner voice would say something like, “Yeah but that’s just in the US” and so on. I’m beginning to think that little voice in my head is the type my father warned me about. He said there are those who “if they had the Taj Mahal as an outhouse it still wouldn’t be good enough.”
Part of the writer’s block I battled for so long came from this little voice saying ‘no matter what it’ll never be good enough, you’ll never be good enough.’ The badgering (my apologizes to Wisconsin) got to me and I froze. Then along came Eva and her virtual pom-poms. She liked it. She really really liked it. I could do more to please a friend. As I did more and more I looked back and taa-daa I had a first draft of a novel. Sure it needed work but for the first time I had a first draft that I loved. One that maybe it wasn’t good enough but it would do, do for Eva and me if no one else.
Then I worked on it just a little bit and took the jump to Madison to workshop it and pitch it. I had two one on one critique sessions with experienced people in the industry. I was shocked when I left each session. I had pages, WHOLE PAGES!, with not a mark on them. When I asked they said “It’s great as it is.” I was stunned and remembered the bloody page I got back from my very first one on one critique from a pro. I HAD come a long way.
As I moved about in the conference having meals and had down time with others attending I realized how very few had published as I had. That had actually worked with real publishers and editors. How few knew people that worked in the industry and talked with them about the market, trends, and such. How few of them knew the industry guidelines on genre, chapter structures, word count, dialogue, and such.
It wasn’t then I had time to reflect on how far I’d come. Instead I had anxiety over the pitches. Then when I had them like it I walked out feeling like Sally Fields accepting her Oscar. “I can’t deny the fact that right now you like me. YOU LIKE ME!” The funny thing was that night after all the pitches were done, the one on one critiques, the critique group, THAT was when I woke multiple times with anxiety attacks. After it was all over, that was when I experienced the worst of it.
Now with a week’s perspective I can look back. I think what was happening that last night was that ‘never gonna be good enough’ voice experiencing some pretty crippling blows. It was his/her anxiety of not controlling me as much any more that woke me. No, I’m not there yet. Where ever ‘there’ is now because it’s always a moving target. But I have achieved some theres and passed them. It’s just now I’m on my way to the next there and this time is different because I’m enjoying the journey. I’ve learned to say ‘so what, it makes me happy’ occasionally to that badger above my office door. I know that no matter what my stuff is good enough for me, my friend, and once upon a time in Madison for three strangers that are literary agents. Mark that down as another there achieved and on to the next one.