Monday, May 11, 2009

Careful What You Wish For

The good news first - I wrote half a middle grade novel with my writing partner, we got an agent, and she sold the book for us! It's spectacularly great, everything I'd hoped for, and more.

The bad news - we have to write the second half of the book, on deadline, with the added pressure that this thing will actually become a book on a shelf someday in the not too distant future.

More good news - it hasn't paralyzed me, but it has forced me to look at my writing with a far more critical eye. And writing on deadline is something that I respond to. It takes care of a lot of the game-playing I do with myself.

More bad news - I'm terrified, that I won't finish, that it will be rejected and our wonderful opportunity will be squandered, that I will be revealed as the fraud I suspect I am. The stakes were raised quickly, and I'm having a bit of a hard time adjusting.

I realize I have no right to complain, at all, and for that I apologize, but I think it's worth noting - the self-doubt, the questioning, the pesky blank page that stares right back at you - none of that goes away even if your book is going to be published. At least not for me, yet.


  1. No need to apologize - self-doubt is real and infects everyone from the successfully published, the soon-to-be published, to the pre-published.

    Just remember that you must be good if you got far enough to get an agent. That's something! And in the dark hours of the night when self-doubt keeps you awake banish it by re-playing all the great things your agent has said about the work so far.

  2. Congratulations! And put that inner editor to bed for a while. Enjoy the thrill and write, write, write because you love to. Write as if you still had no agent, no publisher. Remember to have fun.

  3. I think there are some fears that never go away: monsters in the closet; how to kiss someone for the first time; and blank computer screens.

    You earned this shot. And remember, you are part of a team -- with an agent, editor and publishing house behind you. It sounds like you all share the same vision. I have no doubt the finished product will be fantastic.

  4. Wow! I didn't even know you could sell half a middle grade novel. i thought only non-fiction could be sold before it was finished. CONGRATS!!!

  5. I think all writers have a streak of insecurity. And why not? Most have scads more rejections than acceptances.

    It's hard to change your mind set, but remember: that agent didn't say yes just to make you happy. That agent said yes because she believed your novel would be completed, be published, and make money!

  6. I remember hearing Avi speak at a conference once. He said writing gets harder, not easier, with each subsequent book. He worries about finding fresh ways to say the same thing for the umpteenth time. He worries about selling enough books to continue paying the mortgage on his two homes (I think that's how many he said he has). Despite the fact that he's hugely successful, he's still wracked with doubt about his writing career. I guess it never goes away. Something else to look forward to, eh Val? ;-)

    p.s. Your book rocks!

  7. Think of it this way, if you're your own worst critic, then what everyone else will say (agent, editor, reader) will have only good to say. Good for you!

  8. I don't think you ever stop having self-doubts if you're prone to them. It's something you have to deal with and somehow rise above. Easier said than done! Of course once the book is out, you worry about it being on the shelves, getting into the right hands, reader reviews on Amazon...the list goes on.

    Bask in this Val - you've earned this success!