Monday, October 14, 2013

Guilt and Fear and Crazy: Welcome to my Brain

There always comes a point in the writing process when I feel like I've just cheated my publisher. This point usually begins just after I've signed a contract. It goes like this: 

1. Signs contract. Laughs. Snorts a little. Has a glass of wine. 

2. Wakes up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. The following thoughts run through my not-even-very-wine-addled brain: 

That book isn't even very good. 

I mean it's really, really not very good. 

How can I trust this publisher when clearly the people who make the decisions about what to buy are illiterate fools

THIS PUBLISHER WILL BE BANKRUPT IN A WEEK! 

Oh god oh god oh god.

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3. Receives an email from the editor with requests for editorial changes. Checks it twice because it only appears to be a few short paragraphs. 

What the hell is wrong with these people? This story is unsalvageable. We must slash and burn. SLASH AND BURN!  

4. Can't bear to look at the manuscript. Can feel it sitting there on the computer. Lurking. Accusing. Whispering: You're a fraud and you know it. What the hell were you even thinking? This is garbage!!! 

5. Eyes approaching deadlines fearfully. Finally transfers MS onto the Kindle and tries to pretend it's like a real book or something, even though that's totally pointless because the idea was crap and the execution was terrible, and I hate the characters with the burning intensity of a million suns. 

6. Reads book. 

7. Huh. 

8. Actually, that's not as bad as I thought it was. That might even be...gasp...okay. 

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9. Fragile hope is restored. As is faith in publisher and editors who are, of course, the most beautiful people in the world. Ever. Probably even nicer than Gandhi, who I'll bet secretly smacked puppies. 

10. Wallows in guilt for ever having brought Gandhi into this. 

And that's my writer's brain all over. When I'm writing, I'm happy. When I'm submitting, I'm reckless. When I'm accepted, I turn into a gibbering mess of insecurities and want to weep wildly on the floor. When I'm editing, eventually I come to terms with the fact that maybe I can actually string a sentence together. And when I'm published...well, by then I'm usually a gibbering mess about a whole other book I'm working on. 

LET'S ALL RIDE THE CRAZY SPIRAL OF FEAR AND SHAME! 
It looks a little bit like this: 

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Writers be crazy. 


4 comments:

  1. That's it, all right. One thinks it'll be different when you've gotten to the point where publishers are paying for your work - and readers as well. But instead it feels like you only have a larger audience to fail in front of.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It sounds like you need more drinking of wine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That DOES sound like an excellent suggestion, cheers!

      Delete

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