People think that writing the book is the hard part.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s no cakewalk. It’s work, like any other creative endeavor. But as much frustration and heartache as writing a book can be, I’m finding that it’s what comes after that’s truly hard.
Creating something has never been a huge problem for me; I come up with stories and characters all the time. Most of them will never be seen outside the pages of my dream diary. Following through is the part that’s difficult. Unlike the usual act of generating and scribbling down ideas, actually finishing a manuscript and editing it to the point of potential publication is a first for me. As long as your novel is a “work in progress,” no one can really pass judgement on it. After all, it’s not finished.
But now it is. Now, I’m faced with the prospect of being a “real writer.” Someone who can be lifted up or shot down, and not necessarily according to my own merits. Even more frightening, I now have to tackle the other side of the writer’s equation: the business aspect. I have to be someone who must network and interact and do all of the stuff I’m absolutely horrible at. Everything from here on out is unfamiliar territory, and anyone who knows me also knows how much I hate being in new territory without a map. I’m stumbling around in the dark, trying to read the tattered scraps of notes left behind by those who have passed before me.
In thirty-one days, I will be going to a writers’ conference in New York City. First formal conference in my field, first trip to NYC. I’m bloody terrified. Not because I’m afraid of failing, because, frankly, I don’t expect to find an agent or make a deal at this thing. But I am going so far outside my comfort zone in so many ways that it might as well be a trip to the moon. While I don’t expect to find a home for Courting the Moon, I do want to make a good showing. To not embarrass myself. And I have frittered away so much time on trivialities before finally buckling down to business. I’ve barely scraped together a draft of a synopsis. I’ve just begun going over the list of agents and editors at the conference to see who I should pitch to, and I haven’t even started working on a pitch yet!
These are things I should have started back in April, right after finishing the final edit of Courting the Moon. But I guess, like so many people, nothing gets done until you light the fire of a swiftly-approaching deadline under my arse. It remains a thankless, soul-sucking task nonetheless. Or at least, it feels like that because I’m not actually making anything new. Just fitting myself for a literary straitjacket. Or perhaps a life-preserver.
At this stage, they look rather much the same.