Friday, February 26, 2010

Insecurities and fear

I read over my own blog archives, and I see my 'persona' as a pretty confident, optimistic presence. And to some extent, that is true to the real life 'me'. I'm fairly even tempered, mostly optimistic, but confident? Well, let's just say that's what I aspire toward.

I think this is a common affliction among creative types. We put our true selves into our work, and if the work is rejected, or even not embraced as we would wish, it can be devastating.

I've been fighting the black clouds of disappointment and dejection some some months now waiting (and hoping) for my first book to sell. It's been a little over a year since I signed with my agent (the gracious Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency) and almost 10 months since she began to shop the manuscript of "The House of Many Doors." Despite what all the writers and industry folks caution, at least part of me believed that getting the attention of an agent was the biggest and last hurdle.

(Okay, I can hear you laughing. Go ahead, get it out of your system. I'll wait.)

So when it seemed as if that manuscript was going nowhere (it *is* with an editor at one of the big houses who asked for one round of revisions, but we haven't heard back in some time), I sent Nephele another YA manuscript to read. My changeling story, "The Between."

I was more than a little nervous. When I had first quick-pitched it to her when I started the project, she was cautious. There are a lot of YA Faerie stories out there and the market is tight. But I thought I had a different take on the changeling tale, so I took a chance and went with it.

Nephele had the manuscript for a few weeks and I was sitting on pins the entire time. My insecurity demons were at me full force. She hates it. She hates me. The first manuscript was a fluke. She won't like anything else I ever write. If I email her, she'll think I'm a pain and drop me as a client. My house will get hit by a giant asteroid, destroying my computer and all my backups. You can see how this is going.

All the while, I kept my outward self calm, cool, and collected, while dealing with house repairs that never seemed to get finished, moved elderly, ill parents into assisted living, and had an emergency appendectomy. And I wondered why I was feeling blocked. :shakes head:

Yesterday, Nephele and I had a long telephone conversation and the upshot is that not only does she like the new manuscript, she loves it. Thinks its spot on, a different and marketable take on Faerie, and pretty darned 'clean' in terms of the writing and potential edits.

So while nothing is changed, everything is changed.

I think I needed the reminder that I am my own worst enemy. That anxiety and fear only have power over me when I give it to them. That the only way through is forward. That I need to trust in myself.

Keeping the faith in writer-land.


  1. My friend, YA is a pretty wild market right now, good for you for plowing ahead and marching forward. I wish you all the best.

  2. Thanks Josh--I took a peek at your blog and I really like your writing voice. I loved the sharks book. Tell that kiddo to keep writing. :)

  3. You are such an inspiration! I am under continuous criticism for the writing on our IT company website, which keeps evolving -- sometimes is just want to delete it all. On one side I have techs who want details that no one but a tech could ever understand, on the other, the people who need to understand IT and don't. This article helps.