Anyone would have suspected that some kind of happiness would follow the completion of the revised draft, but for reasons unknown it been an anticlimax. It all came together so fast, tied up nicely and then just dropped off. I had arrived at the destination with such speed no one else was there yet. I blinked and looked around, then scratched my head. What now?
LETTING IT GO
I knew it had to be done. I had to let go. It needed reading. Easier said than done. Just making the announcement was difficult. It’s the acknowledgement that you’re lowering your defences, that the fear inside you is saying “come on, savage my efforts.” It should have been a moment of triumph, but instead was an exercise in gritting my teeth, waiting for the kicking to start.
I sent out the first copy and the first thing I did upon sending it was spot a small error. Nothing really. Just wording, but I set about fussing over it with a will until I forced myself to stop. So crazy, to have finished yet knowing that I still had work to do….
It reminded me of a video I had watched where the gentleman says of scriptwriting: “Show me someone who is happy with what they have written, and I will show you an amateur.” Just got to remember – IT’S NOT PUBLISHED YET DAVE!
So, resisting the urge I sent out a couple more; paper copies went to friends, family and assorted others. A nice age range and a mix of fantasy/sci-fi fans and people who weren’t. Different perspectives and all…..
I’d let it go. It was out there. All I need do is sit back and relax.
Wrong. One of the first readers enthused that it was “bloody good” and that he was “impressed with the writing style.”
Oh my days! I tried to keep calm, but what came to grow inside me wasn’t more confidence. It was the reverse. It was anxiety that it was all going to fall apart, that days later he’s said nothing , well, that first bit, yeah that was awesome! But then you went and did this thing and the story went over here and it all kinda sucked arse in the end……
I’m constantly waiting now for any word, checking email and social media, but more often stopping myself from checking. It’s only been a week I say to myself. People have lives that don’t entail the same level of obsession about the book as I do.
Got to let it go. Sit back, and relax…….
Instead of relaxing, I’m waiting. This is the impatience of completion. It’s a limbo where I don’t know where to direct my efforts, like the energy has sort of bled away now that I have arrived at that point. The party wont start until everyone’s caught me up.
So here I am, floating around in space, directionless. I consider that the reason it’s so hard is that I’ve been travelling in one direction so long it takes time to realign myself.
And it’s certainly not improving my mood as I find myself regularly standing about, wondering what in the Hell am I doing? I’m short tempered and impatient. Worse, I’m resenting my partner even though I have no right. I’m relying on her to not only give me criticism, but to help me gauge how much work I need to do for the book to fit its niche/genre. Her understanding is key…..
But like I said, I have no right to be angry about it. I’m just so impatient because this feedback will be the decider. It’ll determine the next step……
Publishing. Which path to choose? I’d like to say, that with the nice things that have been said by one or two people, that this work deserves to be taken up by a specialist publisher in the field of fantasy. It means they soak up some of the cost (as I have no real money to undertake self publishing) but I’ll need to find a literary agent. It equally means not receiving most of the revenue from sales, but balanced against that is the promotion and returns over time of a series.
It should be exciting, but instead the feeling seems to have drifted off into that limbo zone….
AND IN THE MEANTIME
So, in the meantime? What to do? Time to turn to a task that needs some love. I have dubbed it the Newman Project: several years ago I was approached to write a biography. It’s a long story, but the core of it revolves around false imprisonment, a contract killing and a vendetta, all mixed with a little reincarnation, petty crime and a hangman’s noose outside of Mitcham police station.
I’d put transcribing the interviews off because they’re a real pain in the arse to do, and like most people I hate the sound of my own voice.
Needs to be done. I couldn’t turn the work down, because it was free material that, no matter what, is gold dust for a writer. It was mainly that I needed to finish my own work first, and that I hadn’t been paid for what I had done so far (there’s often problems of cash flow when your income is from a questionable source and you’ve never had a bank account).
On top of the monotony of catching up on this admin, there’s the next book in the series to contemplate. I’ve got a few neat ideas, a set of characters and a situation that stems from the book I just finished, so it’s already shaping up in my mind. The circle is complete: back to the drafting process. As Burroughs says “destroy all rational thought.” Do it as fast as you can and don’t think about it until you’ve finished.
It’ll be my new rocket to ride, speeding off into my own little kingdom of clouds inside my head…….
OH, ONE LAST THING
I said I’d learn People Are Strange didn’t I? Well, the splint is off and I’ve been getting involved in the local music scene in the nearby town. I’ve made some new musical friends and I’ve started playing guitar again. So, no more excuses. Time to step forward. In much the same way as the book, it’s no good sitting at home practising. I’ve got these songs (even one or two I wrote myself) and if I don’t let them go, if I don’t let people experience them and (hopefully) enjoy them, then what’s the point of it all in the first place?
(PS, why Parquet Courts? It’s just been on the radio lots. Love that bass!)