Summer has come and gone, one of my ghost writing projects is wrapping up, and it’s time to try again. After an unsuccessful run at finding an agent and/or publisher for my novel earlier this year I took a few months to
wallow regroup and I think I’m ready to give it another go.
When at first I was coming to grips with the flaws in my book (some pointed out ever-so-gently by my husband and some pointed out not-so-gently by prospective agents) and receiving rejection after rejection after rejection (after rejection after rejection), I was so awash in the awful vulnerability that accompanies such risk and rejection that I wasn’t sure I’d resurface. The embarrassment of putting my 250+ page manuscript into someone’s hands (27 someones’ hands, actually, but let’s not belabor the point) and having them respond with a mere “meh,” was too much.
But after sitting with it for several months, I’ve gained at least a small amount of perspective and have been able to console myself with the knowledge that (a) I’m not alone — many (all?) writers have been in this very place, (b) first novels more often collect dust than not, (c) 27 people, when you think about it, isn’t really all that many, and (d) my mom loved it.
The idea for the first novel came to me in such a mysterious and almost magical way that I spent the early part of the Summer wondering if I have another one in me. Maybe that was all I got and I blew it! Shoooot. By mid-Summer, though, during a long drive, another story started pushing its way to the surface. And by Summer’s end I now have the faintest hint of a narrative arc for my next novel. Who knew?
I read Rising Strong by Brené Brown (I needed to know what, exactly, was supposed to happen after I got all bloody in the arena while Daring Greatly); I’ve been reading up on fiction-writing, learning more about the craft and theory of it; the Seattle Public Library is offering some (free!) fiction classes this Fall and I’ve got a few marked on my calendar; and I’ve been re-reading a few of my favorite novels for inspiration… so I guess I’m ready to give it the ol’ college try again.
I’ll admit that it’s hard to get started knowing that I might be sitting in this very spot again next year. Ahh well, there seems to be no help for it. Onward!
It was an ecstasy to write without hesitation,
to write everything hidden inside of me,
to write with the sort of audacity I wouldn’t have found in person.
-Sue Monk Kidd