It’s now 4 days since I submitted my latest novel to a couple of agents. I look at my email account at least 10 times a day and with every pulling down the screen to refresh the page, my heart sinks deeper. I know it probably won’t happen anyway. I’ve known it all along. But still.
Sending off that book was, like I explained in Tuesday’s post, like saying goodbye to an old friend without knowing whether you’ll ever see them again. Or like sending your kid off to a week away with their teachers, although in that case you know they’ll be back. But it makes your heart feel empty, and since Tuesday, I’ve been feeling completely lost, much more than at any other point this year yet (Or maybe not, but I’ve been to busy forgetting about it and imagining myself that I’m always super motivated and confident of what I’m doing).
The idea of having worked hundreds, or more like thousands of hours on writing things that probably nobody will ever read is not necessarily frustrating, but more like, scary. It makes me feel stupid for ever believing that I’m good enough, stupid to waste time on something I’m obviously still not good enough at, stupid to make myself crazy over self-imposed deadlines and completely delirious by carrying my manuscript around for months already so I can edit it anywhere at any time (mostly in the mornings while waiting for the PC to warm up – it takes a long time, it’s an old one – or in the evening in bed, when everyone else is finally settled).
And although my head is buzzing with doubts, fears, frustration … it is also already buzzing with potential ideas and stories, and even crazier plans. I have at least 3 or 4 ideas in mind, and some now include children’s stories, although I’ve never done that before. What this does is only open up the gate for even more work, more research and more reading.
While I was doing my research on children’s books today, I realized how happy and excited I was feeling: I haven’t experienced that in a long time, and it really really feels good. And I thought, well, if that isn’t a sign… it definitely makes my heart beat faster. And I remembered a blog post over from Mary Kate at Wanderlusty Writer, who opened up about the different stages of Novel-Writing in the form of a ranking from worst to best. And I loved the post, because she dares speak of the things that I hate so much too, and that make me wonder why the hell I’m doing this to myself!
Thus, in a constant search for justifying my secret passions and convincing myself that they’re worth every minute, here’s what I’ve found makes my heart beat faster :
- Waking up with a crazy idea for a story (often from an even crazier dream), and feeling absolutely confident that it will be great. That feeling often floats away once I’m sobered up after two cups of coffee. How I wish I could hold onto that feeling of self-confidence, self-trust in my abilities, and absolute power that I can succeed in anything!
- Brainstorming on story ideas: I love to scribble down on some draft papers ideas for a story, creating characters and conflicts, and the ideas just come jumping at me, people begging to be part of the story and squeezing their way in.
- Writing the first draft: I’ll sweat and cuss over it, but I have to admit that I love it. Having a nice, big word count at the end of the day, and the feeling that the story moved onwards an inch. Maybe even two.
- Writing a really good scene. When I’m revising a story, I’ll happen to stumble upon that one or other scene that I really love. I can’t say why, as the writing won’t be that extraordinary, but they are the ones that aren’t too awful to read and edit 10 times over.
- Falling in love with my characters: Yes, that’s actually a thing. I feel very protective about them, and they are like invisible friends, following me around. I know them inside out and feel like their most trusted friend, that they would even show their private diaries to. When I then read passages about them where they suffer, I feel like hitting the person that is harming them. Yup, it’s a bit awkward…
- Getting hit by a wonderful plot twist, that makes you want to jump up and scream “yes!” no matter where you are at that moment.
- Completing the last edit of a story. Glorious. Just until the point when you send it off to literary agents and realize that the outside world might not love your story as much as you do. You get possessive, protective and defensive. Just like when someone criticizes your child. You become a lioness, or something along those lines.
- dreaming that someone out there might read the story one day and get completely absorbed in the character’s endeavors just like I got.
These are just a few of the things that popped into my mind, and it’s a good reminder to myself that writing just keeps me sane, in a way. Not only can I have my very own imaginary friends, I get to live other lives, live through adventures and shape destinies. Who wouldn’t want that?
What makes your heart beat faster?