|photo credit: woodsboard's Flickr photostream|
It's been almost eight months since I sold my novel, Calling Me Home, to St. Martin's Press, and it's about nine months until publication. (And in fact, it's only THREE months until publication in Germany!) Some days I find it hard to believe how quickly this time passed, yet I expect the next nine months will really race by.
And still, life goes on.
Things I found to be true before I sold the book, I still find to be true in all the months since. The kids still fight. The house still doesn't clean itself. My husband and I still get cranky with each other. The dogs … well, they're still stinky, ornery dogs.
And I still find myself terrified I'll never write a novel.
Wait, you say. You just sold a novel. You obviously wrote one.
It's true. I wrote well over 100,000 words on Calling Me Home to eventually cull it down to the 103K or so submitted first to agents, then editors. And now, after months of official edits and copy edits, the current incarnation is slowly making its way through the production process toward official publication.
In fact, I wrote another full manuscript before Calling Me Home. And most of one and parts of a few others before that.
But here I am again, back in the driver's seat. You'd think I'd be able to jump right in, take one of the ideas that has been floating around in the brain and pin it down, choose the right point of view character or characters, the perfect setting, the appropriate tense, and get right on it. That I would, to borrow an overused phrase, just do it.
But guess what? It isn't easy yet. If most of the authors I know are correct, it may never be easy. I feel a bit like I'm wandering in the wilderness and I'm trying to embrace it.
I suspect each and every novel I write will take on a life of its own, which is a good thing, but also means the process won't ever look exactly the same. What worked last time may be worthless this time. Or parts of the process may work just fine, but I may look at others and think, How on earth did I ever think it was a good idea to do it like that?
I suspect that the voices of self-doubt always waiting, right below the surface, will pop their silly heads up again and again, to say with smirks that there's no way I can write a whole book, there's no way anyone will be interested in what I have to say, there's no way I can get away with this idea … there's no way … there's no way …
I suspect there will be a few false starts, a few dead ends.
And I suspect that the new novel waiting to be told will reveal itself in new and surprising ways I never expected.
And so I listen and wait and dream and think …
I think I hear it. I think I see it. I think I smell it and taste it and feel it. I think it could work.
And I pray that the idea occupying most of the creative space in my mind today is the one.