I am right now suffering from one of the most prevalent disorders known to writer-kind. Symptoms include:
- Delusions of grandeur routinely followed by crippling self-doubt
- Refreshing of the email inbox at an obsessive rate
- Stalking of literary agents on twitter
- Phoning your mother at absurd times and saying nothing is going on. You just "want to talk"
- Hoping your mother doesn't catch on to you
- Banging your head against the computer as you try to force yourself to write something - really anything - that isn't that last story you fell so head-over-heels in love with
I've talked a little bit about querying before and honestly, probably the hardest thing about it isn't the actual work of querying or even the inevitable and frequent rejection. It's the waiting. Waiting gives me opportunity to play head games with myself and frankly, I don't need any extra time or motivation to do that.
For example, a few days ago, I asked my sister if she wanted me to make scrambled eggs. When she said she didn't, I did my best to act like I understood, but ultimately we needed to sit down and chat about why it was I'd wanted so badly to make her eggs and why she didn't realize that saying, "No, it's okay. We'll just feed the boys mac n cheese" was so disappointing. Eventually, she let me make her a grilled cheese sandwich and I felt better.
Let me repeat: THIS WAS OVER EGGS!!!!
Like, this was over something that really didn't matter, and I still had dreamed up this whole narrative in my head of why the eggs should be scrambled, what would happen when they were and why the universe would be a better place because I had scrambled some eggs. So when it didn't happen, the whole world order came crashing down and had to be reconsidered because, apparently, the world was fine without my eggs.
If it's distressing when the world is fine without my eggs, you can only imagine what sort of mental and emotional acrobatics I put myself through wondering whether or not the world needs my books. Intellectually, I know that it probably doesn't need my particular voice any more than it needs any other honest, sincere person to speak up/write something down. I do believe that we're all created equal and that everyone has a story inside them and a voice worth listening to. The difference between writers and everyone else is frequently no more than mode of expression. But all the same, I wrote my book because I needed to share my stories. And hopefully, someone in the publishing world will find them more beguiling than my eggs.
In the meantime, one of my hardest jobs is to keep writing - to focus on future manuscripts rather than the one I've been sending off to literary agents in hopes of attracting attention. This is a skill I'm still learning. But this blog has become something that really helps me keep my mind on something else. And for that, I am super-duper grateful.
So to all of you who read this, thank you. Being able to talk with you about books has become one of my favorite ways to reboot my brain when it's agonizing over querying, writing and eggs.