On Fear & Faith

I’m bribing myself again.
Self, you are not allowed to buy any more Christmas presents until you finish this revision!
I’m feeling Decembery. I’ve been feeling Decembery for like a week now, before it was actually, y’know, December. I want to shop and do crafty things and drink tea and read books and learn to bake cinnamon rolls (I am on a total Starbucks cinnamon roll kick–omg, they’ve replaced cranberry bliss bars as the Most Delicious Thing Ever! Do you have a good recipe? For the kind you unroll and there’s cinnamon between the layers and yummy icing? Please share).

Anyway, it’s like–remember how at the end of the fall semester you were all, I don’t wanna write my final papers, I just wanna lay on the floor in the lounge and stare at the Christmas lights and eat these sugar cookies I stole from the dining hall? It’s like that. I don’t wanna revise. I want to buy endless amounts of shiny red things to put in my house. But I can’t keep procrastinating. That is not the way dreams are accomplished.

When I am actually revising, I love it. Thrice-Blessed is my favorite thing I’ve ever written. I know that I’m making it better. I feel the little a-ha moments, these clicks where I know it’s better, and it’s very happy-making. Downright euphoric.
But thinking about revising–oh, that way lies madness. I worry that I’m taking too long. Is six weeks too long to revise a book? It feels very slow. I worry that Awesome Agent Jim won’t love it and will want great big revisions. Or that he will love it and it’ll go right out on submissions. And then what? Then I will become a crazyface with her eyes glued to the inbox again, that’s what. What if no one wants it? What if I wait and wait and get happy-making editorial notes and revise and wait and wait and then it has to be shelved too? What if it’s not better enough?
Unfortunately, better enough isn’t objectively quantifiable. So I try to push those thoughts out of my head and get back to work.

First, though, let me point you in the direction of this very honest post by Natalie Whipple about the ups and downs of her publishing journey so far: What Happens When It IS You. I admire her determination and her bravery in posting about how hard it’s been. I was lucky to get an agent quickly, so I haven’t been at it so long, but I commiserate with how awful a failed submission can be. Shelving a book is hard, even if it’s not necessarily forever. And if feels like maybe you shouldn’t mention it much until you do sell because then what will people think?

You know what? Eff ’em. 

And when I say them, I mean my own doubts too. Those perfidious, insidious little whispers. I’m a better writer than I was a year ago. Thrice is a better book than Garolass. Cate is a stronger, more active protagonist. I have an awesome agent who has faith in me.

have faith in me. It’s still there, deep down, beneath the fear and the whispers.

It’s going to happen. It’s just a question of when.

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