This is kind of a general question directed at other writers (or ‘authors as I try to say with solemn reserve- thats what my business card indicates but it always makes me feel as if Im 10 years old and wearing my moms high heels). I just finished a rough draft of my new book (Feltus Ovalton and the Awful Becoming) as all the world knows. The world inside my house. And in the interim before my excellent editor gets back to me (no doubt to poke it full of seemingly impossible-to-fix holes which cast me into despair but which I know in my heart of hearts will make the book a better one) I have such an urge to share it. Not to post it up here because I may get some unsought- for criticism but to let my mother and my sister read it, since they think Im wonderful, or my biggest fan in this town, Julie, and then they can tell me how much better it is than the first one, which of course was excellent. Writers are such a weird combination of hubris and humbleness, of arrogant ego (I wrote a book and surely someone will want to publish it!) and crippling insecurity. I didnt think I was like that and Im a soul-searching kind of a gal. Ive also worked with a lot of musicians and rock stars and they are like that so I thought I had some kind of radar and could sense it a mile away. Turns out my radar doesnt work on myself.
So I hover between thinking for a few golden seconds that something I wrote is pretty good and the rest of the time knowing its complete crap and could have been so much better if I had even a milligram of talent. However let me be the first to say, that editors are able to somehow find the diamond in the pig sty. Mine will point problematic things out to me which immediately become crystal clear. She pushes me to find the perfect words; ruthlessly separates the chaff; forces me to kill those precious turns of phrase that scream out to the reader, “Look!Look! Im being very clever here! She also has the uncanny ability to spot plot weaknesses, which I am subconsciously aware of but am too lazy to fix. Did I mention Im lazy? Im sure most writers arent but Im just not that professional yet.
So I feel this crazy desire to share my manuscript with people who Im pretty sure will give me compliments and praise before I have to get down to the hard work of revising with a sheaf of notes from my editor; but then theres also a part of me that wants to wait until it is all done; until it has become a book, with cover artwork (hopefully provided by the immensely talented Alisa Baldwin)- all brightly inked and glossy and thick. When I got my first copies of Feltus #1, I spent a lot of time just weighing it in my hands and feeling the shiny cover and staring at my name on the front and on the spine. Did you know that your name is printed at the top of every other page? I had never noticed until it was my name. See what I mean about the ego?
Incidentally isnt it so cool that all these professional people, like editors and the marketing and rights department, take your work seriously? Sometimes I feel like Im perpetrating the biggest fraud, and then other times I think, ‘theyre so lucky to be in my sphere of consciousness.- not really!
Anyway, its hard because I may have to wait for a month until my editor gets back to me- she is very much in demand- but I think I am going to sit on the book for awhile. The feeling of unbearable excitement is almost like knowing youre getting heaps of chocolatey goodnesses in your xmas stocking. Of course I was the kid who woke up early xmas morning and ate all of mine before the sun had even risen.