Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thoughts of a Third Drafter

Lately I've been devoting most of my typing resources (outside of working away like a busy bee) to my novel. Re-reading it, Revising it, cursing it, flinging it across the room and running away weeping loudly, you know- the usual. I am now on draft three and anticipate my final version ready to go before agents and/or publishers by December and I can't help but feel excited, nauseated, heart stoppingly panicked by the thought. I picture the agent with his short cropped hair, a light mustache and a pencil over his ear, reading my work, throwing his hands up in the air and then either running around in excitement or... horror. I really can't decide which it will be.

These thoughts are troubling because they tend to hinder my progress because I know that my heart will break if every agent and publisher who meets my novel flings into the vertical filing cabinet (read: trash can). In some ways the fear of this makes me prefer my own rose colored daydreams of seeing my book at Borders while I sip a latte and sign books to the more realistic reality... *gulp* I think I can write okay but then in the same breath my insecurities threaten to engulf me. A co-worker offered to read my manuscript and though I lent him and his wife my first 50 pages, when he sat down to give me his feedback, he asked me why I was suddenly the color of strawberry. The fear is natural because I have put myself in it. My characters are all pieces of me, my good and my bad. To reject my work is to reject me. In some ways when I read the work of other published (and successful) writers who I cringe at as I read their adverbs and stilted dialogue, I shout, I can write better than this! and proceed to want to give up since clearly you need to be well connected to get published if this could see the light of day. But that's not true all the time. JK Rowling, Dr. Seuss, and many other writers nearly fell into obscurity because people didn't get their work. But finally someone did, and then everyone did. I have to cling to that hope and I have to remember that even if no one but my friends and family read my book, it was still worth something. It was not written in vain.

8 comments:

Edward Ott said...

waiting for the reviews the worst part of writing. if u want u can read some of the short stories i have on my blog and critique them. might make u feel better.

adnan. said...

i kinda struggle with the same thing, not with writing but with pretty much everything else.

but at the end of the day, and i know it's easier said than done, you can't control what other people will think.

i think that at least calms me down after the fact, knowing that i can't change what other people think. and i shouldn't be trying to either. as long as i'm somewhat satisfied.

Umm Hibaat said...

Salaam Aisha,

I really like your style of writing and would love to read your book!

Sofi said...

salams,

for what its worth, i enjoy reading your blog. but at the same time, i'm sure there will be others out there who dont. similarly, your book will have it fair share of feedback :-) like youve said in your entry, you should remain optimistic. no matter what anyone says, insecurities will definitely be prevalent, esp as its your first book (presumption). in time, youll grow confident as a published author and reminisce fondly on this moment in highsight :-) good luck!

Aisha said...

Edward Ott, I'd be happy to take a look at your stuff. Thanks for your commiseration :)

Adnan you are absolutely correc- we cannot let the perceptions of others change our own self perceptions and our consequent actions for the worse.

Sofi, your words are of comfort and a great reality check as well. i will have some that will hate it but hopefully some (perhaps more) will like it. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it.

mystic said...

anhaannn

I always wondered about progress of that novel !!!

Anonymous said...

...all i'll say is that i await publication of your first novel and would like a signed copy, please...:)


-ash

Aisha said...

Mystic, its coming :) One of these days!

Ash, when that day comes, you get a complimentary copy for your sweet words of encouragement! :)

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