Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Avoidance and Submission

I stole this from Jenaveve at August Street, who stole it from Hokey, who probably stole it from... oh, look - you could steal it too.

I don't usually blog on Tuesdays. I'm meant to be working on my agent submissions. So this morning I spent a couple of hours on my art blog, another couple researching for future art postings, and messed around with three of four long emails. I moved a cat bed to the top of the desk where Baby can look out of the window, made sure she was comfortable, and then I watched a bit of CNN and the BBC. In all, I've successfully dilly-dallied (like that one, Lapillus?) away five hours, because I started at 8:oo am.

So I want to talk a bit about avoidance.

I'm a very spontaneous person and not always particularly responsible. When I get the urge to go for something, I throw myself into it fully, bravely, and - yes - obsessively, if the idea is a passion. I should be at a stage in my life where I am settled, but at any moment - when the whim strikes - I could be off phoning shipping companies again, preparing to take off for another country. So one must conclude that I am adventurous and a risk-taker.

But this novel thing, this submission process, is a puzzle. Here it is, at last, the chance to go forward with the manuscript, and I hesitate; I rarely hesitate about anything.

I believe it's a mixture of fears. Here are the two obvious ones:

1) I could fail; after years of thinking of myself as a relatively good writer, I could be horribly misguided, on the wrong track. This would be somewhat of a tragedy. I've thought of myself as a writer since I was six.

2) I could succeed, finding fame and glory; this would be terrible for me because I would hate to live in the limelight. In fact, I can't think of anything worse than to be scrutinized by the media or the public. I enjoy anonymity (blogging is a safe way to connect with people without falling under their direct gaze). I so get what happened to J.D. Salinger.

In my perfect world, I would publish my book, never have to go on the road to market it, never have to give an interview, but receive thousands of letters from loving readers who can't wait for the next one. No one would recognize me at the store, but I would earn enough from royalties to own homes in three countries. You know where.

Not selling the book guarantees anonymity, right? (Huge sigh) Do we quiet little writers, who enjoy being locked away in our rooms creating our characters, who avoid social gatherings except to observe with our writer's eye, want to be out there? And the very word, 'submission', means surrender, doesn't it?

I wonder how you feel about it all. Perhaps you can re-motivate me... I would like to feel brave again in the morning.


nms said...

Hi Fran, I see you linked to Mary Carroll Moore's blog post about Ken Atchity. I maintain his blog and he has great tips for writers and lots of news on what's going on in publishing etc.

Lapillus said...

Funny. I have the same fears and the same "perfect world" wish.

I really fret about the fact that I'll have to market myself if/when I publish.


There are pros and cons to nearly everything it seems, life-long dreams included.

Fran said...

Oh, Lapillus, It's so nice not to be this way alone.

Jenaveve said...

Well, not to sound corny, but as Jim says in the quote above: 'It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them too'.

All perfectly natural, the fear. And without it one may never pick up a pen and paper and get started. Think of where you've come and know that wherever you are taking this too, you will do with care.

I just wrote to a friend, only a moment before reading your post, that this is the year for 'no fear'. Might be a handy mantra for the next crazy part of the journey.

*and good luck*

Kit Courteney said...

Spookily... or not so... I also have the same fears. Exactly the same.

Perhaps those of us who think like that are (dare I say it) NORMAL...?