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.

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Quotes to Consider

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin

"Well behaved women rarely make history."~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”~William G.T. Shedd (1820-1894), theologian, teacher, pastor

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." ~Franklin D Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd U.S. president

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), essayist, poet, philosopher

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
~ Wayne Gretzky