The last time I sat down to write an entry here, I was certain that I was revving up again and would be penning one of these entries on a regular and ongoing basis. However, that was before the first round of submissions on my novel had received a disquieting chorus of nays. Let me amend that: the response wasn’t all negative. We heard back from a few editors who actually liked the book but couldn’t see a way to publish it or couldn’t get support in house. My main takeaway was that things out there in bookland were as bleak as I’d heard. Rather than kicking my nonexistent dog or lying down in bed for a week, I decided to put aside the new novel I had started and dive back into the old one. I thought I might spend a couple of weeks on it. Somehow that turned into two months.
Now I’m finished, and next week the revised manuscript goes out again. Hopefully, the results will be different this time. My agent, even before she saw the new rewrite, was upbeat when we talked. She said, “We’re going to sell this book.” A writer friend I talked with yesterday said she received 39 rejections on her last book before someone finally said Yes. I’ve only had 14 No’s, so I guess I’m ahead of the game.
Last night, I went back and read the beginning of my new novel, the one I put aside for two months. I was encouraged by what I read. But instead of getting back to work, I’ve been procrastinating all day today. I’ve spent time listening to the Allman Brothers live at the Fillmore East on Youtube (the book is set in the 1970s). I’ve spent time reading other people’s novels. I’ve spent time making notes. I have not spent time writing. Am I afraid? Well, let’s put it this way: it’s a little bit like riding the chairlift up the mountain for the first run of the season. You get off the lift. You stand there for a while on the ridge, adjusting your boots and your gloves and staring down the mountain. You know you’re going to push off eventually and head down that mountain, but you’re just not quite ready, not yet, so you take another few seconds, make a few more adjustments…and then…
Well, now you know why I’m here.