The hardest part of the write-revise-submit-write-revise-submit cycle, for me anyway, is the post submission malaise.
When I’m writing, I’m fired with enthusiasm – either for the draft in hand, or for whatever shiny new idea I have had to put aside until it’s finished. Either way, I’m plugging on, getting words on the page, clocking up the word count in the relevant column of my tracking spreadsheet. I’m making progress.
When I’m editing, there’s a growing stack of marked up pages in front of me, testament to how hard I’m working, how much closer I’m getting to my goal. And when I’m typing in my changes, there’s the even better messy pile of finished pages, ready to be turned into drawing paper for my daughter. Visible progress, once again.
Even when I’m submitting, there’s the tidy folder of emails, or the stack of mail for the post office. There’s the satisfaction – and the fear – of knowing that my words are going to be read by people I’ve never met, and hoping that they like them.
And then, there’s the sitting back and waiting to hear. This is the bit I’m not very good at.
I know, of course, that the best thing to do is get stuck into a new project, to just keep working. Takes the mind off the waiting, and means that if everyone says “no” there’s something new to send out later. It keeps the cycle going.
But it’s just so hard. My brain just whispers “Why are you bothering?” every time I sit down at my desk. “If they all reject the last one, do you really want to go through all this again?” it says. “Isn’t it time to just give up, while you still have time to find a new dream?”
And that tends to be the one thing that jerks me back into action. I don’t have another dream, and I don’t want to try to find one - writing is it for me. So even if every single agent on my submission list rejects Sea Fever, I need to have a new project in hand, ready to keep the cycle going.
Write, revise, submit and repeat. It’s the only way I’m ever going to become a published author. And that dream is the only thing that shakes off the post submission malaise, for me.
What works for you?