Wednesday, May 18, 2011

That Odd Place

Here I am again.
My third manuscript is complete. Done. Finito.
I've gone through it a bazillion times. Run the spell and grammar check probably more than that.
Checked off all points, pacing, plot, characterization, rhetoric...the list is endless, but necessary.
And still, my finger hovers over that send button.

It's The Odd Place.
That place between dreaming and waking, when you're a little unsure of what's real and what's not.
That place between sanity and insanity. The place where it's okay to sail just a little off course.
It's that place where dreams may or may not come true.

Oh, I've been here before. I know it well.
My previous trips have been a mixture of excitement, wrong turns and a few do-overs. The last time I was here I won the jackpot.
Uncovered the Holy Grail of Publishing and discovered that elusive contract.
There are no guarantees that will happen again.

They say it takes guts to survive in the world of publishing. Guts, determination, fortitude, perseverance. So many things go through my mind at this point. Maybe you have to be a little crazy. Maybe you have to be all of the above and then some. Maybe, just maybe, you're actually good at this.

Did I mention The Odd Place has padded walls and an endless supply of Chardonnay?

I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. A gold embossed invitation from my agent perhaps? Well, I know that's not coming. It's more like, "Hit the dang button already, I've got a thousand other manuscripts to read before yours anyway..." Ah, yes, that self-important air that we authors carry around, well, it's all in our heads. We're really not all that. This is the paradox of living with a brain that never stops. We have visions of agents pressing the "Stop The World, This is Really The Best Book EVER!!!" button, and those visions don't take kindly to being doused with reality. And they so often are.
We love to dream about landing that ten book deal and six figure salary that comes with it. Oh, and don't forget the movies. Yes, the movies.
But this is okay. At least I think it is. To quote from said manuscript that is complete,
"What good are dreams that don't come true, Nick?"
"They keep hope alive."

Perhaps, in the beginning, this is what keeps us going. Perhaps we allow ourselves to indulge in our dreams because they make us feel good. They make us smile. And who doesn't like to smile?
Perhaps, when it really comes down to it, we're a little afraid that those dreams might come true. And a lot afraid that they won't.

So here I am again. I know what's ahead. A long wait. Maybe a rewrite. Maybe two. Or maybe we'll just pack that baby off to Submission Land and hope for the best, fingers and toes crossed.

The Odd Place is my safety zone. There's a big comfy chair where I curl up and stick my fingers in my ears and go, "La la la la la la, I can't HEAR YOU!!"
Told you it was odd.

But sooner or later all good things must come to an end. Yes, I know that's a cliche.
Sooner or later I will reach deep into the cavern of my soul and find an ounce of bravery.
It might even be today.
I would like it to be today.
But for now, I'm here.
Here in The Odd Place.

Where are you?


Terri Tiffany said...

Congrats on finishing your next book! I hope this one is swept up fast:))
I'm not sure where I am not--in query land--debating if I should even move forward with my next idea or not.

Loree Huebner said...

I second the congrats on finishing your next novel.

Enjoy yourself every step of the journey...even in that odd place.

I will be heading into query land in the near future with 3 novels complete...and the publication of my history article in June.

Katie Ganshert said...

It is an odd, yet exciting, place. For me, I'm also in an odd place. We can't submit anything for awhile due to contract clauses, so I'm in this weird place where there's no hurry to write, but I feel panicked not hurrying. If that makes any sense.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Congratulations on finishing another novel! I'm in the waiting room, so to speak, while I work on my third.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I enjoyed that post, Catherine - you explain it so well! All the best with your completed work.