It’s getting close to submission time for Tyler’s Intergalactic Spy Squad. (Title change!) And as a result, I’ve been something of a non-productive, panicky mess for the past few weeks.
On the plus side, I got lots of Christmas knitting done.
Here’s the thing. Most of the books that I’ve submitted to publishers (except for one not-quite-ready effort very early in my writing career when I didn’t know better), and all of my published books, came with deadlines already attached.
But this one is different. Nobody’s waiting for it, except maybe my agent — and I wasn’t even sure of that until yesterday. There’s no real due date, except for the one in my head. Which, for the record, was last December.
So it’s really easy to keep working on it and working on it. A book can always get better. Always. There are changes I wish I could make to my published novels… but, of course, they’re off-limits. This one isn’t.
But there’s also a point when you have to shove a manuscript out the door and get on with something else, and I’m very close to that point. And that’s scary. So I stopped working on it for a while.
I’ve seen this happen to my writing friends, but somehow, with my deadline-driven past, I figured I’d be immune. Ha!
There’s an Erica Jong quotation: “I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.” That probably ties into it. When I stop making my book better and start sending it out, it can be rejected. Before that, it can’t.
And let’s face it, rejections are inevitable. If I’m lucky, there’ll be someone somewhere along the line who says yes, but there will probably be a lot of no’s before it gets to that point. That’s the nature of the business.
Anyhow, I’m back on the writing wagon now, and I have a finish line in mind. On December 7 it goes to my agent and to another trusted friend (thanks, Sue!). That should give me time to address the last few things I want to deal with, and to do a read-aloud and tighten the manuscript. It might be close, but it’s doable.
And then… back to the Christmas knitting to avoid fretting while I wait for feedback. After all, these procrastination projects have to be good for something!