Friday, August 11, 2006

Worry Wart

By looking at me, you might never guess that I’m a worry wart. Someone can announce any number of exciting or tragic things and my expression might stay the same unless I make a conscious effort. (Ever seen those "emotions of a cat" posters where the face is the same for happy, sad, angry...?) You might get an eyebrow arched or an eye roll to give away how I really feel. I guess it takes a while to figure me out sometimes. (It took DB 2 years.) This gives the appearance, however, that all is calm on the inside. Oh no. I’m probably not as bad as Angel admits to being, but I do hold all the stress on the inside. I’ve got the ulcers to prove it.

My blog last week is a case in point. Completely freaked out about my work, my reputation...for no good reason, really. My stomach just ached at the anticipation of a disaster that (as of yet) hasn’t arrived.

In the meantime, something else did arrive. An envelope from the publishing house that has my partial. It was a thin envelope. My stomach rolled at the thought that at last, my fears had been realized. A rejection. I ignored the envelope for about ten minutes, not wanting to open it and be confronted by the reality of it. When DB finally worked me up enough to open the envelope – lo and behold – a full request. The letter was so simple – “Hi, I’ve taken over this project from your previous editor. I’d love to see the full.” I’d had rejection letters longer than that.

I wasn’t ready to deal with it that night, so I just went to bed. (If you recall from my post back in February, DB has this bad habit of stacking up the mail and not telling me if there’s something critical in it. I found the envelope under a credit card offer and an insurance claim by the sink in the master bath at 10 as I got ready for bed. And no, I don’t know why he puts my mail there.)

This week, I’ve been busily dusting off the manuscript to make sure nothing has gone awry. My CP (thanks Kathy) and the other playfriends have rallied to read chapters. So far, so good. I hope to have it in the mail next week. baby, my WHOLE BOOK in the mail to someone who actually asked for it. Oh boy. This is scary for me. I’ve never sent anything past a partial or contest entry, so this is especially hard. Once I drop it in the mail, it’s out of my hands and I’m at the mercy of the editor gods.

Anyway, I guess worrying doesn't do much good. Action is the only thing that can help or hurt you. So, I've stopped worrying - about the sky falling at least - and have been working my best to get this book ready to go. It may not be what the publisher said they were looking for, but they requested it and maybe it will just be too darn good to pass up. :)

What do you worry about most (that you can't do anything about)?


PS. I'm not posting my word counter this week. I think I got 4 or 6 pages in before my letter arrived and I've been in the zone ever since. If this book doesn't sell, the sequel makes no sense!


Angel said...

Yeah, I'm not alone!!!

I've been in the middle of one of those "What if my writing isn't good enough to ever sell?" slumps since conference. I don't know why I worry about it. There's nothing I can do except keep trying, keep putting myself out there, and hope some editor falls in love with my voice.

I have days when I can push it to the back of my consciousness. But invariably it will rear its ugly head again. I'll just do my best to drown it out with words--my words, written despite the worry.

That's all I know to do. :)

Counselor Shelley said...

Getting old - I have not yet learned to embrace my fine lines, ever increasing jiggle in my rear end, unwanted stray hairs in odd places and unsightly age spots. I was recently told by a child (she is 21) “You are holding up really well for your age.” Ouch!

Playground Monitor said...

I might have just slapped that child.

Wait til you're 53 years old and getting braces for the first time and the kid (he was about 13) in the next chair is whining about having to wear them for 18 months. I'd just been told I'd be wearing mine for 28 months.

I worry about every short story I send out. Even after selling 5 of them, I worry that the writing isn't good, the story isn't "hooky" enough, and anything else that can be worried about.

Problem Child said...

I think I prefer "Control Freak" to worry wart. Sounds better, even if it comes to the same thing at times.

And Shell--you are holding up well for your age. If nothing else, you'll always be younger than me...

And I had a student tell me that 30 was middle aged. I had to go dye my hair a new color just to prove I wasn't.

Kathy said...

Everything! LOL.

Maven Linda Howard said...

I guess I don't do "what if" worrying scenarios. If I'm worrying about anything, it's because I think I can do something about the given situation, and I'm trying to decide on the best action I can take. But if I can't do anything, then it's a waste of time and I don't have time to waste. BTW, time that I use to do stuff I enjoy is never time wasted :-).

I don't think you're worrying so much as you're self-doubting. No one can give you self-confidence except you, and the only way you can to do that is to discover that small pure core of yourself that you know will endure no matter what happens. If a manuscript is rejected, is it because you weren't a good enough writer? Well, maybe. My first manuscript certainly wasn't very good. But I learned from doing, I learned from my mistakes so I didn't keep making the same ones over and over again, and and when I was ready -- I sold. But the person I was and am didn't hinge on whether or not I ever sold a book, it hinges on that little core of ME. If I get a speeding ticket, it doesn't mean I'm an idiotic, worthless person -- it means I was driving too fast, no more, no less. It doesn't mean I should never drive again. It means I should get a better radar detector.

In writing terms, that means I should watch out for the speed traps and map a more efficient way of getting from Point A to Point B in the plot. So if you're feeling uncertain, get a better radar detector, and leave the person you are alone.