I’m not actually throwing in the towel. I honestly don’t think I ever will, but two days ago I hit a wall of hatred. I hated everything about the Heyswood novel. For three hours I thought I was a complete failure and that I should walk away from this novel, cancel my Oct 18th pitch appointment and start over with different characters and a new plot.
At the three hour mark I had an epiphany, partially thanks to Dennis Palumbo and his book “Writing from the Inside Out” (who’s name inevitably triggers the image of Peter Falk shuffling through my mind, cigar in hand, one hand folded across his waist as he’s about to reveal the truth or deliver a thought-provoking line of questions). Dennis’s book is all the cliche metaphors that breathe fresh air into a writer’s sometimes solitary world. He rescued the Heyswood novel with the idea that I was experiencing a sort of writer’s block, a self-protecting mechanism. Fear.
I’m afraid I won’t have a good enough manuscript ready for the pitch appointment. Afraid the agent won’t like it and won’t ask to see some or all of it. I’m afraid the pitch will go great, the agent will ask for the manuscript, and will reject it, or that she will love it and want to be my agent. That we’ll start the editing process and get the novel shopped around. I’m afraid no publishing houses will be interested, afraid one or more will be and I’ll be juggling getting used to living in a new city, starting a new full-time job (note update – I have received a job offer and accepted it.), doing my best to recover from knee surgery, and trying to do my best with edits and deadlines and still maintain the peace of mind to keep me stable to be effective.
After acknowledging all of the above, and more, freaking out to the people closest to my life and settling down from the exhaustion of it all, I started to reenvision the Heyswood novel. The actual work has already begun. I have a sharper eye as I tweak scenes and ruthlessly remake the novel. The panic has transformed to inspiration.