Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Stages of a Terminal Writer

Every time one of my manuscripts goes out on submission, time slows. During that VERY slooooow period, here is my general process (which I’ve now completed. Again.):

Week 1: Feel incredibly blessed to get to do the work I love. Excited and hopeful, as I tend to all the things that I’ve neglected for months (while writing). Praying that God will bless and guide my work, my literary agent, and my new editor.

Week 2: The entire house is clean at the same time. All the laundry is done. My family is—understandably—confused. I am calmer now . . . quietly confident. Mostly. Sort of. Still praying for my writing, my agent, and my (fingers crossed) new editor.

Week 3: I’ve had my annual physical, my flu shot, and my teeth have been cleaned. Even so, I feel A LOT less confident. Fear and self-doubt knock on my door. I refuse to open. Keep praying.

Week 4: Fear and self-doubt have beaten my door down. I’m next. This is bad. Very bad. I ask others to pray for me.

Week 5: By now, fear and self-doubt have had their say and left me alone . . . to think about what I’ve done wrong. And I do. Which results in serious self-loathing. I’m not good enough—I’ve ALWAYS known this—just very briefly forgot, which is when my new manuscript went out. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. How could I be so stupid? I imagine God shaking His head sadly at me; I respond, “I know, I know.”

Week 6: Considering my career options: Shoe salesperson? (I love shoes.) Grave digger? (Oooh, I could get in shape AND earn a paycheck!) Plumber? (Why not? I recently read that plumbers do pretty well.)

Week 7:  Overwhelmed by all the possibilities and the pressure of deciding what I’m going to do every day for the next 25 years (teenagers, I feel your pain—again—and again). I pray for guidance.

Week 8:  I’m not THAT excited about my plumbing apprenticeship, but I pray that God will help me and my new boss. Until my manuscript (entitled Leftovers) sells . . . to Penguin Random House!!!

Week 9:  Praise God and apologize for my lack of patience. Again. Feel incredibly blessed to get to do the work I love, thanks in no small part to Emily van Beek at Folio Literary and Nancy Paulsen at Penguin. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And phew! Happy New Year to me and you!