Sunday, January 16, 2011

On Edge

I am afraid. It is normal to feel fear especially when you are on the brink of something. That is exactly where I stand, on the precipice. One step forward or one step back will make the entire difference, or perhaps no difference at all. It is the unknown that I fear. I have always been strong, a self taught writer, an eager learner, a go-getter, but now I feel vulnerable, unsure. Am I afraid of failure or success? Both?

I have had a work in progress for a few years. Now that I am on the final edit of my 84,000 word novel, and a few months away from pitching it, I am squirming, listening to all the self-doubt, those things I tell you all not to listen to.

I have always been satisfied to take baby steps along my writing path. I submit and wait. I don't simultaneously submit. I recycle as soon as something is rejected, and I am content to send it out and let it go, although sometimes I get impatient for a response. I am not devastated by rejections. I try not to tackle more than I am capable of. I plod along at my own pace. I market my own work; I do book signings, blogposts and have appeared on three TV channels. But the thought of a marketing campaign is unnerving.

I know what's ahead if I succeed. I personally know writers who have started their own literary magazines with gusto. I have a friend who has just been contacted by an agent who wants to represent her memoir. And I have another friend whose books have been optioned as Lifetime Movie Channel movies.

I have always been content to sit back and watch others ride those high waves. I've been content with the low ones because I am willing to take it slow and easy. Now that the pace is picking up, I'm nervous, ready to call it off or at least postpone it.

My novel, still untitled, is about four very different women friends in their late thirties, who simultaneously went AWOL from their unhappy marriages in the '80s. It has a layered plot with major twists. It is about their children, their pasts and their futures. It details their struggles, their humorous escapades and predicaments, the affairs of their lives. Oh yes, there is retribution for their cheating husbands, a crazy mother-in-law, and real, sometimes raw emotion. It is about their growth as women.

Early readers, especially women of that era, have given it good reviews and have given me advice which I have incorporated into my book. I feel like I am in my last weeks of my first pregnancy, back when I wanted to keep that baby inside me and not be forced to go through the painful labor and delivery. I knew the final product would be both awesome and an awesome responsibility, one that I simultaneously longed for and feared.

I feel that way again. I ask myself, what am I waiting for? Is it time to step out or step back? I am on the brink.

23 comments:

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Step out, Linda! Take the plunge. "If you believe in something, begin it. Action has magic, power, and grace . . ." Goethe

BECKY said...

There's only one possible answer, Linda....You gotta Step Out and go for it!

Bookie said...

Such good news to hear that you are so far along in your efforts! You will hesitate only a moment I am sure before racing ahead. Go for it....wishing you best of all luck possible!

Tammy said...

Step out! Step out! I've seen the "ultrasound," and this one great baby that needs to be born!!! ;)

Linda O'Connell said...

Clara,
Your words are the inspiration to move forward. Thank you!

Linda O'Connell said...

Becky,
We'll be touring on the same circuit :)

Linda O'Connell said...

Claudia,
Thanks for the nudge and confidence in me.

Linda O'Connell said...

Tammy, I am going to frame your comment. You made my day! Sending a happy face to a good egg friend.

Lynn said...

STEP OUT! STEP OUT! STEP OUT!

Beth M. Wood said...

I can't explain why, but your post brought tears to my eyes. I am thrilled for you. I am excited to go through it - in some small way - with you, and look so forward to watching you jump off that cliff and soar. You are incredibly talented, and as a writer, and a friend, have given me so much. Now go do it, girl. I hope someday to stand on the edge myself, and when I do, I will remind myself that you were not afraid to jump.

Allison Schreiber Lee said...

Go Linda go!! The only thing worse than knowing is not knowing. Go for it!
Best,
Allison

Susan said...

Hi Linda...Feel the fear and move FORWARD. Good luck. Start writing down lists of possible titles. Onward, upward, and OUT the door goes the manuscript.Susan

Linda O'Connell said...

Lynn,
I am so proud to have you for a friend.

Linda O'Connell said...

Beth,
You made ME tear up. I am going for it.

Linda O'Connell said...

Allison,
You are so right and your messages are always inspirational. Thank you.

Linda O'Connell said...

Susan,

It helps to have positive reinforcement and I thank you. I have several titles in mind, instead if I do, I might go with, I Don't-I Don't-I Don't-I Don't
(Ha-ha)

irishoma said...

Hi Linda,
You are so talented, I'm surprised you have any self-doubts.
Take the plunge!
Jump into the deep end; you've got lots of friends who will cheer you on as you swim across the finish line or throw you a lifeline if you need help.
Your essays I've read are beautiful. Share your words with the world!
Hugs,
Donna

Linda O'Connell said...

Donna,
Thank you. I think I'm afraid, because this book is nothing like my inspirational writing.

Julia said...

It is such a weird thing how we do this to ourselves. I got beat around with a bad agent over my NT memoir, which took years to write, and I wrote it off as a painful experience and gave it up. Now, it seems to be finding its own legs. It has resurrected itself. I see now, with some distance, that it was meant to be. I was meant to write it, and now it is finding its time to surface--a time that is more right than when I was trying so hard to get it out.

What I am saying is that there is a mid-point between being stuck in paralysis and fear and letting things happen on their natural course. Pay attention to your feelings and feel them, yes. Keep pushing on, and see if the world welcomes your book, or if there is a different path that you are just not seeing at the moment. I do not believe that you would have written it, if it were not meant to be. If it came out of love and joy, it is going to give that to the world in spades--when the time is right. xo!

Linda O'Connell said...

Syl,
You have boosted my confidence immensely. I just completed the final edit and then clicked onto your message. THANK YOU

Sioux Roslawski said...

I agree with Donna. Step off into the deep end. If you need to, wear a suit that has a little skirt, to hide your jiggly thighs but by all means, wade in with both feet. You have so many publishing credits under your belt, where is that self-doubt coming from?

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Oh, Linda! I'm so excited for you! Yes, yes, jump into the water! You are talented and willing to work hard...it is time for the rewards. Why we infuse ourselves with self-doubt is a mystery to me, but I've known few writers who aren't guilty of it. You're a go-getter, a strong woman with goals and the wherewithal to see them to fruition. I can't wait to hear about your success with this novel!

Linda O'Connell said...

Sioux and Lisa,
It's all of the unknowns about the publishing part. The storyis geared to women of our age, and I am now thinking that is too limiting. You know, just negative self-talk. Thanks for your support.