Summer Camp

The manuscript is finished (sort of). I have sent it out to my first readers. Once they return it to me with their notes and comments, there will be another round of edits…hence the “sort of.”

But for the moment, I am without a novel manuscript to work on. Some would say “get to work on the next one” and I will. But for the moment, I’m enjoying the sense of freedom. I don’t have children, but this must be what it’s like when the kids head off to summer camp. Not quite empty nest…they’ll be back soon. Empty nest syndrome is what I’ll feel when I ship my manuscript off to my agent. I’ll be sending my baby off into the cold, cruel world of publishing to face harsh criticism and rejection. But maybe it will find someone who loves it and will nurture it and propose marriage…er…offer a book contract.

We writers do get attached to our manuscripts. And why not? We give birth to them. The gestation period is often longer than for an infant. They make us cry and swear and scream in agony at times. We put our heart and our soul into every page. Our families love it. They have to. Like the obstinate grandchild who intentionally breaks grandma’s favorite vase. Your friends and loved ones will never speak ill of your manuscript. Not to your face at least. They may not UNDERSTAND your obsession with it, but they’ll tell you they love it anyway.

The real world, on the other hand, will tell you flat out how they feel about it. And it’s not the same as if they said they didn’t like your favorite movie. No. It’s way more personal than that.

So we writers develop tough skin. We have to if we’re going to survive. NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE YOUR WORK. Most won’t even LIKE it. But hopefully someone will.

Right now, though, I’m trying not to think about all that. The kid is just off to summer camp. There is still time to fix things and make it better.

But while it’s gone, I’m going to clean off my desk and clear out my cupboards. And maybe go for a walk.

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