I would like to accept your offer of representation. That is, unless this is some sort of large-scale practical joke by the NYC publishing community. I admit that I would have a sick respect for such a move (after I got out of the fetal position, of course....)
Yeah, that's how I roll. Total professionalism, dogg.
Anyway. That's the sort of anxiety and paranoia he's got to deal with. This same type of fear sometimes translates into my writing. I rarely - if ever - have suffered from anything close to writer's block.
I can put words down on paper, people. Like it's going out of style or something.
My problem has always been in the revision part. Because, really, I can look at a piece of my writing and change it every. single. time. That's not healthy, from a mental illness standpoint OR when you're trying to be a writer. Because things will never be done... or so they say.
So back to my revision. I'm on the phone with my agent, asking him if he really still likes me. Saying stuff like, "Michael. Say it. Say that I'm a good writer. Please."
(Yes, I'm kidding.)
Maybe all writers have a form of weird anxiety. Maybe it is just a part of the business, because we're putting our true selves out there for people to cut down. This creates an inner voice of judgment whispering that we'll never be good enough, that nobody will want to read this crap - etc.
As I re-read my revision, I started to freak out.
The first chapter seemed disjointed and terrible.
The second chapter was worse.
Half way through the third chapter, I was in dire need of anti-depressants. Or alcohol.
The voice of judgment had struck.
You need to realize something. My agent had sent me a very positive e-mail a week before this, saying how I'd done a great job and there wouldn't be much left to do on this final revision. And then on the phone, he said, "You've accomplished a lot on this revision. Sometimes it's hard to do that with the first one, so good job!"
So why was I freaking out?
I have no idea.
But even though I really, really wanted to tinker with those first two chapters, I finished editing the third. Then the fourth. An hour later, I had flown through almost 80 pages.
And guess what?
It all was so good.
The next morning, I re-read the first two chapters. It didn't seem too bad on the second read. I allowed myself to change some of the passive verbs, and that made me feel better. In the second chapter, the pages were filled with frantic notes like... "Re-write!" But when I read them again, it seemed to flow. It worked.
Last night I knocked out another 100 pages. And every one of them felt right. The minor additions Michael asked for seemed so obvious. They practically jumped out from the page saying, "Hey, here's a good spot for a parental interaction!"
This morning, I read from the beginning again.
And guess what?
I liked every word.
And that's how I'm starting to realize that this book is close. Of course, if it gets picked up by a publisher it will go through another round of edits. But those will only make the novel stronger. Kinda like Obi Wan. They - like the notes I've gotten from Michael - will help fill in little holes that I never would've seen.
They make the book better.
And while, yes, the title of this post may be a bit untruthful (because I'm not sure if it ever gets easier...) maybe it does get better. Maybe the hard work brings forward a book that you can read through in one sitting and doesn't engage your gag reflex.