Fear And Tortoises

My synopsis is finished, my cover letter is written and my sample from my manuscript is corrected.  I am ready to start sending out my novel.  NOT.  I have found yet another excuse.  I haven’t finished the last draft of the whole manuscript.  Initially I was thinking about sending it out and then finishing the draft, but my chosen target is likely to get back to me quickly so I feel like I would be better off waiting until I am 100% finished.  That is of course if they get back to me.  And that is where the fear lays.

If every human being is an animal then I am a rather miserable tortoise.  I grew up believing that fear is wrong so I would refuse to fear things.  Obviously I was afraid of many things like any normal kid but I would never admit that I was afraid.  Essentially when faced with something frightening I would retreat into my ‘house’ and wait till it was over.  Occasionally an annoying kid would prod and poke my house until I would eventually bite his fingertip off but by and large I was a hider.

As an adult I am just the same.  Right now I am desperately seeking things to fill up my time to avoid doing what I should be doing.  In some respects my subconscious is trying to stop me sending out my manuscript.  And that thought fills me with doubts.  Is it because I think my novel isn’t good enough?  Is it just plain fear of rejection?  I don’t know.  What I am certain of is that I am experiencing some form of mental menopause.  As I work through my novel I am having moments where I am amazed at how good some part of it is, I am also having other moments when I am gritted my teeth and physically fighting with the urge to burn it.  I guess the overwhelming fear is what happens when I get the first rejection.  I will finally stop being Scott the man and I will become Scott the Literary Failure.

Inactivity is the death of man.  We currently live in the laziest version of the world so far.  At 16 years old we are expected to know what we want to devote our lives to when no one ever attempts to teach us a thing regarding decision-making.  I am not blaming my ills on the world outside me.  I am more than conscious of how utterly stupid I am.  I just need to man up and grab life by the balls and ask it to dance.  In the meantime I am going away for the weekend……Is that a fail?

Deeper Meanings

With the third draft put to bed I am now engaged in what I hope will be the final draft.  In the meantime I am starting to research agents and publishers and beginning to sketch and outline for a plan of action.  Soon I shall have to write a synopsis.  The idea of trying to summarise 81,000 words with 350-450 words feels me with fear.  Can I do this?  I really don’t know.

The fear inside me is overwhelming.  At the very beginning writing is an intimate process.  It’s just you going on a journey with your imagination.  The moment you decide to try and get your work published is the moment the illusion of privacy dissolves.  The function of your writing changes from being something personal, like a hidden aspect of your personality to some kind of curiosity at an auction.  By sending your work out you are asking people to assess it, put a value on it almost.  This can lead to you dying by the sword.

Anyone with artistic aspirations has their own, personal ambitions.  It is incredibly important to be aware of your goals.  This is something I fail at as my goals are ever changing.  I feel like writing is an addiction to be.  Initially finishing my first draft was satisfaction in my head.  For a short time I felt like a writer as I had written something.  Eventually that was no longer enough.  Now I feel as if I need validation via publishing, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against me.  If I fail I will feel like a failure.

I have no idea whether this is a common phenomenon.  When I was young, I felt different, estranged from humanity.  The reason was that I wanted to write.  The longer the feeling stayed with me the weirder I felt.  It was never something I could tell to people, even after I had got to know them quite well.  In the beginning I couldn’t understand why I treated it like an illness, or a dirty secret.  As a thirty year old man I still find it awkward to admit.  Like an Alcoholic at an AA meeting I tend to just blurt it out and then feel scared.  The fear itself is caused by the fear of judgement.  I am afraid that people will think I am mad, eccentric or just plain stupid.

By pushing on and trying to publish my work I am confronting that fear head on.  There is no escaping it.  To be an artist of any form you must open yourself to judgement.  I am trying to embrace it.  If I am to fail, I would rather die at the tip of a sword than wither away with only fear and ignorance for company.