What was causing this burn?
Last summer, we sent out a manuscript of a new novel I’d written to about 8 houses. We waited for response (burn number 1). We were rejected, mostly. After about six months, an editor asked me to make a small change to the beginning, as a sort of test for an idea she had about the book. I made the change, and didn’t hear back for a few months (burn 2). She made a verbal offer, and we accepted. Tra la la, burn gone, right? No. We had no contract (burn 3). Nowadays, contract negotiations are different. Because so much is changing in the publishing world, we had to go over every single lawspeak line of the contract to make sure we didn’t give away electronic rights, and whatever the future held. Months would go by before I heard about this now-infamous contract. The burn worsened – would it ever come? What if they changed their minds? Would this book ever see the light of day?
I realize this is the story of a writer’s life. Waiting, the burn of anxiety in the waiting. Submitting, waiting for a response – whether to a beta reader, a professor, a peer, a spouse, the world at large – is the steady burn in my guts and belly. What will they think? That’s the main question behind the burn.
About two weeks ago, I did finally sign that contract, after agreeing to a full rewrite of the novel (yep, another burn, but I believe in this editor). Now, I have a new daily burn: will she like this version? Will anybody?
Am I the only one who feels this? I know there must be others out there, and maybe you have some good suggestions for dealing with anxiety burn? I’d love to have some relief.