Posted by Lynne
"Are you nervous?" the interviewer asked. "Of course, I'm nervous. Anyone who isn't should quit this business and go sell shoes. You have to care," she said.
I was just passing through the family room, clutching Water for Elephants and Falling Man to my chest, on my way to my bed, when I overheard Sally Field's chirpy voice, her words danced off the red carpet and lodged in my ears.
And in my heart.
Exactly right, I thought. If you care, it's a given you'd be nervous when you've finished revisions on your novel, or your book proposal, and submitted your work to your cherished agent. You want her to love your words as much as you do. And it makes complete sense that you'd have an instant panic attack when a dear friend, whose work you adore, tells you her work is out on submission.
You feel, because you care.
Whether you're new to writing or a veteran, there will be days when exquisite words appear on the page, with little effort your thoughts coalesce to create beautiful sentences and paragraphs. You'll love the feeling, no doubt. Other days, you'll be stuck. You'll chastise yourself for your bland setting, cliché characters and your lack of stakes and tension. You'll wonder how anyone will care about this story, if you can't manage to.
With that bum day behind you, you'll begin anew. Because you're a writer, and you write. The next day, or the next, you'll work out the kinks. You'll discover your character's wants and needs, and with every quirky personality trait visible, you'll like them, you'll really like them.
You've started to care.
The cycle will continue until you care so much it hurts. You'll worry like a mother sending her child off to college. Will other people like your baby? Will they cherish her, flaws and all--the way you do?
When your pages finally venture forth, you'll wonder how they're doing. Are they sitting high on that dreaded pile, catching the late summer rays? Or have they been placed haphazardly on a conference room table, vulnerable to coffee spills. Or worse, are they choking in their fed ex envelope?
Since you can't stop thinking about this extension of you, you'll force yourself to imagine a better day. The day when a smart, savvy editor dips into your prose, and is captured by your voice. And because you've cared so much, she cares. She clutches your book to her breast and she dashes out to share her find with other editors. She'll dismiss her plan to leave early to shop for shoes; she can buy those tomorrow.
Today she needs to buy a book.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Posted by Lynne