Argh! The Pressure!

It’s been a helluva week.

Things started out great on Monday. I got to meet my Editor in person, which was beyond awesome—we sat down over coffee and started chatting like old friends. In fact, I felt so comfortable talking with her that it was hard to believe we’d only ever interacted electronically, either via email or story edits.

Maybe that’s why having her expectations about when I might be able to deliver my novel looming over me feels so scary. Suddenly it’s not just family members looking pointedly at their watches and asking me when they can read what I’ve been working on for the last year. Now there’s an actual literary professional who is looking forward to reading and critiquing my book—yikes!

Other tasks insinuated their way onto my to-do list in front of novel revisions, though, and by the time Tuesday rolled around, I’d allowed the Fear of Editor to lapse into background noise. “I’ll get to it here in a little bit,” I kept telling myself.

Enter Twitter’s #MSWL hashtag.

Not only did I lose an inordinate amount of time that day (and a non-negligible amount since) trolling through the agent and editor posts of their “ManuScript Wish Lists” to see if anything remotely matched what I’m writing, but I spent a lot of emotional capital fretting, too. First there was the fretting that I’d seen so many tweets asking for MG/YA/NA manuscripts that it felt like no one wants anything for the adult/general audience to which I write. Obviously, that’s not true, but I’m sure other writers know exactly that feeling.

Then there were the occasions when I did find something that (almost) matched what I’ve got. At that point, I started tearing out my hair because I don’t have a completed manuscript to send out for a query. The sheer weight of revisions needed to make it ready for prime time is staggering. Needless to say, Tuesday left me a mess.

Wednesday was lost to family moving house.

And that brings us to today. Today I struggled with procrastination. (Say what? Writers never do that!) Aside from reading more books on improving one’s writing, I didn’t actually do any writing work until late afternoon, when I took my kids to an after school class. Sitting in the parents’ observation area, I struggled again with how to fit my plot into those pesky Cat-Saving beats.

The damn thing has no zip, no punch. When I whittle it down to those fifteen key elements, I’m left with square plot points trying to fit into round beats. I just can’t crack it.

On the up side, I’m making fabulous progress plotting out the next book beat-by-beat. I’ve even got some thematic and thesis/antithesis strands planned. Funny how much easier it is to create an engaging plot from the ground up than by massaging an existing one.

Too bad I’ve got so much massaging left to do.

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