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Well, I've finally finished my rewriting/re-editing of The Recruited, otherwise known as 'the novel I started querying a little over a year ago.' I have to say that the story has changed a lot since then, thanks in large part to agent comments and phenomenal beta feedback.
It has been a long few months–and by a few months I mean, half a year–of being knee deep in revisions. For the first time I turned to people I didn't know for feedback, and that worked out splendidly. I've redone the story almost in its entirety, made extensive revisions, and rewritten the query letter another two or three times. I'm also hard at work on a synopsis, which is about two thirds of the way to completion. This time I did my best not to rush in. I felt like I began the querying process a little hastily with an earlier draft, so I tried my very hardest to make sure the MS was in the best shape that it could be before I sent it out again.
Yesterday I sent out my first five query letters on the new, revised manuscript. I've forgotten how terrifying the querying process is, and I found myself clicking send on a few emails with one hand covering my eyes. (Side note: The boyfriend and one of my roomies thought this was hysterical.)
In any case, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the whole querying process goes more smoothly for me this time around. Wish me luck, guys! I'm going to need every bit that I can get. 🙂
To my writer friends out there on the internet: how are your novels coming? To those of you doing Camp Nanowrimo: have you met your word counts?
Even though it's not something I usually broadcast, I'm pretty confident in my abilities as a writer. That's not bragging. I admit and accept that I have a lot to learn, and that if I keep working hard I'm only going to get better. But I'm also able to admit that I've already come a long way, and that I've learned a lot in my–however brief–foray into the world of professional writing.
Then again, no matter how much confidence I think I have, I also stumble across days like this one. Days where–if asked whether I'll ever be published–my response is just as likely to be no as yes. Days where I'm convinced that everything I'm doing to improve my book will never be enough. Days where I could rewrite my query letter a thousand times and still be dead certain that no agent will ask me for pages.
I think that self-loathing is a pretty common emotion when you're trying to create. You constantly question whether what you're doing is good enough, whether anyone but you is ever going to take any interest in your work. Those aren't just feelings that will miraculously go away. Some days I find myself beating them back with a stick, jabbing at them as more surround me.
I don't like it one bit. I'm not a fan of feeling like I'm not improving, like nothing I do will ever be good enough. At the same time, it's almost as though my confidence in myself stems from a source very near to all the self doubt. I use that confidence to push away the feelings of inadequacy. I tell myself over and over again that if I keep working hard, that if I don't quit, I could very well accomplish my writing goals someday. And you know what? Most of the time, it works.
Days like today aren't the norm, they're the exception. I guess that, for me personally, it's fine to acknowledge my own self doubt, as long as I don't let it overwhelm me. It's always darkest before the dawn, or so the saying goes. Now I guess I'll just have to keep pushing forward and wait for the–metaphorical–sun to rise.