For the last two weeks I’ve been like one of those balloons. Those multi-coloured noisy ones that get sent home in children’s party bags with a smug look from the parent of said child who feels this is just payback for having entertained a room full of other people’s children off their tits on E numbers.
You know the ones – the balloons, not the parties – you blow them up, let them go and they fly around the room emitting a high pitched squeal (not unlike the aforementioned kite-flying children) as they go.
Well, I feel like one of those due to recent levels of excitement.
Of course, as we all know with regards these balloons, they spend the dying moments of their journey retreating to the corner of a room, doing one final wiggle of air release before falling to the ground. Limp, lifeless… and slightly moist around the edges. It’s possible I’ve taken this analogy too far…
When I started book two, my main objective – my minimum requirement if you will – was to see progress on book one by having one of the agents I slushed to, asking to read more. So excited would they be (I won’t mention the balloons again!) by the first three chapters I’d submit, they’d want to read the full. That was my objective, (and to write the best book I was capable of at this moment in time, obvs). In truth, I didn’t think beyond that. I didn’t consider my response should they ask for the full. I didn’t imagine for a second it might introduce me to a whole new level of second-guessing, will-they/won’t-they joy.
And following a number of rejections, some personal and interesting, some bog standard returns; I thought I’d failed. I thought I’d aimed too high. I thought I had made a mistake.
And then someone did ask.
An innocent email. I imagined it to be another rejection. I read it several times before I squealed and clapped and announced it to my children who – bless them – squealed with joy in return. So I sent it in. And I waited. And waited. And I’m still waiting.
And then someone else asked. To see the full. A second person wanted to see the full. And I squealed and I clapped and I announced it to my children who again, god bless them, squealed with joy in return.
And then – I know, I’m starting a lot of sentences with ‘and’… bear with me – the second person emailed me again, told me how much she was “LOVING what I am reading…” before saying, “I will definitely call you sometime next week…”
SOMEONE PASS ME THE DEFIB, I AM ABOUT TO EXPLODE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But she didn’t call.
And so far, she still hasn’t. And neither has the first person. And they are super busy people with existing authors to look after, jobs to do, this is not the top of their list of priorities. I totally get that, truly I do – but I definitely feel like that limp and lifeless balloon that has fallen to the floor… minus the moist bit.
So, as any good aspiring author should. I thought I would analyse this situation and then write about it. You’re welcome. What I’ve realised, is that it’s a good lesson. These highs and lows are pretty standard for the industry I aspire to work in, aspiring author/published author/agent/editor… they all must experience this feeling on some level at some point in their careers. Perhaps often. Maybe even throughout – on some level or another, loved books that don’t get picked up. Contract renewals. Reader reviews. Feedback from your mother – it all has the potential to crush… not you mum, yours is never less than lovely.
But I am out of my depth and out of my realms of control. I need to find a way to manage the process without letting the lows take over. Arguably I should temper the highs too. Enjoy them, yes – but I probably don’t need to run into the hairdressers like a demented rabbit, clearly bouncing off every wall in my nearest vicinity. Thank god for a friend being there who I could whisper the good news to. It took enough bounce out of my stride to let me sit and get my hair trimmed! It was desperate, I’m growing out a crop. You can imagine my mop-haired pain.
Ultimately, eventually, when they have time, they’ll come back to me. If they like it, it still doesn’t pave the path to published. And if, eventually they didn’t… including the one who thought she might… it’s OK. I achieved my goal. I’m one step closer. I can totally cope with this.
Slowly, slowly catching my monkey. Despite the occasional deflation.