Yesterday morning I made the last couple of tweaks to the first complete draft of my new book and I am now in a state of high anxiety, a state that I anticipate being in for the next few months at the very least. There’s a lot said about the terror of the blank page, although I’ve never really found this an issue. The question has never been “what on earth do I write?” but “which of the many things buzzing around my head do I want to pick?”
The real terror, to my mind, is the terror of the finished manuscript. What if the thing I’ve spent over a year of my life on turns out to be shit? The MA programme at Bath Spa was a wonderful safe place to try out stuff without fear of embarrassment, but I’m now about to start the long process of sending this thing out into the real world. Here’s a chronological list of things that could go wrong (all of which I am envisaging right now):
- Beta readers hate it – since these are friends and family, this could be especially awkward
- No agent will touch it
- An agent will take it on but won’t be able to sell it
- It’ll get sold to a rubbish publisher
- It’ll get published and ignored
- It’ll get published and reviewed badly
- No-one will buy it
- People will buy it but will start looking at me in a funny way
And that’s just the first few that came into my head.
The worst of it all is that I suspect it doesn’t get any easier. Why am I doing this again?