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There are a couple reasons why.
Firstly, this is the first manuscript my agent will see that she didn’t read before offering to represent me. It’s kind of a weird situation, because with the first manuscript, you know your agent will love it because they chose you based off of that manuscript (so they’ve already told you they love it). Any manuscripts after that? You kind of just do your best and hope everything works out. Judging by what I’ve seen other agented writers talk about online, this not an uncommon anxiety amongst writers.
Second, the manuscript. This MS, and the next one I’ll be revising, and the one after that all terrify me for various reasons. For the MS sitting in my agent’s inbox, it’s mostly the extremely personal nature of the manuscript, which I won’t really get into today, but I will say writing it was the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had with a book.
To give you an idea, when I finished first drafting it, I immediately put it away and declared it was awful and I’d never look at it again. Partially because I rushed through the ending and writing the whole thing was ridiculously difficult, and partially because the idea of taking that manuscript seriously and actually showing people really really scared me.
Even now, after seven people have read it and given me (largely positive) feedback, it still scares me. And to be honest, I’m not sure if I’m more terrified that my agent will read it and tell me to scrap it (or that it needs a bajillion years of work) or if she’ll read it and love it. If I’m being totally transparent here, I think the latter, right now, sounds scarier than the former.
Just writing this post is freaking me out a little.
There’s this quote on writing going around that I’ve even shared myself that basically says to write what scares you. The implication is that’s where your most powerful, raw writing will come from, and in my experience, that’s pretty true.
I’d also say, however, that writing what scares you doesn’t stop being scary after you’ve written it. If anything, it’s more terrifying, because you’ve written it, it’s out there, and now other people will see it. Potentially.
It’s no wonder so many writers struggle with anxiety.
I don’t know if this book will ever go on submission. I don’t know if it does go on submission if it’ll ever sell. I don’t know if any of you will ever see it.
What I do know, is despite the terror, I’m proud of this book.
I know that whatever happens, I love writing, and I’m excited to dive into my next project.
I know that even though my next book scares me, as does the book after that, I’m going to revise them anyway and make them as good as they can be.
Writing what scares you, as it turns out, is scary. But usually it’s because the stories that come out of it are really extra special.
Have you written a MS that scares you?
"Writing what scares you doesn't stop being scary after you've written it." (Click to tweet)
Have you written a MS that scares you? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)