The Agony and the Ecstasy

Writing is not agony. It’s pleasurable, measurable and doable. I’ve never struggled to write. But taking the next step is difficult: do I submit it to agents for their scrutiny and rejection? Or do I shelve the manuscript and move onto the next story?

When I began writing We, Cathleen, I planned to submit it for publication, and I dreaded the day when I’d type those closing words: the end.

Since the 4th of January 2023, I’ve been submitting relentlessly to agents around the world, and the rejections have been coming in just as relentlessly. So far, I have notched up 38 ‘No Thanks ‘ responses. The first 20 or so were agonising. The next 18 were ‘meh, so what?’

Then I received a request for a full read. Ecstasy is the flip side of the agony coin, and I was over the moon, especially as it was from a Very Big Publisher. They asked for 8 weeks to read the full manuscript to determine if it was suitable for the market. A week later, when my excitement levels had returned to acceptable levels (judging by my ability to sell properties without telling everyone about my book), I received a second request for a full read. This time from an agent on another continent.

The high is not so extreme this time, and I should be ready to behave like a normal person by tomorrow morning. But I’ll go to sleep tonight with a smile still on my face.

And I’ll return to writing tomorrow morning again, because every writer knows you are only as good as your last book, and my last book might not even make it to the printing press, despite the current interest.

At least the muse is waiting for me on the other side of midnight. As she always is.

Write on.

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