To continue the past couple day’s unintentionally alliterative title choices, today I am focusing on another “O” word: optimism. I will admit, this is not a concept I have been overwhelmed with this week–researching agents whose tone comes off as intimidating at best and reading blog posts of authors lost in a post-query depression makes optimism about the whole process a little hard to swallow.
However, maybe because it’s Friday and the living is a little easier with the weekend coming up, I am feeling the optimism today. I’m sure I will smirk derisively at this post in future moments, but for now I think after the rush of panic, dread and general anxiety of earlier this week I have finally come to terms with things. There are going to be rejections, there are going to be cold silences, but I also believe there will, one day, be acceptance. I am just starting out as a writer, and instead of bemoaning the dismissive attitudes of some agents or despairing that my work will never get published, I want to sit back and enjoy the ride! 2015 is a year of firsts for me–first novel finished, first writing conference coming up next week–and I want to enjoy that, and come into my own as an author.
Ultimately when–months down the road–I come back to this post, I don’t want to scoff at my naive, wide-eyed idealism, but instead be reminded of my confidence as a writer, and keep enjoying the journey.
My Dad read my first novel chapter by chapter as I was writing it. It was really great to hear his encouraging feedback such as, “Just keep it up!” or (my favorite) “Your book is pretty good, Elise!” My dad is a very intelligent man, but a literary critic he is not. However, looking back, I think this was the perfect kind of feedback for me–it doesn’t influence my story or my writing style. It was especially perfect for the flow I had going for my first book–I just needed to get all that writing out there, and Dad’s feedback was perfect for that as it kept me going. Waiting for Dad to finish up another book he was currently reading as I began to compose chapters of the second novel, I began to get anxious to see how it read for the first time for a fresh reader. Finally, today he started it! And I was pleased to see that his critique capability is getting better–we actually had a conversation about the nuances of one of my main characters and how she is reacting to the major plot conflict in the story. I fully value both kinds of input my dad has given me; it is so nice to talk about your writing with someone who truly cares and who will give you an honest opinion. And, while I intend to fully remain true to the way my characters speak to me in my own mind, I appreciate hearing the way a fresh reader perceives the text–because that is truly who the book is for, the readers, and having feedback from a fresh reader along my writing journey is a great asset.