For the past month or so I have been very carefully trying to distract myself from the fact that I was waiting. Patiently yet agonizingly waiting.
Waiting for something to happen.
Or more specifically waiting to see if anyone out there wanted to publish the book I wrote over the summer.
I think I was prepared for the worst. I used to work in publishing and my first stint in the industry was at a literary agency where I read through submissions all day long.
It was a very big pile which I never got to the bottom of. As soon as one batch of letters and carefully stapled, double-spaced manuscripts has been dealt with, another flock had swooped in to take their place. The agent I was working with at the time said something along the lines of there’s a book in most people but that doesn’t mean it should always come out.
After my first day in the agency, I could see her point.
Later, there were the books that I worked on that I really loved. But that didn’t mean that amidst the swirling chaos, they made large enough waves to get really, properly noticed. I know they would still reach readers who would adore them but when a book is being distilled down to just one sales figure of a number, it can be disheartening.
And now it’s me. On the other side. I’ve just received the wonderful news that a publisher would like to buy my book. Who knows if it’ll make a big splash or not, it’s only a small book in a big, big world after all; I can only Try My Best, which is the mantra-like saying going around my class of five-year-olds at the moment. It’s just great to know it’ll be Out There and it’s even more lovely to know that the handful of people who have read it so far have enjoyed it*.
What’s brilliant for me is that I just really enjoyed writing it. I loved sitting down each day to write. I loved watching what the characters were going to do next, like a strange sort of voyeur. I loved melding words together; sometimes fairly unsuccessfully but still, it was fun eking those bits out!
It reminded me of a line from Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot:
“MacGregor’s reward had been the work itself, the daily doing if it, the achievement made of a million unremarkable days.”
Bring on the unremarkable days. For they truly lead to something special.
*most readers were dear family and friends who HAD to be nice to me … because They are Nice.