Thursday, August 7, 2008

Torture Chamber

In case anybody was wondering, the business of writing picture books can be sheer torture. Torture I tell you, torture! It’s mostly the waiting that drives me insane. Since early February I’ve had a manuscript with two publishers—and each had given me good hope—but I’ve yet to hear anything from either one. Not a yes, not a no. Six months of waiting. It’s agonizing. I wait a few weeks, until I’m practically biting off my fingertips and then I finally cave in and write my agent. She’ll give me reassurances but no final word (if she doesn’t have one she can’t give it).

So we wait. Sometimes my agent makes a very polite inquiry with the editor who took the manuscript, and we might hear a tidbit or two about who’s currently looking at it and what the picture book sales “climate” is. But nothing about the final decision. I end-up waiting several more weeks, until we’re brave enough to make another inquiry. Sheeeesh. Meanwhile I write new stuff, filter it through my critique group, and send the best stuff to my agent. She rejects the majority of it. So I go from excitement over a new piece, to the awful belief that surely my last book will be my last book forever, and I could never write another worthwhile thing again if I tried every day of my life.

I’ve learned that a big part of a writer’s angst is the yearning for more. Because getting published doesn’t make it go away. There is no cure. Sure, there are episodes of exhilaration—but no end to the yearning. Another story, another book, another character, another idea. Searching, searching my brain files. Dry spells are unacceptable.

I wonder if J.K. Rowling is finally satisfied. I hope so. Please say there’s a hypothetical end to this madness.

1 comment:

Missy said...

Kristyn, I think you are awesome. You're just putting too much pressure on yourself, think of all those who have never had anything published. You just need to give yourself a break and then all of a sudden out of nowhere something will come to you and everything will seem to fall into place and it will be magic again. Good Luck!