I did the thing.
That’s right! On Tuesday night I put the finishing touches on my manuscript.
I finally, on a whim, came up with some chapter titles, and added one stanza to a supplementary poem. It’s a lullaby for one of the main characters which has a lot of underlying symbolism and foreshadowing.
And on Wednesday morning I sent it all to the editors.
Oh my goodness! What an experience!
I was on my morning tea break at work at the time, but I stay at my desk in case the phone rings, and so I was brimming over with excitement and emotion and soooooo just wanted to squeal and jump and get it all out, but (for the sake of my colleagues) I just sat grinning like an idiot.
And. funny story, I get stress hiccoughs.
In workplaces that I’ve found stressful (and before that, maths class) there would be phases where, almost like clockwork, I would get the most persistent hiccoughs, and all my classmates or workmates would hear these hearty hiccoughs on the daily. Depending on my mood, that would either make me laugh – which would make the hiccoughs worse – or angry, which would just make me more angry the longer they hung around.
Guess what struck at work.
As I sat at my desk, the initial waves of thrill and excitement subsiding a little, the nerves rose fluttering in my belly, and the hiccoughs started. For the most part they were ignored, and after a minute or two of desperately trying not to laugh or hiccough too loud I managed to get them under control.
But then, later in the afternoon, they struck again.
This time, my (admittedly laidback, kind) boss was in the room. He turned to me and said:
“You hiccoughing over there?”
“Yeah, I get them when I get stressed or really emotional,” I replied.
“Which one is it?” My colleagues asked.
“Well, I’m just really nervous because I submitted my manuscript this morning!” I said.
They thought it was pretty cool!
Now, all that to say, oh my goodness the nerves! I’ve been so focussed on getting the manuscript done and submitted, I didn’t think much about what it would be like to give this story that has been close to my heart for YEARS to a stranger for critique.
All these thoughts ran through my head. Thoughts like “will they think it’s too cheesy… too violent… that I’m messed up, weird…”.
But really, I know they’ve probably seen manuscripts far worse than mine, or, at least I hope so. This is their job, and I’m just so curious to see what they say. It’s such a vulnerable thing. This is my first book, so I’m sure it will get better with time if I go on to publish more. But for now, this is a tale into which I’ve woven my heart and soul. These characters are people I know intimately, their tales threaded together with my utmost care. This world is one I see in my mind’s eye, the tale itself a story unravelling into themes I believe in with all my heart.
What if it’s terrible?
Of course, I have had others read it who said they enjoyed it, and I know I enjoy the book too. So I think that should be enough. But I know it can be better. So I will wait patiently, and see what happens next.
In the meantime, I start my book marketing mentorship on Monday, where I will learn how to market myself and my book. I’m both excited and a little apprehensive. Why? Because I know it’s gonna mean work – and even more vulnerability – on my part. But hey, all worth it right?
What was the last time you felt you had to be very vulnerable? Where you had to share or present something that meant so much to you for critique? OR when you found a bunch of eyes suddenly fixed on you? Let me know in the comments!