I hate waiting.

Anyone who’s sent a manuscript off to an agent/publisher/editor knows how hard it is to get on with life while waiting for a response.  I’m always most convinced that the work is dreadful, dreadful, DREADFUL while waiting.  And the conviction grows and grows, until it morphs into a kind of epic self-loathing and I start to wonder why I ever thought the book was a good idea anyway.  I can see the work clearly for the first time, and it’s lifeless, unsalvageable and lazy.

Why are some books so much harder to write than others?  Or is it like childbirth, and we just forget how awful the last one was?

There’s plenty I could be doing in the meantime.  Van Gogh at the Royal Academy, Chris Ofili at the Tate, Michelangelo at the Courtauld.  The house is its usual mess, my office hasn’t been cleared in weeks.  I could try to find the floor in my daughter’s bedroom (no, that’s too hard).  Or weed the garden.  Or read some of the books that have been piling up in the past few months.  Or sew on buttons.  But no.  The best I can do is tramp like a lunatic on Hampstead Heath with the dogs, and hang around with lovely Moss, who always makes me feel better.  So much better, that happiness turns immediately to guilt.

Am I not suffering enough?  Thinking hard enough?  Is the writing becoming mechanical?  Has it ceased to come from the heart?  Do I not get out enough?  Or am I spending too much time thinking about dressage?  Was the last book my last book?

I guess someone will get back to me with a verdict in a week or so. Until then, you’ll probably find me on the Heath.


6 thoughts on “Wait For It

  1. Kathryn Evans 9 years ago

    Meg, I cordially invite you to join my club of waiting. I don’t even get the rejections now, they are filtered by The Wise One, so, for all I know, people are sniggering up their sleeves and my agent doesn’t really love me at all. You don’t qualify really, being both published and an acknowledged genius, but I like you and you make me laugh
    so, if you want to join, your in. Thursday is ‘Searching-for-Optimism’ night – I’m seeking mine in a bottle of chilled Pinot Grigio

  2. bookwitch 9 years ago

    If the daughter requires a floor finding, let her search for it herself.

    (I’m sure the book will be fine…)

  3. Meg 9 years ago

    Daughter would be happy never to see the floor again. I worry about what might be growing underneath.

  4. Dragana 9 years ago

    If my experience of teenage accommodation is anything to go by, there will be an unidentified life-form under there…..

  5. Amanda Craig 9 years ago

    Meg, it’s just like childbirth – the grim stage before you get the epidural when you feel tired and sea-sick and wonder how the hell you got yourself into this situation.
    But I can’t wait for your new novel, which sounds fabulous, and am sure all will be well. Walking sounds an excellent idea.

  6. Mary 9 years ago

    Oh dear, I can identify – I sent my fourth submission away on Saturday (2 rejected, 1 lost in post so far) and since then have proceeded to re-read and re-write the chapters beyond recognition, only to then undo the changes out of a mixture of defiance and panic at the idea of change. It doesn’t help to know that I should really be revising, homeworking, doing a million and one things more constructive than sitting below the letterbox gnawing at my fingernails ….

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