Monday, November 02, 2009


Erin Downing here, coming to you with a post that seems appropriate given that we're in Day 2 of NaNoWriMo and many people will be thinking about this sort of thing with their fabulously fleshed-out and revised NaNoWriMo novels in the next year or so....

An overactive imagination and a tendency to worry are bad traits to have as an author - you face a lot of rejection, a lot of bad reviews, and a lot of self-doubt every single day. Of course, overactive imagination is what makes an author thrive and a tendency to worry helps when it's time to write those tense scenes that make for a good piece of plotting...but these two qualities also lead someone like me down slippery slopes of despair, doom, and dread when I'm at a certain stage in the writing process:


And, even more daunting:


I've been working on a big, new YA project proposal for almost six months now. It has taken me a little longer than it usually would to put a package together, since I've been conducting an agent hunt as part of the process, but I've put so much energy and time and ME into this project that it's taken over a big, fat chunk of my brain during every waking moment. I finally - FINALLY - am *this close* to finishing the proposal and a bunch of chapters, and - fingers crossed - my shiny new agent (who is suffering through my nerves and psychoses in a very noble fashion) is going to send it out this week.

I am literally crippled with nerves and what-ifs.

Partly because this is how I get at this stage, but mostly because this project is something really new for me and it all feels like crawling into a creepy cave without knowing what's inside. I know it's a good proposal, and I am feeling great about it - so why so scared? This is the first time I've had an agent to represent me (which is great, but just different), this is the first time I've written anything like this that I feel SO sure of before the book is even done, and this is the first time I've been THIS worked up about a book I'm writing.

I know I'm not unique in feeling this way - so why does it all feel so lonely?

That: is the life of an author.

(PS: I also added this post to my own blog, because both this blog and my own have been a little neglected as of late, and I only have the mental capacity to write one thing...nerves are SERIOUSLY attacking.)



Jennifer Echols said...

Come on Erin
You can do it
Put a little
Power to it!
Gooooooooo Erin!

That is my generic cheer. Here is a cheer from my high school that you probably would only hear in the south.

Blood makes the grass grow!
Kill! Kill!

Debbie Rigaud said...

No, Erin, you are so not alone. The nerve of those nerves! They have a way of seizing you just when you need to muster the most courage. But no worries. Our fingers are crossed for you! I'm sure that everything will turn out great. Congrats on finishing your proposal. Can't wait to read this book!


We are in the same boat, Erin. For a minute there I thought I was reading my own thoughts. Good luck! I will send positive thoughts your way.

Kelly McClymer said...


Me too. I know just how you feel (literally). My fingers are crossed for you.