what they don’t tell you about when you finish your first book (part 2)

♡ You will HATE reading your first draft. I will tell you — it really is a terrible experience.

♡ You will try to find excuses not to pick it up and edit it.

♡ You will lose your writing routine because you want to avoid working on your work, because you need to edit now. Not writing in a flow.

♡ You will cry. You will cry at almost everything.

♡ The prospect of finding an agent in this too big world will be the first thing to set you off.

♡ The second is the amount of rejections you need to mentally prepare yourself for, whilst continuing to believe in your work enough to get it published.

♡ You will want to start book number two to prove to yourself you can still write and the first one can wait. FALSE. By all means take notes if you have a grand idea for book two but pull through and finish the first, first. You can do it.

♡ You will spend every night trying to find publishers, read agent profiles and wonder how the hell the business work.

♡ You will cry because you don’t know the business works.

♡ You will cry because you’re sure you can’t handle rejections. Trust me. You can, and if you can’t you better get into practice.

♡ You will compared yourself to any book you read while working on your own. Just because yours is different doesn’t make it shite.

♡ You will eventually get through your novel, and start feeling a weird sensation. This is your confidence coming back — you made it. You’re on your second draft.

♡ You will start re-writing and it’ll seem like you knew you what you wanted to say to your reader from the very beginning. You just needed a little mental push and self doubt to get you to that point.

♡ You will cry because the agent business is coming awful close.

♡ You will cry because penguin wont immediately sign you.

♡ It is all worth it. Trust me. This entire process has been out of this world.

————– And so i bring you to the stage that i am at currently. Right now i am continuing my writing exercises daily, setting aside a time and having my phone send me an alert when i forget. I work on at least one chapter a day of re-writing my manuscript and working on my notes from my read through. Right now i’m very excited with where its going. I feel positive, excited and pleased with myself. I almost believe it could be a great little novel. Thus far i have reached chapter eight of my re-write. Only thirty more to go.

what i’m currently reading #1

This edition is a vintage library book that was last read in 1995, well thats the last time the ticket inside was stamped. I obviously bought this second hand some place for almost no money. Its a great thing to have even if this story isn’t one of his best.

Hand holding a vintage library book by Larry McMurtry called "Some Can Whistle." A western novel
What are you reading?

what they don’t tell you about when you finish your first book

Its all fun and games and countless hours when you’re writing your book, but the business after is tough.
Reading your manuscript back is the worst pain i’ve felt since i got on this damn train ride. It has been the HARDEST part of the entire process. They don’t tell you how much you’ll regret every word, question yourself and wonder what the hell is wrong with your sensibilities.

Finding an agent is the devil, especially for western writers. Aka. Yours fucking truly.

Writing your first submission is more daunting than finding out you have the clap, im assuming as i’ve never had it but i presume its not all fun and candy. It makes you feel vulnerable and uneasy. I partly worry about my work being stolen because its happened a couple of times before and then went on to be published, with me losing out. I felt depleted and heart broken.

picking up your manuscript sucks. You dont want to look at it, think about it or even acknowledge you created the filth in the pages. Apparently this is very common, but holy terror and erebus, this is awful. I’ve been trying to read through and i can only manage a little more than a chapter at a time. All that work and now i want nothing to do with it. My mind keeps trying to get me to abort this operation and start a new story, but what good is a new story with the first on a burner.

working from home

I’ve been working from home since last Monday, trying not to leave the house as much as possible. Only leaving to go and help at the barn or going grocery shopping. So really right now is a perfect time to be editing that novel i’ve been so excited about, but i’ve been trying to avoid it like the plague. I don’t know what i’ll do when i’ve finished editing it. The thought of reaching out to that first literary agent is daunting and reaching out to the possible hundreds after that, just as daunting — so with that in mind i’m trying to keep myself in limbo so i wont have to deal with all those rejections on top of being made to feel like shite during my work day. It just wont do — and i know that. Now i truly my force myself to look at it face to face and finish the damn thing, the last leg.
I’d been hoping that i’d be able to spend my lunches taking a quick run around the block and then sitting down with my manuscript before going back to work, however since working from home — i haven’t even had time to take lunches during the day or any kind of a break for that matter.
Everyone is busy losing their minds and piling their work onto me because they dont know what to do themselves. I really hope it all will settle down soon so i can at least get a break.

As for COVID-19. Im not that concerned, i’m not panicking or bulk buying. It wont do any good. I’m just staying home and doing my thing, getting the projects done that need doing, finishing this and that. Jack and i take a walk in the evenings in places that people are very sparse. We’re quite enjoying not being surrounded by people constantly. Its surprising how even this town in the middle of Wyoming can feel so damn   cramped.  This pandemic has solidified that Laramie isn’t long term, just a week or so ago i thought i wanted to stay — with a new job it’d be fine. No, it wont and i was probably kidding myself. I love Medicine Bow and the amazing landscapes surrounding us, but everything else is a battle. It’s time for us to return home, and whilst i will probably never live in Denmark again — Texas will be the closest i’ll ever have to home for the rest of my life. I’m already considering packed boxes and getting rid of our clutter and this COVID business helps make Texas seem like some sanctuary in all the madness.

The manuscript

Having said, all that, my personal life is pretty good. I’ve started playing and learning a new instrument. One that is completely different from the ones i’ve played all my life, so its very exciting and weird to be a “beginner” again. Im enjoying the process. I have also been trying to practice writing at home more — its just about creating the habit and keeping it going. Last night i woke up in the butt crack of night to write down notes for a new piece; whether its a poem, a short story or a novella i don’t quite know but its a brand new idea and those are always something to be proud of. You never know when those ideas might start drying up. I’m glad that even now, all these years later, im still able to fill notebooks and writing books with ideas and dreams and stories and lies. It’s good for the soul.

Lately i’ve been debating how to make the house we live in more “ours,” i suppose thats always unavoidable when you just want to buy your own place with acres and change it all up to fit your way — i’ve never owned a place before. But i want somewhere that i can convert into a Scandinavian haven with wooden floors, white walls, walls of books and wooden panels and fire places with reindeer blankets. It doesn’t need to be a big place, and i’d love a porch around the place to boot. Somewhere in North Texas so i can still get some snow, that’d be grand. Maybe with a lake or river near by so i can still get some boating in. With enough land for all those senior horses i’ve mentioned before.
I’m not much of a decorator, but i do have the inner minimalistic Danish streak when it comes to apartments and homes — and i do my best with what i have. I’d love for my place to look like a Danish Summer house. Cozy, hyggelig and quiet. I’m not willing to put money into a place that isn’t mine though of course, but i’d love to change a few things about the house just the same. So i’m considering a few ideas. Who knows what i’ll come up with? Do you own your own place? Do you have a knack for decorating and making places into safe havens?

Anyway, i’ll steal back to my manuscript and do some editing whilst we watch the Shining. Im sitting with my favourite blanket in front of the nordic looking space heater and leaning against Jack. This is what living is. No one to bother us none, and nothing we need to leave the house for.

I hope you’re all well and that you’re safe. Stay upbeat, and take the staying home as a gift. I sure am.

brace yourself

Im trying to brace myself. Everyone is out of the office till the rest of the week and im absolutely taking advantage of that. Ive finished my writing exercise for the day and been looking for the 100th time for a single agent i feel positive about. Just to be a wee bit ahead 0f whatever game it is that im playing. I found three that i think i might be fantastic. Whether they’ll think the same of me is the hard part. We shall see.

Now. Ive had an obligatory office donut, i chose the one with almonds, and so for the rest of the day i will be doing this and that. Until around 2.30 when i steal away to the student center and kiss with Jack Kerouac for an hour. I would rather be home watching Secret Window of course. A weird movie to inspire someone but its my favourite film and i think of it often to get myself into the spirit of writing.

Lately ive had a few issues with HR at work which is why im so overly stressed and thinly strung, but none of that now.