Only Two Days and a Few Hours!

I'm starting to wish I hadn't made this deadline public. Had to really though didn't I? It helps to know there is a literary mob waiting to beat me up verbally if I don't stick to the plan :)

Am I going to make it? Of course. I'll make the deadline because I always do. Never quite sure how it happens but it does. The question is: will I make it?

A number of publishers have been jolly nice to me of late and that's surely no bad thing but it's not necessarily more than a pleasant thing either. If my work isn't up to standard then no amount of friendly chat will save it from the bin.

Is it? My work, I mean, Is it good enough?

The Hoops

So far I've jumped through the following hoops:

1/ Learnt English

2/ Had car accident, fallen into coma, emerged from coma unable to speak

3/ Learnt English again

4/ Got Degree in English

5/ Did lots of research about publishing and novel writing

6/ Written novel

6/ Written sequel

7/ Set up online presence

8/ Built up following of writers, readers, publishers, agents, editors and other media people and a couple of celebrities

9/ Got feedback on my writing from best selling authors

10/ Edited both books. Re-edited first book.

11/ Got agent.

Ha! Fooled you! Didn't get to point 11 yet. This is the bit I'm scared about. The rest of it was in my control but the next bit is not. It's a big, black hole of potential disappointment.

Over the last year, I've taken to reading a few novels by authors doing very well in the 'contemporary commercial women's fiction' category - which is where I think my two books would fall. Some of their work has been great but on more than one occasion I've stared at a page for many minutes, unable to go on, thinking:

'What? That's not right! How on earth did they manage to get THAT published?'

There is one book in particular that sold incontinently well and I could not get past the first chapter for months because of one horrible sentence. It was just ghastly. I'd love to quote it in all its ghastliness as I'm sure you'd agree but it wouldn't be fair to the author so I won't. The thing is that I know this author would have no problem churning out this substandard level of text for huge sums of money for the rest of their life. Maybe their own sense of pride in their work will cause them to improve but even if that doesn't happen, publishers will be happy to continue publishing them.

That isn't something I'd want. I want to be REALLY good. My dream is to find an agent and publisher that take me on because they believe in my work but they won't let me submit anything sub-standard. Even when it becomes really sale-able I wouldn't want someone 'blowing smoke up my ass' as I think you say in America. I desperately want to find a group of people I can work with to get the best possible work published as commercially as possible. Will it happen though? Have I done enough to help it to happen?

The last few years have been intolerably hard for many reasons and it has been a real work of determination to get these books written. There have been times when we've gone without food or without warmth so that we could afford the electricity for me to get words on a screen or the ink to get words on paper. My husband has put as much into these books as I have. Maybe that's why I'm freaking out a bit at the moment. If I don't get published, I'm not the only person I am letting down.

Part of me thinks that I have done as much as I possibly can to give my work the best chance of success but another part of me wonders if that could ever be the case. Is there something I missed? What else needs to happen before Monday to help my words onto the bookshelves at Waterstones?

Ana V.  – (29 May 2009 at 14:09)  

It is amazing everything you go through when you write. I am in awe of your dedication to your writing and the sacrifices made to get to where you want to be. I know you will do well and it will pay off. Do not doubt yourself or what you have written. I can't wait until you are published so I can buy your books. The best of luck to you!

Rebecca Woodhead  – (29 May 2009 at 14:50)  

Thank you so much for that comment Ana V.

Followers of the blog know about my struggles with poverty over recent months but I think the 'brain damage' might be a shock to some of them! (Snuck a subtle ref it into one post but I don't think anyone saw it so I'm 'outing' myself here!)

I'm sure I'll mess up many times in different ways but I'm not going to lose sight of my destination regardless of what it takes to get there and it is so helpful to me to have such wonderfully supportive followers here. You're all great!

Thanks again :)

Eric  – (29 May 2009 at 16:33)  

Rebecca, I am in awe at your sacrifice, your ability, and your drive. To have overcome so much and still be working hard at it speaks volumes about your dedication. Rather than second guess yourself, trust in your abilities. You've already made it leagues from where you started, and I for one know you're going to come out shining by the end. Good luck on making your deadline. I hate 'em and love 'em.

Rebecca Woodhead  – (29 May 2009 at 19:09)  


Thanks for your encouragement and support. I'm with you on the deadline thing. I'm pretty sure I'll do it.

Editing is my very least bit of the process it must be said. Looking forward to starting the next book but I think it would be a bit of an indulgence to start on it before I have a deal on the table for at least some of what I've done so far.

I'll take your advice on board and just deal with what comes along.

Rebecca Woodhead  – (29 May 2009 at 19:11)  

that was supposed to be 'least fave' (editing) BTW

Rebecca Woodhead  – (29 May 2009 at 23:50)  

giggling at typo. Too funny. Demonstrates how much I hate editing though I s'pose.

End of another day. Only a couple left til deadline. On track to get it all done in time. Time to sleep.

Bonnie  – (30 May 2009 at 04:52)  

Wow is all that comes to mind. It just shows how amazing your talent truly is to come so far and accomplish so much. I admire your hard work, dedication and your passion for writing. You deserve all the best!

You should write that third book. If the idea is there and the words are still flowing you shouldn't stop. It's kind of like the saying "you shouldn't wake a sleep babying" you shouldn't stop writing especially since it's what you enjoy doing. The idea might slip away, too. (I hope that analogy made sense! :) )

Rebecca Woodhead  – (30 May 2009 at 12:57)  

Thanks Bonnie. I've got to be honest... I'm probably going to start that third book next week. It's bugging me daily to be written. :)

I tweeted some book suggestions but realise they might be a bit meaty for summer reads so I DMed something else that might be more appropriate. I could really do with a kick-arse summer read after I've finished doing all these reviews actually. Nothing too challenging. Lots 'o' fun. Anyone got any suggestions for me (& Bonnie)?

Rebecca Woodhead  – (30 May 2009 at 14:06)  

Countdown update: 1 day 9 hours 58 minutes

Terror update: AAAARRRRGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Bonnie  – (31 May 2009 at 05:51)  

Thanks for all the great suggestions. We seem to have very similar tastes, I've read just over half of what you suggested :) A friend of mine at work just gave me a whole bag of books that I'm looking forward to reading. A mix of some light reading and deep thinkers. I just finished one, "Bergdorf Blondes" by Plum Sykes. Great chick-lit book that was an easy read. I'll compile a list of some books I think are pretty great and email them to you tomorrow.

Good luck with the deadline, I know you'll make it!

Rebecca Woodhead  – (31 May 2009 at 08:58)  

Sounds good. :) Enjoy the book thingy in Bean Town. Send my best wishes and big up my blog. xx

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