June Journals #14 ~ Silent Uncertainty


Competition Novel

When I decided to stop working on my novels for a bit, and concentrate on my blog and the garden instead, it was with a sense of relief.

It isn’t the writing that’s hard – well, some days it is – but more it’s the silent uncertainty.

When I write a blog post, even a mediocre one, I know if somebody reads it. And generally at least one or two people do.  If I’m lucky I’ll get a like or even comment. It’s a lovely feeling.

As I have been fortunate enough to stay below the internet troll radar by being boring, unknown, and uncontroversial, the comments are supportive and encouraging.

Not so with books.

I can spend a year writing a novel which even my family won’t read and feed back on, because they’re too close for constructive criticism.

Without Beta Readers, my only sources of feedback are agents and reviewers. They’re not exactly a chatty bunch. If you hear back from an agent at all, it’s a polite, “this is not for me” message, after weeks and weeks of painful silence. Reviews, which are even harder to get, are all or nothing. Black and white. Fulsome praise or scathing disgust. I have come to dread them.


Out with Agents

As someone driven by external validation, despite years of trying not to be, this lack of feedback on my efforts saps all motivation. Currently I have one novel in a competition, and two with agents, and the rest, as Hamlet would say, is silence.

It paralyses me.

Do I work on a current book, without knowing what’s wrong with it? Do I write another one, without knowing which bits I’m getting right, or whether anyone will ever actually read it. Should it matter?

How do novelists slog at a book for ten years, true only to themselves and their story? Where do they bury their self-doubt?

I should really join a writer’s group, although I’m currently a little thin-skinned for that. I’d probably weep at the first unkind word and give up writing forever.

Except I miss writing.

I miss producing books, discovering characters, creating. Filling that blank page.

So I’ll pour those words into my blog for now and try for patience.

Thank you for being listening voices in the void!

Quick post to say WOW!

Squanto: A Warrior's Tale

I got this wonderful comment today from someone whose blog I stumbled across earlier through a string of random coincidences:

“Amanda, you are amazing! I’m so happy you found my blog because now I found YOUR blog and website. You really have put all the pieces of the puzzle together as a writer in the 21st century – you can write, you can package, you can promote. It will be so exciting to read your works, and to follow your career!”

So I went back and read some more of her blog. The first article I read was about her and Michael Jackson. Really. This is her biography:

“Darlene Craviotto has worked professionally in the entertainment industry for over twenty-five years.  She wrote Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Is Never Silent, which won an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie. Her feature film, Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale, a Walt Disney Film, garnered a Teddy Award for Best Family Film.  Her award-winning play, Pizza Man, has been performed all over the world, and her first book,  An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House was published in November, 2011.  Ms. Craviotto is married, has two children, and lives in Goleta, California.”

And SHE said that about ME? Well, now, that’s amazing…

Go check out her blog, particularly the article that led me there:

If I’d Listened to My Agent, I Never Would’ve Written It