Okay, the ether is apparently wearing off from the news that two foreign publishers want to acquire the rights to my novel and one of them wants to contract for a sequel. Now that the dust has settled and the reality of it all has hit me upside the head, I’m feeling tremendous anxiety. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I know that I’m a pretty good writer and in the past I have been able to write four novels with few incidents of writer’s block. But this new challenge is a different animal.
A foreign publisher is paying me to write a novel. And a very specific timeline is not only part of the contractual agreement, it is the ultimate contingency. This is not for fun or a hobby; it’s getting paid for performing. Not only do I have to deliver a polished manuscript, but it must also survive the careful scrutiny of the publisher’s editorial staff. Just writing this post is making me sweat.
I’d feel much less angst if I didn’t have a day job. If I could awaken every morning, brew a pot of java and write while my brain was refreshed and my creative juices were flowing, I think I’d do just fine. But at the end of the day when my job has sucked every ounce of life from my brain, how do I sit in front of a computer and create words and sentences and paragraphs worth reading? And the weekends? Can I just ignore my wife and domestic activities, lock myself in a room and write? Not hardly.
So, the only viable solution as I see it is to believe in my writing ability and the market potential for my novel, quit my job—actually retire from my job—and write full time. Here’s the caveat: when I put a pencil to it, I just don’t have enough money to comfortably retire. If my novel tanks and I don’t fulfill my contractual commitment to the foreign publisher for the sequel, my wife and I will be eating Campbell’s Tomato soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well, maybe only lunch and dinner; I don’t think we will be able to afford breakfast.
Here’s the bottom line: do I believe in myself and my writing ability enough to take the plunge? Or will I be held hostage by my fear of failure? They say that God hates cowards, so maybe I just need to take a long hard look in the mirror and search my soul.