I remember a time, every summer—heck, every trip to the swimming pool—I’d stand on the high diving board looking down. I knew that I’d jumped before, that it had been fun, and that I’d spent the rest of the afternoon swimming to the side of the pool, climbing out, then climb the ladder to the high board and jump again. But the first jump of the afternoon always required almost more courage than I could muster.
Publishing is like that.
I’m dithering about my characters’ names, about the very formal diction I’ve chosen for a story in nineteenth century London, about whether I need more suspense, more violence, what the frobozz am I supposed to use for a title….
It’s “first jump off the board” fear, that’s what it is. Strangely, I don’t remember this kind of anxiety when I gave recitals growing up, before the few amateur theater productions I’ve acted in, nor when speaking before large crowds. It may be that I didn’t care much about those audiences, but I desperately want a positive response to my writing. Or, it may be simply that having an externally imposed time constraint keeps me from winding myself up.
… That last sentence is the first argument I’ve heard that might actually convince me to consider traditional publishing.
But no more dithering. I’ve got the cover picked out. I’m going with my original names, with a slight spelling change so that there’s no possible confusion with other authors’ fictional characters. I’m making the violence just a touch more graphic so as to justify the title I’m choosing. I’ve got the catalog description sitting in my brain waiting to be written down. Episode Two is waiting to be written.
After all, there comes a time when you either have to jump, or climb down so someone else can jump. I’m not climbing down.