Anticipation

Definition

: a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen

: the act of preparing for something

: the act of looking forward

: visualization of a future event or state

: the early sounding of one or more tones of a succeeding chord to form a temporary dissonance — compare suspension

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           Being on the verge of starting the querying process for a book, I will tell you that it is one of the fastest ways to make yourself feel wholly inadequate at life.

I know that there are many of us out there—hopeful writers tapping away on our laptops and scribbling into spirals, all of us sharing a similar dream of actually seeing the book. For some, it’s seeing it on a shelf, maybe spying it in commuter’s bag on the train, and for others, it would be standing in line to check out at the library, holding a skyscraper of reads, and seeing someone thoughtfully considering if they want to embark on the adventure proposed by the book jacket, little knowing they’d be taking that journey with the person behind them.

Now that I’ve finished a manuscript, that dream has taken on a new vibrancy. The daydream changes depending on the day or what I’m doing. At the bank, I think about how sad and plain my signature looks, preserved almost perfectly from the ninth grade. At the library, I wonder what the cover art would look like and if anyone would pick it up because it looked interesting. And then a clear, even voice reminds me to put the Silly Notions down, step away, and actually submit those query letters I’ve been researching and writing so carefully.

There is a tension here, the waiting, the first step into the unknown. Until now, the journey has been a relatively safe one, but soon, the book will be out into the world. Whether or not it comes back home is completely out of my hands and into God’s, a fact that makes me grateful on a daily basis as I stare into the black and white of a query letter, wondering if the writing there will be enough to make someone want to read more. Does it sparkle? Would a dull gleam be too much to ask?

I must admit the pressure is intense at times.

I’ve read piles of books in my field, testing the waters that my work might soon be treading. Not everything is my taste, not everything will make me keep graduate school hours to finish, but there are so many creative ideas out there already! If you haven’t browsed your library for a while, I highly recommend it. Ask your librarian, your friends, your postman, or your internet for suggestions. There are wonderful books in the world, and it gives me hope to remember that they were once where mine is now, held anxiously in authors’ hands on the thresholds of their houses. Though there be rejections and dragons, they made it through. They made it to me, and now, my satchel is packed and I’m looking to the distant, clouded mountains.

Again, I don’t know how this particular tale will end. I might get lost on the way and be too embarrassed to ask for directions. Maybe I’ll find something I wasn’t looking for, or perhaps I might dare to hope that I’d make it to the foot of the mountain. Despite the daydreams and the worst-case scenarios, it still comes down to me deciding to do it, putting words and action behind the wishes and plans.

After all, no one ever had an adventure by staying where they were.

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