My fingers have been poised over the keyboard for I don’t know how long. Chest tightening, stomach flopping. I focus on the thin stream of air cooling the inside of my nostrils with the hope of encouraging the breath to expand, deepen, wash away my fear. This particular fear is one I never intended to enable.
Today’s plan— to create a Write a Horrible Query/Synopsis document and get on with it— been meaning to get on with it for nearly three weeks. Instead, I read through all the materials I collected over the years about these vital pieces of ammunition and accomplished nothing. All potential sentences word knotted by doubts.
But Jocosa, what happened to the optimism you walked away with in the last two posts?
On vacation? It was Memorial Day weekend. Ugh! Classic case of Resistance. Where’s Steven Pressfield when you need him?
The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.
Wham-Bam! Its grip has never been stronger, and my doubts are more inflamed than a tooth in need of root canal. The only solution— write the damn query and synopsis. But I’d rather have the root canal.
I’ve experienced rejection, and my responses have never gone well. Of course, that was then. And after my transformative year, there’s no need for history to repeat itself because in the words of Stuart Smalley, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog gone it, people like me.”
Plus, what was the point of bleeding over the pages of the Magic 13 for year and a half if I’m not going to invite others to read it?
Because the Not-Good-Enough-Monster is screaming in my head— your word count is still too high, your “Comps” suck, your logline is pathetic. Why put yourself through the agony of querying? Why not start the next book? After all, it’s the creative process you love, right? Stick with what you love.”
I have seen many people in diverse fields take some version of the process-first philosophy and transform it into an excuse for never putting themselves on the line or pretending not to care about results. They claim to be egoless, to care only about learning, but really this is an excuse to avoid confronting themselves.— Josh Waitzkin
It would be so easy to fall back on my love for the creative process and never enter the query pool. But doing so would eat at me the same way Kaitlyn’s story did, and I don’t want to be haunted for another nineteen years. Peace will never arrive unless I find out how the story measures up. And so, it’s time to embrace the outlook Cheryl Strayed used in order to write her debut Torch.
I had to write my book. My very possibly mediocre book. My very possibly never-going-to-be-published book. My absolutely nowhere-in-league-with-the-writers-I’d-admired-so-much-that-I-practically-memorized-their-sentences book. It was only then, when I humbly surrendered, that I was able to do the work I needed to do.
I will write the damn query and synopsis. They don’t have to be perfect. Clean, arresting prose, yes. But they don’t need to imitate any of the stellar examples I’ve read. All they need to do is convey the heart of the story that’s haunted me. I will write them because it’s time to stop hiding. It’s time for writer-me to step up to the plate. Put myself on the line for Kaitlyn— the heroine who showed me how to write.