I feel I must apologize. For six days now I have had the next passages from the book Yonder fixed in my mind, ready to be written down, and still I don't write them. Even now, writing this, I find it easier to express my procrastinations rather than to write the material I ought to be writing. All I can say is that writing is an act of courage; it is faith that what will be written will be worth writing ... and if a writer does not feel worthy on this day, then it is better that he or she lay off the matter than go charging into something that will make the condition worse.
I have found from long years of writing that it is the worst feeling in the world to have written something that, afterwards, must be smashed or crumpled up, to be tossed away. It undermines my confidence to do that, and I've learned to carefully reserve my confidence to be applied to those moments which will not produce folly. "Another day," I tell myself. "Just another day and you'll feel up to it."
I can't say that will help every writer. And there does come a moment - particularly with a deadline - when a writer has to snap to it and dare to work. There are of course moments where once the hump is gotten over, the struggle is not as daunting as perceived ... but oh those days when it is every bit as awful as guessed at, followed by discouragement and even despair that one is anything like the writer one wants to be.
So I'm not blocked. I am, instead, a coward.
No sense in not admitting that. Truth will out, and the moment will come when I put off my yellow clothing and get back to work. I feel that day will be today, if not this moment. And if not today, then certainly tomorrow. Or the day after.
In the meantime, I've sent my work to another publisher, Coteau Books, having received a rejection from Arsenal Pulp Press on the weekend. Funny, but that has nothing to do with my writing mood. Arsenal was very decent about it, sending the standard form letter, etcetera, but doing so very quickly and not leaving it for six months. Any time a publisher sends anything back to you, rejection or otherwise, it is an act of respect. The vast majority of publishers will send you back jack shit, even when you include the SASE (which I did), because most publishers don't respect anyone not actually making them money.
But Arsenal is small, as is Coteau. They're Canadian publishers, and they will at least accept unsolicited manuscripts. I went through this with proposed agents last winter, before starting this blog, and of 25 agents I sent inquiries to, I heard back from exactly three. None wanted to see anything I'd written. I have long said about agents that the reality is that you have to be the married spouse of some brother or sister of the Agent's girlfriend or bookie. That's how it seems to work. I've had some very nasty dealings with agents over the last fifteen years and except for really needing one, I really hate that I really need one.
Okay, I need to concentrate on actually getting the next part of the book written. It doesn't hurt to stretch my fingers writing here now and then, but I'm not getting anywhere this way.