Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Interspace: The Writer's Limbo

I'm giving it a name and a formal definition.

Interspace (n): the turbulent time between turning in a completed revision to a beta reader, agent, or editor and hearing back from said recipient; an unsettled period of waiting during which a writer's emotions fluctuate hourly between exhilaration and dread.   

Having entered interspace, I rejoice over finishing a project I labored over for years--even as I find myself lost without my familiar preoccupation.

I'm confident of having addressed all the points in the editorial letter, correcting things that didn't work, excising redundancies, adding new material to enrich plot and deepen characterization--even as I wonder if my efforts only uncovered further deficiences or fatal flaws.

I pride myself on having read every word aloud to check rhythm, flow, and precision--even as I imagine those words now echoing hollowly in other ears.

I congratulate myself for having pushed my craft to its limits and achieving things I never thought I could do--even as I recognize that true artistry (or even mere proficiency) stands more distant than ever.

I'm pleased with both the process and the product of my effort...

...but was it enough? Will the manuscript satisfy my reader's concerns, or has it only reached a futher stage of "almost-but-not-quite"? If more work remains, will I have the courage and strength to do it?

Until I hear back, I try to distract myself with neglected household chores, a teetering To-Be-Read pile, and friends I ignored during the intensity of the final push. I try to immerse myself in The Next Project, knowing how foolish it is to waste precious time. Yet it's hard to switch gears and settle into a new story when I don't know if I'm truly done with this one.

So I fret and I stew, amazed and grateful that anyone is willing to spend time with my words in the first place.

And no matter what the judgment ultimately is, I realize I'm one step closer to my dream.

How do you experience interspace?