I’ve had a bottle of champagne in my refrigerator for quite some time now. It’s been chilling ever since my agent called me six months ago with the news that he’d sold my book.
But when do I pop the cork?
I got my agent before I had even finished writing my memoir. He agreed to represent me based on the book proposal with its five sample chapters. I had another 15 already written: a good start but hardly a completed manuscript. So, his parting words on that congratulatory phone call?
“Oh, and by the way, you’d better get writing.”
No time for champagne now! I’ve got too much work to do!
I finished the manuscript over the next three months. Was this the time to celebrate? I thought not. What if the publishing house didn’t like the final product?
The first installment of my advance arrived in the mail. Hooray! Bottoms up? Not so fast. The second installment only comes when the revised manuscript has been accepted. What if that never happens? What if they hate it?
I got my revisions back from my editor. “A lot to love and not a lot to re-work,” she said. Mostly just some re-ordering of chapters. Easier said than done, but I took her suggestions, moved words around, added new words, pressed send. Time for a bit of the bubbly? Not so fast. What will she think of the revisions?
She emails me back. Loves what I’ve done. Now? Um. No. Better wait. I still have the copy editor’s suggestions to anticipate and incorporate.
Today I did my first interview. A local magazine wanted to do a profile. Everything went well. But now I worry. Did I reveal too much? Did I come across as vain?
I’m coming to realize there may never be a perfect time to celebrate. My literary ducks may never line up in a row. There will always be one more editor, one more revision, one more interview. We writers are a very self-critical bunch. We will re-write and re-work and re-think, always convinced that the perfect word choice is just a click away. Our outward self-confidence is tempered with an inner self-doubt that is ever present, sharing shoulder space with our muses.
But I will keep my champagne chilling, waiting for that artistic perfect storm of luck and faith and gift.