The Terrified Optimist

I always thought I was a glass half empty kind of person. But just over the past couple of days, I’ve realised that in fact, I’m not. I’m not even a glass half full kind of person. I’m actually a glass overflowing with the sparkling Waters of Immortality kind of person. I am, deep down, an over the top, complete and utter instinctive optimist. Except the problem with my optimism is that I’m terrified of it. Why?

Because I’ve always been a person who has very high expectations and the problem with high expectations is that you are inevitably destined for disappointment. And I’ve had a lot of disappointments. So to help cope with my over the top optimism, I have developed the Voice of Doom (hmmm, could be a good conflict here. I could put this in a story. Can’t switch the writer off eh?). So when I send off a sub, the over the top, incurable optimist inside me is going ‘what if they like this so much, they ring me tomorrow and offer to buy it??’. But this is bad because this will never happen, so up pops the Voice of Doom with, ‘Idiot. Don’t even think that. You’ll be lucky if they don’t reject it.’. And experience has backed up the Voice of Doom so I listen to it. I’m afraid of thinking good things about my submissions in case I’ll be disappointed. Because if you expect the worst, then when it comes it won’t hurt, right?

Which is why, when my CPs happen to tell me my latest chapter is great or that my idea for a new story is good, I go ‘Thanks. I kind of like it. But I don’t know whether the eds will like it or not’. That’s the Voice of Doom talking down my OTT optimist who is bouncing around going, ‘Yeah! I love it too! It’s instant sale time!’. The VoD also fits in quite nicely with the Kiwi way of talking ourselves down all the time, so really, I can’t win. The VoD wins every time.

Anyway, long way of saying the VoD was not helpful on Friday night when I received an email update from the ed about my partial. It wasn’t a bad email but it wasn’t a good email either. It was a ‘something’s not quite working with your partial and I’m getting a second opinion’ email. The VoD immediately told me it was a rejection because the last time a second opinion was had, it was a rejection. And this time the OTT optimist is in the corner, lip wobbling, going ‘what? How can something so brilliant not be working?’

Yeah, well, I don’t know either. I thought I had done better than that but clearly not. Of course, since I subbed the partial, I’ve realised that there are pacing issues that need to be addressed and probably a bit more layering in needs to be done, but surely it’s not that bad that it’s another rejection? Does it have to be absolutely perfect and revision free in order to get a request for a full? And what about the synopsis? The last time I was asked for the full, I had a crap synopsis and a story with no internal conflict so does this mean my current sub is worse than that? Why is the ed being so hard on me?? Wahhh!!

*small violin plays tragic music*

You can hear the VoD assuming it’s an R can’t you? Fact is, it’s an update, nothing more. It could mean an eventual R or it may be revisions. I won’t know until I hear back. But I know I shouldn’t compare this ms with ones that I’ve subbed before, or what happens with other people, but human nature being what it is, I do. And I wonder if I’ve really got what it takes after all.

I should probably stop before the VoD takes over completely but you should know that the OTT optimist hasn’t been squashed utterly. As I went to the conference on Saturday morning wondering what on earth I was doing there since I clearly didn’t have what it takes to be a proper author, a little voice inside of me was going ‘oh well, better polish up Three Days in case it’s an R. That has got to be the one’.

PS: in terms of the Very Soon Sweepstake, does this mean I’ve ‘heard’? Or should it be in the final decision, whatever that may be?

29 thoughts on “The Terrified Optimist”

  1. Oh grrr on ed leaving you hanging like that. I think we all have a case of nasty VoD after we’ve hit send.

    I’m hoping the second opinion tells the ed she doesn’t know what she’s on about and your sub is, in fact, brilliant. Optimism there and not the OTT kind.

    As for the sweepstake, given I said next week I reckon you haven’t heard until you’ve actually *heard*. Updates don’t count 😉

    PS my word verification is ‘asheness’. I am taking that as a sign 🙂

  2. Joanne – I think the ed was actually trying to be nice since I’ve been waiting a while. She’s not to know it sent me into the pit of despair! Lol! Anyway, I’m hoping that at the very least they’ll let me try and correct whatever they think is wrong with it.
    Ah, you said next week did you? Alrighty, we’ll go with that. 🙂
    Asheness? What’s that a sign of?

  3. Hey Jackie, I’ve turned up George Michael’s “Faith” extra loud to drown out the sad little voilin music. I guess hearing is a plus, huh? Still keeping fingers crossed for you for good news, dear 🙂

  4. Asheness kind of looks like your surname when you’re squinting at the screen because your eyes are tired!! Honest.

    PS This one is ‘hussi’. I think I shall say no more and go to bed now.

  5. No point worrying until you know for certain either way. That’s the logic of it, at any rate. I doubt the VoD is interested in logic though, lol.

    I think it’s great that you had an update. A good sign. Not necessarily for this ms, but that you are developing a good working relationship with that editor. That’s an important thing. They buy authors, not single books.

    Good luck!

    Jx

  6. Maya – Lol re George Michael! I suppose hearing is a plus. Personally I probably would have been glad not to know until a final verdict is reached.

    Joanne – Oh!! I get it! Sorry, I’m feeling a little slow today. Yeah, it’s a sign and I’m grabbing it. Lol re hussi!

  7. Jane – too true. I’m a worrier though so I can’t help it. And the VoD makes it worse. Clearly the VoD needs to get drunk more often. 😉
    I am developing the relationship but after nearly 18 months of working with her already, I’m wondering if/when they ever give up on you. I suppose everyone wonders that.

  8. What a frustrating email!

    Your editor must see something in the partial to want to discuss it with another editor – so that’s positive! It’s much easier to send a quick rejection than to discuss it with someone else.

    I’m with Janette – I reckon you’ll get some great suggestions and a full request 🙂

  9. Well, I’m gonna talk to Jackie’s VoD. Hey, VoD, com’ere. Yeah, you. *smack* KNOCK IT OFF!! You only borrow trouble you know! It’s like grieving because someone MIGHT die in a car accident one day. 😛

    Okay, Jackie…you know what I said. If it was an easy R, she’dv R’d it. Needing a second opinion means she’s very seriously seeking the right advice so that you can write more, whether on this MS or the next one. That sounds like not tired of you to me. 😉

  10. Janette – yay, you can help my optimist here. The VoD is telling me that I won’t get revs because this is already a revised partial and I’ve used up all my rev potential. But I think I’ll listen to you instead. 🙂

    Leah – hey you! Yeah, frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it. But yes, I think the ed is trying to keep this story alive. And it’s not an R yet. But…(shut up VoD!!!). 😉

    Maisey – believe me, I’ve done that. I know, I’m totally crazy. I should go check myself into the nearest mental facility.
    Ah well, if it’s an R, at least it won’t be an easy one. After 8 months of blood, sweat and tears on this story, I guess I should be grateful for that.

  11. To answer your question first.. The very soon sweep-stake was for when you’ll hear back from the editor..and hence..you have reached that deadline.. Go ahead, give a hug to whoever predicted correctly..

    Now..coming to the OTT optimist (OTTO) and VoD.. Did you know that my OTTO played a part when I did some initial submissions… I was like.. what? How could they reject this? If not acceptance, it should have garnered some feedback..right?

    Then I realized one thing.. I got a feedback and what was wrong with one story (in essence the GMC wasn’t as clearcut) and up came my VoD. I didn’t know a thing about GMC’s…and plotting and pacing – blah blah.. simply because I thought I was strong in that !!! huh !

    I struggled.. then allowed the story to stew to get ideas.. I pleaded for help from every contact (including my CP’s and those who weren’t), Then I threw up my hands and cried “not fair”!

    Then came the other revision requests..which said the plot/pacing/GMC were good. Grammar isn’t up to mark !

    My OTTO by then was so thoroughly squashed that she took everything with a “oh, is it?” type of feeling. It isn’t VoD either. I suppose I could say, I have reached a veritable mid-point, where neither the OTTO rules nor the VOD.

    But that doesn’t mean that I am not thinking “yes.. this is going to be the best” whenever I look at my next MS. That “next” is what is keeping me going in spite of the ups and downs. I suppose after this long ramble, I intended to say.. Don’t worry, since I seem to be in a similar boat. If not anything, I can give you company for a couple of vodka martinis !

  12. Ouch.. I always talk too soon and realize that I didn’t really tell what I wanted to..

    I told my story to re-emphasize the fact that.. what is wrong for one editor could be right for the other. I am hoping here that the second opinion would be more positive !!!

    Here, let me tell you a personal experience…

    In my first job..my manager saw me as a fumbling newbie, trying to learn and cope-up. He saw me for years, even when I did my best, he never thought I was good. I thought I wasn’t either. When a change came up, my new manager was so impressed with my work.. that I was taken aback with the sudden sparkling opinions.. I hadn’t sprouted wings overnight, but the striving years had somehow made me perfect, for which I should thank my first mgr and … the “second mgr” too..since it was his opinion that gave me the positive perception I needed.

  13. Ju – those are wise words. I’m in a not trusting my instinct space at the moment. The OTTO is nowhere to be seen and it’s all VoD. 🙁
    I hear you re the editor. Last time though, it was the second opinion that killed it so…once bitten and all that. Who knows really?

  14. I go to bed, wake up and YOU’VE HEARD! But then, you’ve not…
    No, I don’t think this is a reply yet because you still don’t know. (Then I voted for September so I would say that.)
    Take heart Jackie, I’m with Maisey she wouldn’t be looking for a second opinion unless she wanted to be clear about the feedback she gave you. That must be good x

  15. Oh Jackie, you poor lamb! You really are tying yourself up in knots aren’t you? I feel so sorry for you and I’m sending you a great big squeezy cyber hug. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time and I genuinely love your voice so if you write your mss the same way you blog (with the addition of steamy love scenes of course) then I’m sure your work is fabulous. I’ve yet to read anyone’s post that says: “Seriously Jackie, you suck. Always have. Always will.” Everyone is sure your talent will see you through to published author (add my vote to the rest). Perhaps you need to schedule time for your two inner voices – 30 mins each and let them do their worst and then after that each time they try to start up do something to distract yourself: your fav song up really loud or a game on the iPad or a prayer or a mantra. Train yourself not to listen because *cue dramatic music* you’re doing yourself damage. Spiritually, creatively and emotionally – it’s not good hun! So many people out here in blogland respect you and what you’re doing. Borrow a bit of that and if all else fails….hit the chocolate big time ;P

  16. Susan – I actually heard on Friday but I didn’t post it or anything ’cause it was a bit gutting. I guess it’s good re the feedback – unless the response is a no in which case it won’t be good. Sniff.

    Joni – thanks for the squeezy hug! Just what I needed. 🙂 What a lovely lady you are. Yes, I’m a bit of a basket case huh? No middle ground, that’s me. Between the VoD and the OTTO, I don’t have a sensible, practical voice telling me not to get so wound up. Which is where Dr Jax, my CPs, and my lovely blog friends come in. You guys are pretty much my middle ground. The voices of reason. So, I shall listen and go do something else for a while. Sip my martini and watch Spartacus again maybe?
    Big hug right back to you.

  17. Oh, Jackie – I feel your pain. Waiting is extremely painful when you really, really want something bad. Yay on finally getting a response, but crap on not getting the answer you were hoping for 🙁

    I’m with everyone else – feeling confident that you’ll break in eventually. You just have to hang in there and sticky tape the VoD’s mouth shut!
    Your writing has obviously come very far in the last 2 years – as evidenced by your writing craft posts.

    Keeping everything crossed for you that you’ll get good news after the second opinion.

  18. Angie – yes, painful is right. I guess you can relate huh? That VoD is a pain in the a*se, let me tell you. But yeah, I suppose I have learned a lot in the past 2 years. Actually the past 6 months have been gold re learning. I just hoped I could have put it into practice better. Argh! 🙂

  19. urgh! how horrid to get back and yet not get back, if you know what I mean!
    Anyway, its not a rejection. Its not over till its over. Deep breath, chocolate martini, and put it out of your head until you hear back properly.
    Second opinion means she’s not sure what to do next, which is good! if it was an r, she’d have no problem telling you. I’m beaming positive vibes the second editor’s way, but for now, just try NTAI… there’s nothing you can do till you hear!

  20. The problem with these “relationships” with an editor is it is a bit like reading tea leaves (not that I’ve ever done that, mind you, but I DO have an imagination) The ed says one thing, and we immediately look for all the super secret hidden meanings in what she said. So, if you ask me, all your reactions are completely NORMAL. If they’re not, then I guess you’ll have me as your roomie in the loony bin cuz I have the same wild mood swings (from uber euphoria to utter despair.) I’m sure there’s a medication for that kind of thing.

    Amy

    PS We all know you can do it, Jackie. Courage.

  21. Sally – yep, it’s horrid all right. But thanks for the positive vibes. Am NTAI-ing with all my might. 🙂

    Amy – yeah, you can relate too I’m guessing! And so true re the second-guessing. I keep constructing elaborate meanings from a two line email. Stupid huh? Well, let’s take our medication (make mine a vodka martini) and strap ourselves into our straight-jackets and laugh manically until we hear. Courage back to you too. 🙂

  22. You tell that VOD from me to hush right now. Of course you have what it takes. VOD is ridiculous to suggest otherwise.

    Hugs for the wait. That’s the part of writing that really gets me down.

    XX

  23. Suzanne – the VoD has quietened down today so thanks for that – it obviously listened to you. Yeah, the waiting is the pits isn’t it?

    Amy – Cool. Could use the company. Bottoms up!

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