As of about five minutes ago, my manuscript, some ten or eleven thousand words--roughly thirty pages--shorter than the original, is flying around cyberspace aiming for my editor's inbox. I feel a sense of relief, mingled with exhaustion like I've been up all night, and just a tiny bit of dread.
The relief is that I have reason to hope that I'm ready to move on to the next step--shopping for an agent. I thought I was there almost a year ago, but found out rather quickly that I wasn't. Through the kind words of a rejection email and the seemingly endless help of Mrs. Sandy Tritt, I believe I really am there this time.
The exhaustion really is best compared to that feeling you get when you've been up all night enjoying yourself. Not bar-hopping-drinking-yourself-into-a-stupor fun. I can honestly say I've never done that. But just hanging around with friends, watching TV, listening to music, and talking until the sun comes up fun. I have that feeling that I'm so tired I may actually just sink right into the mattress if I lie down, yet I'm exhilarated at the same time. And I got plenty of sleep last night. Editing is an intense process. I took this manuscript, which really does feel like an old friend by now, and took not a scalpel but a cleaver to it. It's like I gave it a verbal bypass it's lost so much weight. And every word, phrase and paragraph was difficult to let go of. I normally could only do it an hour or so at a time, but yesterday I decided to really push through. I worked for four hours yesterday and four and a half today. I proved to myself the quote I heard recently. It was from an author who said that writing five hours a day is as hard as ten hours a day of a regular job. I'm spent, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
The dread is that I think I'm ready to move on to the next step--shopping for an agent. I know I said that was my hope, but it's also my fear. Now I feel like this book is as good as I can make it. What if no agent still wants it? What if my best is just not good enough? I guess I'll see how I react if that proves true. I hope I never have to find out. At the very least, I can always e-publish it on my own. But I really don't want to do that. I want to actually get this puppy published and be able to hold a copy in my hand, autograph it, go on a book tour, do a reading in a bookstore, have fans, receive a royalty check--the whole real published author experience.
Think I'll go take a nap.