Thursday, August 5, 2010

When Panic Sets In

by: Joelle Charbonneau (posting for the soon-to-be-wed Dave White)

Well, the calendar tells me my release of SKATING AROUND THE LAW is less than two months away. And yes, I am panicking. In less than two months, I’ll be touring the country hoping to God people show up and keep me company at my signings. I’ll also be hoping readers like the book.

It’s funny, but as a stage performer I’m used to people expressing their opinions about the work I do. That’s just part of the job. However, as a performer, if an audience doesn’t react well to your work, well, there’s always tomorrow. A new show, a new audience, a new day.

For writers, tomorrow is a new day, but it takes a long time for a new book to hit the stands. I think that’s the reason I’m panicking more for this opening day than any in my performing career. If someone doesn’t like this book, chances are they won’t read the next one. Scary stuff.

And yet I wouldn’t trade the panic and the sleepless nights for anything. Does that make me a masochist? Probably. This adventure is a lot like a roller coaster ride. The submission process is the long ride up the hill. Every click of the coaster as it lurches up and up makes your muscles clench and your heart skip. And just when you start to get comfortable with that part of the ride, the coaster hits the top and tilts over the edge. That’s when the real fun begins. There are highs and lows, twists and turns and a lot of loop-da-loops. Most likely during this ride I will scream with joy and fear, shed a few tears and have some good laughs. At some point during the ride I will want to get off and never climb back on and yet, I am hoping that by the time the car pulls into the station I’ll be first in line to get back on. If they let me.

So for all of you writers out there, what has your writing journey felt like thus far? Does it feel like a roller coaster, a dive out of a plane or something else?


SueH said...

Joelle - first off, I hope the launch of your book goes well and have a feeling you won't be twiddling your thumbs at any signings!

As one who has nervously just 'joined the queue waiting to board said roller coaster' (ie. at the start of the submissions process) I appreciate your analogy of a mixture of "wheeeeeee!" and "what the hell am I doing here???"

I hope the 'ride' has enough excitement to persuade you to queue up eagerly to purchase another ticket!

And good luck!

John McFetridge said...

The best part about the journey is all the great people you meet along the way.

Have fun and enjoy the ride.

Peg Cochran said...

Good luck! I'm sure it's going to be a smash hit!

So far my writing journey has felt a bit like being run over by a steam roller, getting up, shaking it off, then lying down in the street to be run over again.

Hopefully it is about to get better! But I wouldn't trade the trip for anything, that's for sure.

Mike Dennis said...

Joelle, my writing journey has felt like a long nap. I signed the contract over a year ago, and thus far, all that's been accomplished is the editing. And that was three or four months ago.

No cover, no pub date, nothing. I've really almost forgotten about it.

I tried a gentle note asking for updates but they just told me to be patient. So I went back to sleep.

Maybe come spring.

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Sue - Thanks for the well-wishes. I am hoping you are right about the signings. Good luck on the submissions process. That's always an interesting phase of the journey - and like those roller coasters the waiting feels long.

Thanks John! I will!

Peg - The steamroller part sounds familiar, too. I think writers have to have part masochist in them in order to survive. I hope the steamroller passes you by next time and that the roller coaster fun will begin,

Dennis - Yeah - the waiting is long. I got my contract over a year ago. After the contract I waited 6 months for edits. The publishing world is a slow mover!! Let me know when things start getting more exciting. I'd love to hear about the ride.

Yasmine Phoenix said...

Joelle great post and it's all true. I personally can't ride a roller coaster. I think they're pretty - from a distance. I agree with Sue H as in the submission process, that's a ride! I question every day why I do this, and when I open up my manuscript I know exactly why. I'm pretty sure when I get a contract the first thing I'll do is throw up, just like I would if I were on a roller coaster. Then panic, then fear, then the deep desire to get the hell off but realize it's too late and I have to keep riding until the end. Then I'll do it again.
Looking forward to when your book comes out.