I’d like to announce my retirement. I am no longer a full-time, unpaid novelist obsessively seeking representation. The time has come for me to take a break from the submission's business. I can not continue submitting novels without A) Going insane. B) Having a heart attack C) Jumping off a bridge or D) Killing someone else. The pace at which I’ve been applying for representation is damaging my health. I’ve officially burnt out.
Within weeks of turning over this new leaf, I find that my poxy skin has become clear and the wine intake decreased. My hair isn’t limp and lifeless, but vibrant and shiny. I can now swish it about like those self-assured models in the hair adverts. Most importantly, I’ve stopped yelling at everyone. My kids can leave gym kits on buses, lose mobile phones, snap travel passes in half and dirty their clean clothes, because...do you know what.... it’ll all come out in the wash. I don’t cry uncontrollably in inappropriate places for hours on end. I’m smiling without an inner frown. I suppose you could describe it as being normal.
It seems like a heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders. At last, I’m allowing myself time to appreciate the simple things in life. I can go out with my family, greet strangers, observe interactions, exchange expressions and take note of my surroundings. I’m not looking at the floor minding cracks in pavements, dwelling on injustice and rejection. In a nutshell, I have become a writer again...to hell with the submission process....for the time-being.
It makes me ill just thinking about how it takes six months to write a 100,000 word draft and another ten years to get representation. I became a submission machine that had lost the ability to be creative. Therefore, the novels have been put to one side. I’m concentrating my efforts on writing scripts, short monologues and anthologies. I need to increase my portfolio. I need to take my time and produce quality work.
I’ve been revising the same novel for too long. I’m in danger of looking back and seeing nothing for all that effort. I feel I’ve wasted years adapting my novels to suit different requirements, second guessing what the business wants, pleasing individual tastes and taking on board a mish-mash of requests. I've lost count of the hours spent writing what seems like several hundred different versions of one synopsis. If I’m not careful, I’ll loose my mind, dumb down the novels and forget what made me write in the first place. Of course, I will continue to submit when, and if, a suitable agent comes my way, but I can’t purely focus on submitting instead of creating. There has to be balance in an unpublished writer’s life - an equilibrium where you come out on the other side with your sanity still intact.