May 18, 2011

It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect

Guys! I'm sort of freaking out right now.

I plan on sending the first few chapters of my new novel to Agent Jim but I'm nervous. Actually, I'm pretty scared. What if he doesn't like it? What if he really doesn't like it? In short, my stomach hurts.

For the past few days, I've been editing and re-editing the first three chapters of my manuscript, adding new details and then deleting them and then adding them again. Yesterday, I spent ten whole minutes fretting if I should use "for" or "from" in a certain sentence. Damn it, I just want everything to be PERFECT!

But then I realized something...

I have become a crazy woman. 

Seriously, Caroline? "For" or "From"? Who the hell cares?! And so, I gave myself a time out and then I created a new mantra:

Eh? Eh? Catchy, right?

I really like this new motto of mine but it's still hard for me to let go of my perfectionist tendencies. (Case in point: it bugs me that I didn't properly center the "but do check your grammar" portion in the image above.) But I've come to the realization that it's okay for my book to be imperfect. In fact, I should stop trying to aim for such an impossible goal!

(Ha! I'm sure you're thinking: "Well, duh, Caroline. Thank you, Captain Obvious. Now I'm going to go read Jessica Spotswood's blog because she's so much less neurotic than you are. Plus, she talks about cupcakes."

Anyway, you know what has helped me come to this realization? Remembering how imperfect my first novel was when I sent it to Jim. Granted, I thought my manuscript was pretty kick-ass at the time but then I received my revision notes and I was like, "Oh...." I couldn't believe all of the things I had missed! Like a rounded-out character arc. Like inner dialogue. Like important world-building details. 

My little book was terribly imperfect--even after I implemented Jim's advice--but you know what? That's okay. Books don't have to be perfect before you send it to your agent or editor or crit partner. They're not meant to. That's why these people give you revision notes! 

So. I'm going to take the plunge and send my excerpt to Jim this week. Yes, that's what I'm going to do!

But, wait. Maybe I'll do it next week instead... Hey, BEA is coming up! I don't want to bombard him!

Excuses, excuses. Someone please slap me.


  1. Remember it's a rough draft. Rough. The sooner you send it, the sooner he can give you feedback, revisions and tips.

    I am sure the chapters are great! For the record, I think when you start worrying over minutiae like for v. from, it's time to hand it over to someone else, because you are done with your part.

    Good luck.

  2. *SLAPS*

    Ehehehe, I can have a lot of strength when I want to :D Lordy, I'm COMPLETELY confident your pages aren't cruddy at all. And it's always a good perspective to compare past with present projects... *winces at the horridness of previous writing*

  3. Ewe go gurl.

    Er, I mean, get after it, Caroline. I know you'll be so glad you sent those chapters off to your agent.

  4. Ha!
    I know the feeling Caroline. I'm not quite there yet (I know, I'm so slow!), but already I can feel the creeping dread of sending off the first few chapters to John.

    Chin up, I bet it's awesome!

  5. Nothing is ever perfect. And Jim knows this is rough. Send it off, woman! (Of course, this is easier said than done. I know far too well how easy it is to stare at the SEND button for hours without ever clicking it)

  6. Send it off!!! You know it's the right thing to do.

  7. LOL I love you're mantra I may steal it for my life not just my writing :)

    Good Luck hitting the send key - reward yourself with a cupcake when you do :)

  8. I really want to tell you not to worry, but I'm the same exact way as you and I'm sure I'd be freaking as well. So may I suggest you add a glass of wine to the freakout?

  9. I'm the same! (So I can't tell you to calm down lol).

  10. Aww, I'm sure everything will be fine. Maybe you should get someone else to hit the "send" button. :)

  11. I know this feeling! I'm getting ready to send my new project to my agent--and I'm going to wait until after BEA. Lots of revisions to make between now and then ... I hope you get great feedback on yours!

  12. DO IT! (Easy for me to say, huh?) I totally understand the stomach hurting, which is an even better reason to get it over with and hit send. If you're at the nitpicking-at-little-words stage then there's not much more you can do to it.

    Good luck!

  13. You're already ready to send off your SECOND novel?! That is an amazing feat in itself. You're amazing.

  14. I think one of the most terrifying things about being a writer is hitting "send." It doesn't matter if it's to a CP or an agent- it's so scary it deserves a bowl of ice cream as a reward.

    Congrats on having those chapters polished and ready to send!