Writing Anxiety

Although I haven’t given up on sending my book proposal out to agents, I’ve decided to table it temporarily while I finish up the book. (I was rejected by one agent, and now I’m afraid to send that proposal out to other agents without revising it first. The agent told me there are three other books out that are similar to mine and she “doesn’t have the vision to make this one stand apart.” Of course, that could be a bullshit way of saying, “It stinks. I’m not interested,” but assuming she is telling the truth, I feel like I need to find a way to make it stand apart myself – in my proposal. The other three books, by the way, are focused exclusively on modeling and all take place in New York, while mine is set in Paris and Tokyo. Two of the three are also novels, while mine is a memoir.) So now I’m forging ahead, laptop glued to my lap. (I know it’s bad for my back and a waste of my expensive ergonomic office chair, but I much prefer to write on a couch than at a desk.) I now have 280 manuscript pages, but the more I write, the sloppier my chapters are getting. I’m trying so hard to just GET IT ALL DOWN and not go back and revise, but the result is that my most recent chapter, 30 pages about working in Tokyo, is a mess. Some pages are in present tense; others are in past tense. I describe a woman’s outfit twice. I slip from first person into second person at one point. It’s killing me not to go back and fix it all, but I know it will take me a week to revise those 30 pages and in a week I could write 30 more. I just think at this point, aside from sending out my proposal to more agents, I should write, write, write because I won’t know until the book is done what chapters should be removed altogether, and there’s no point in revising chapters that may get the ax. This type of writing gives me anxiety becuase it feels wreckless. Somehow taking years to write a book, with many pauses for other life events–weddings and vacations and even trips to the gym, for example–feels more natural to me. But I need to get out of my comfort zone and finish the damn thing. If I can lead .10as, I can finish a book. Right? Right??

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