It's 2008 and all of a sudden I'm filled with doubt. I want to go back and examine every word, every comma, every plot point of my book. On the other hand, I want to tear it up and go hide somewhere. I want to apologize for taking up so many people's time with my drivel.

I think this insecurity is partly fed by a character flaw on my part - a deep wound in my self-esteem possibly inflicted during early childhood. But this insecurity is heightened right now by being part of this fabulous marketing group called Class of 2k8. Just like in the school days of my past, I feel myself drawn to the edge of the class as an observer. I watch the other kids - or in this case, the other authors - who are brimming with the self-confidence that talent brings, acting as leaders, connecting with each other and with the big publishing world out there. Of course, this might partially be due to the fact that I'm the lone Canadian in this group.

I wish there was an ultra-sound test for books in the making. I want to be reassured that my baby will be healthy. I want to hear its heartbeat, count its toes, and know that it will be ready for the harsh world that book publishing is. But I can't know this. I can only know that I did my best and that soon it will be judged. Then I must move on. I must write because I love to write and not because I'm successful or not.

On another note ... I've finished reading my first book of the year and would like to share just one quote from it. It's Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut writes: "And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human." That's a theme in my writing so far - looking back. So what if it kills me. At least I've got Vonnegut's blessing. I feel better already.

Looking forward - even while I look back - to a great year! (Truly!) Next post I'm not going to blather on about myself. No! I'm going to talk about this fabulous of class of 2k8. So please come back.

Word of the day:
human: susceptible to or representative of the sympathies and frailties of man's nature
(from Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary)


Courtney said...

Gabe, I think we all feel this way! I stay up at night obsessing about how my book will do, and how I want the best for it. It is like having a baby . . . I think the ultrasound test is an excellent idea, if only we could think of one for books-to-be!

M.P. Barker said...


You've articulated exactly how I feel! Self-confidence? Self-esteem? What's that??? Now that my book's going to be out there, I'm happy and excited, but also full of dread--feeling as though once it hits the stands, somebody is going to unveil me as a total fraud and I'll have to crawl back into my little hidey-hole and never come out again--like I don't deserve to have something this good happening to someone like me (in spite of the fact that I've been working my tush off to make it happen).

So don't feel alone in your insecurity. Just keep reminding yourself how hard you've worked to get this far, and how you've earned every single bit of it. You might not be brimming with self-confidence, but you must be brimming with talent or your book wouldn't have found a publisher!


M.P. Barker
Holiday House, April, 2008

Ellen Booraem said...

Gabe, I bet every single 2k8er feels exactly as you do. In fact, up until now I would have said you were one of the confident ones! I guess we just have to display confidence whether we feel it or not.

I was astounded when I landed an agent. Everything after that is gravy. I keep reminding myself that, no matter whether it's good or bad, my book will be published!

Ellen Booraem
Harcourt, October 2008

Barrie said...

Hi Gabe! AND I feel the same way. I'm soo glad we have each other. It's kind of reassuring knowing that I'm the last graduate (with a December release date). I can watch and cheer the rest of you. Like a little sister. :

BTW, I'm Canadian too. From Toronto. I married an American and landed in sunny San Diego.


Barrie Summy
Random House, Dec. 9, 2008

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