Kill clichés. I read that somewhere last week. I often read it, somewhere. If, like me, you do not enjoy editing and find it the hardest part of being a writer, I wager you have an insatiable yearning for as much help as you can find on the subject. This is how I came across (many times) the words ‘kill clichés’. Bizarrely, as I sat down to begin this blog piece, a cliché is precisely the first thing that popped into my head. I opened a blank document and there it was, wagging its little tail excitedly and bouncing on the spot. Well, I thought, I’m not writing my novel now, I’m writing a blog piece and it is a sweet little thing. So I’m using it.
At some point in our lives, many of us will have worn our hearts on our sleeves (there it is, cute isn’t it?). We will have spilt all our love out for public persecution and scrutiny. And then we will have melted into a pile of goo in the aftermath. Not always very nice goo. What is this all about, you are asking? I shall hop to the point. I have finished editing my first novel out of a series of three I have written and have begun submitting it to literary agents. My novel is the proverbial heart on my submission sleeve. There it now sits for agent perusal, naked and at their whim, free to be plucked from my sleeve and examined in finite detail.
I have been here before, a very long time ago and with a very different book doing the rounds. I am older (definitely), wiser (hopefully) and still writing (madly enough). For a fleeting moment I imagined I would not be quite as nervous as I had been ‘ah-hem’ years ago. Silly woman. This book is my life, my soul, almost a five year journey from idea-spark to finished novel. Sweat, tears, muscle fatigue, insomnia, malnutrition and madness have all played their part in its creation. For it to simply exist much has been sacrificed. This is where our evil nemesis, self-doubt, creeps into our troubled little minds and sends us into a stall, a free fall tumbling from the heavens of euphoria to the depths of, “What the hell have I done?”
If I learned one thing all those years ago, it was that you must not succumb. You are the Spitfire pilot, engine stuttering, radio blown and with a single bullet in the cylinder. Don’t bail. Resist. Turn around and fly into the sun. Aim for self-doubt and, when the sights are right, kill it. How? Keep going and do not stop until you succeed. Kill self-doubt and whatever you do, do not kill your enthusiasm; do not allow your enthusiasm to be quelled by rejection; do not allow others to eradicate your enthusiasm with flippant remarks or negative critique. Stay strong. Remain enthusiastic. You will prevail. You can still sink into a pile of goo, but you will be goo filled with enthusiasm and charged with positivity to slide into gooey action!