Perhaps this blog could be termed contradictory as Gertrude T Kitty is not the name on my birth certificate however we can be many things and still remain sincere and honest.
I’m a realist and a dreamer, I’ve no money but I’m rich, I’m a writer but unpublished. I think of a scene in Batman when he has to decide between saving Robin or his love interest. He can’t choose because he is both Bruce Wayne and Batman.
For much of my life self-doubt, second guessing and feeling inadequate have been second nature to me. As long as I can remember I’ve had self esteem issues;I keep them well hidden, filed under ‘d’ for destructive.
My problems formulated at birth. I was raised to be a ‘pleaser’, not uncommon for a daughter of Catholic Irish. Two main complications stem from this: the struggle to form your own identity and the responsibility you shoulder to make others happy.
My saving grace has been my recognition and acknowledgement of my state of being. I haven’t recklessly rebelled but over the years I’ve avoided conforming. I’m no longer frightened of the consequences of being me; I’m endeavoring to be the individual that’s hidden beneath being a daughter, sister, wife and mother.
Unrelatedly I wrote a book, The Rebirth of Henry Whittle. During the writing process I didn’t consider other readers, literary agents or publishers; I thought only of my desire to make Henry and Phoenix real.
On completion I was unaware of the need to proof read, edit, line space or that there shouldn’t be spaces between paragraphs! However submission instructions enlightened me and I complied and revised my manuscript accordingly. I felt a gratifying sense of accomplishment. I had written a book and edited it. I was a writer.
My family were astounded by my sudden declaration to write a book. They read it and encouraged me to attempt to get it published. Completely ignorant of how the publication world worked, I googled away, piecing information together.
Query letter; apparently it’s your foot in the door. It represents you. If this fails to make you shine, you’re submission is bound for the shredder. I referred to examples on different sites. Easy, I could just doctor a few words here and there and I’d have a well constructed, cohesive letter. And I tried. It just felt awkward. So I wrote as I spoke. If I didn’t I would be reverting to the ‘pleaser’ in me.
This blog is a response to two things: a twitter with a link to ‘How to write a query letter’ which I immediately shied away from and a comment my daughter made.
Social media presence; it seems you need to be ‘out there’, blogging and twittering. In the last year I’ve probably only written ten emails. Tesco shopping and entering my fuel readings is the entirety of my online activity. Quandary! How much do I want to get my book published? More than all the sofas at DFS. So I joined Twitter and the WordPress community.
“Mum, be careful what you say, you don’t want to sound odd.”
Don’t I? If I’m not odd, that means I’m the same. If I have to police myself then I’ll feel insecure about every comment I make, every opinion I have. Am I trying too hard to get published, is it at the expense of my individuality? Do I have to revert to the ‘pleaser’ to accomplish my mission?
The moment my daughter made the comment I felt under pressure. I accept it’s good advice if I want to get published and avoid coming across as strange but what is the point of anything if you are pretending to be something or someone you are not.
Information and knowledge are key. Understanding any process you undertake is paramount to success. Research is important. I wholeheartedly agree with all these statements and will endeavour to act upon them but somewhere in between etiquette and procedures I want to be Dora the Explorer and make discoveries and not be led by the nose with a step by step guide. I realise this means stumbling around, probably appearing unprofessional, making embarrassing mistakes but that’s a risk I’m content with. I’m sure I will say all manner of wired and inappropriate things on Twitter, perhaps it will impact negatively on my chances of being signed by an agent. Right now I could be digging myself a huge hole but it will be my hole and I will have dug it with my shovel.
It’s satisfying when fellow bloggers reward with a smiley face, being ‘liked’ on Twitter is pleasing, I hope literary agents fall in love with my book but most of all I need to have a smile on my face, I need to like what I write. Conclusion: I just need to be me.