Last week I sat at my desk with two envelopes sealed and waiting. The first, an eight-by-eleven manila, contained signed and witnessed copies of contracts for my forthcoming novel Time of Death. The second, a standard mailing envelope, contained a completed author's sheet for my publisher with the form dealing with the legal permissions. I sat there, staring at the envelopes and feeling a strange sense of unease. This was, after all, the accomplishment of a long-held dream – becoming a published novelist – and even though mailing off the paperwork equated to taking the final step into the dream, I felt…well…nervous.
The cliché goes that any creative venture is, in a way, a child of your imagination. You labor long hours, shaping, refining, and generally muscling it into something presentable and then there comes that moment when you must let go. The work will stand or fall on its own virtue as a reflection of the effort you put into its formation. All the creator can do is stand aside, trust, and wait.
Surely, for me, there's plenty of work to be done before the final letting go. I've signed the contracts and mailed them off and now I wait the assignment of an editor and the heavy-lifting that's to come. I'm sure my creative child needs a lot of schooling and a fair amount of discipline before being ready to enter the public. I guess if I had one bit of advice for the aspiring writer (I'm still in this category so I'm half saying this to myself) it would be not to fall into the trap of believing the work is completed when the manuscript is finished.