Though some parts are better than I dared hope, there is also an uneasy feeling that there remain ideas in my head that never quite translated to words on the page. Private battles have yet to be revealed, but will remain unspoken so as not to prejudice a first reaction. The moment of truth will arrive with an email or phone call from my literary agents, whose job is to be brutally honest. I may not agree with all facets of their verdicts, but I know that this honesty is crucial, and also that it will come with the finest of motives: to make my novel the best it can be.
So, for a while, I feel free – like the first days of a long summer holiday when you relish the sense of not having to do anything – but then the ominous space between the date the manuscript was sent and the silence and empty in-box of the present begins to weigh heavier. The story starts to seem ridiculous, clunky, inept. The mind prepares for bad news: any criticism will already be pre-empted; I have already ripped my own work into a thousand shreds and will be able to say that I quite understand, I’d been thinking very much the same thing myself.
I read lots of writers’ blogs, most of which stream in through my Facebook page since I joined a site that puts writers in touch with writers. Many of these writers are young, more than most are American, and the confidence that blares from these pages is quite astounding to me. Good luck to them - I wish I had their self-belief. Older, wider (all that sitting down at the desk…) and bloody-well British about it all, I prefer to keep my trumpet firmly in the back of cupboard until I know there’s a reason to blow it.