Sunday 12 January 2020. Midday

Sunday desk. Photo by Jessica Zarins, January 2020
Sunday desk. Photo by Jessica Zarins, January 2020

A flask of coffee, a tin of biscuits, my glasses and my laptop. The troops are assembled on my desk for today’s edit-battle. The feedback I’ve received from the consultant (I used London-based The Literary Consultancy), is to not change too much; just add few bits of clarifying background, and change the title of the book. To what? She didn’t tell me. Something that introduces the arc of the story. Like a child, I want to say ‘YOU come up with one then.’

More coffee. My heart’s not used to this and starts to race while I read about tensions with Iran and within the Windsor’s. The latter offers some well-needed but addictive respite from the former, and from the tasks ahead.

I look at my book. Printed out before me (double-sided, two-paged landscape, to save the paper), and on screen, it’s like the lake it’s set by: vast and calm and untouched. Change it, but not too much. If I dive into it, I’m worried I’ll make a splash so big it will ripple and change the whole book. If I only dip my toe, it might not make a difference.

But I love to swim, once I’m in it. All the worries of the shore – what if it’s cold, what if it’s wet, what if I regret it – are always washed away once I dive in. I remind myself of this, and treat myself to some kind facts: I’m a good diver. I know how to not make too big of a splash. And according to this consultant, I’m apparently a pretty good writer too. Even if I don’t trust it myself, I can trust her for now and believe that I’m able to make the changes she asked for.

I force myself off social media and brace myself for impact.

Jess jumping into the waters of west coast Sweden, June 2019. Photo by Cecilia Zarins
Jess jumping into the waters of west coast Sweden, June 2019. Photo by Cecilia Zarins

2 thoughts on “Sunday 12 January 2020. Midday

Add yours

  1. I don’t know your book or the details of your critique, but from a totally abject assessments of this post, I sense a niggling doubt. Not that you can’t do this, but the one all (most) of us, writers, have had at some time: I’m a phony. Perhaps you know you’re not and wanted professional validation.

    It took me a long time to own my writing. It didn’t happen till after I became an artist, another journey. I hope you have worked, are working through this. I thought you hung your heart, however briefly, upon your sleeve and that you should know someone heard you.(However late.)


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