You are about to start working on your third draft. There is a lot of work ahead as it will require a total rewrite. The word rewrite makes you shudder.
Wearily you glance at your draft and wonder whether there is any point with carrying on with it. What seemed like a good premise for a novel at the start now feels like the most ridiculous thing you have ever written. Even the title makes you cringe.
As you start to tear your heart out at the sight of the rubbish you have written, you question your ability to write, your own sanity and the sanity of those who have encouraged you to keep going.
Your eyes scan your draft and find nothing but typos, a persistent grammar issue which you haven’t been able to get rid of and badly constructed sentences.
The dog whines sorrowfully at you and the sound of kids arguing in the room next door makes you wonder whether spending so much time on a ‘dead’ draft is the right thing to do when you have a family. Guilt weighs down heavily on your shoulders.
As you are engulfed in a cloud of writer anxiety you wonder whether there is any hope for you and your third draft?
This was me before I started my obsession with reading book acknowledgement pages. My writer anxiety levels were shockingly high and I knew I had to do something.
I don’t know what possessed me to start reading acknowledgement pages. One day I did and there was something magical about them.
Within the acknowledgement pages of novels you will find emotional shout outs, hints of creative struggle, persistence, desperate writer moments and in some book acknowledgements a reflection of your own anxious writer self.
After you have read a lot of acknowledgement pages the penny eventually drops.
We all think our work is crap, we all make the same mistakes again and again, we all suffer from writer guilt, we all question our sanity, we all endure dark literary moments, we all juggle life and a writing passion, we are all gifted with special people who help with the birth of our work and we all wonder whether it is worth carrying on with our writing.
We all endure the same writing struggles.
Here are some quotes from my favourite acknowledgement pages.
They have helped me to smile when I have felt anxious, inspired me, given me hope and more importantly eased my writer anxiety, because I know I am not alone.
- ‘And finally, to my husband. This year was a long haul for you too…thank you for being a smart, insightful first editor who helped me unravel so many problems and storylines, for all those brain storming sessions over dinner, all those late- night read throughs, for taking care of the kids…for just offering me a hug when I needed one.’ ‘Boundless’ – Cynthia Hand.
- ‘An eternally appreciative kiss to my fabulous friend who turned up one cold January morning when I was close to breaking point and stayed for the next three weeks to support me whilst I tore my hair and heart out writing the final chapters of this book.’ ‘The First Last Kiss’ – Ali Harris.
- ‘You keep me believing that what I am doing is great and not terrible and everything is fine.’ ‘Radio Silence’ – Alice Oseman.
- ‘Thanks to…. for believing in my story, guiding me when I had my dark moments, and patiently waiting for me to emerge from the tree line.’ ‘Oath Breaker’ – Shelley Wilson.
- ‘Thanks to… who encouraged me at a point when I was not sure whether I could or should actually write it.’ ‘Me Before You’ – Jojo Moyes.
- ‘Thanks to…both of whom were patient, careful and enthusiastic midwives for this book.’ ‘The Ballroom’. Anna Hope.
- ‘Thank you to….for not saying it was rubbish and for your always kind, useful and imaginative observations.’ ‘The Miniaturist’ – Jessie Burton.
- ‘My accountability partner, for dragging my ass kicking and screaming to the finish line.’ ‘How To Craft Superbad Villains’ – Sacha Black.
- ‘Thank you to my daughter for saving us both from the embarrassment of a naff title.’ ‘Lover’ – Anna Raverat.
- ‘Thanks to….who edits with such dedication and who somehow manages to refrain from writing pointed notes in the margins when I make the same stupid mistake over and over again.’ ‘The Missing Wife,’ – Sheila O’Flanagan.
There is something magical about knowing thousands of other writers are going through exactly what you are enduring.
Sheila O’Flanagan – I have so much writer love for your acknowledgement page 🙂
If you are struggling at the moment with writer anxiety, embrace book acknowledgement pages. They are like a soothing tonic.
If you are an author mulling over what to put in your book’s acknowledgements page, give us unpublished writers a little insight into what happened on your book journey. Hint at the struggles and your dark moments. Praise the special people who kept you going. This is the stuff that keeps us all writing 🙂
Have a fabulous day.