We're all geared up and prepared for failure. When I was training therapists, I used to get them to write ten things about themselves they would like to change. Thirty seconds later, they were all done. Then we turned the paper over and I asked them to write down ten characteristics they were happy with. There's a whole lot of half hours I'll never get back. We are self-conscious and unsure about our successes, our strengths.
I wrote, in all sincerity, that I didn't want to win the Mslexia prize. What I meant was, I couldn't imagine coping with winning the prize. In a few weeks, I have been a runner up, got an agent, rewritten the back of the book, and am starting work on line edits. That's about as much success as I can cope with. All around me, people are talking about 'when' rather than 'if' which seems oddly optimistic to me. I'm only prepared for failure.
So I'm applying some psychological strategy to me. I am going to celebrate each little success as it comes along. I got my edits back and she doesn't think I should scrap the whole book! Yay! I still have my agent and she still likes the book, so Yay! And, best of all, she paid me the nicest compliment.
I had written these little epigraphs at the beginning of each historical chapter. They were quotes from my narrator's journal and she asked if they were from an actual journal.
'No,' I replied, feeling a bit stupid, 'I made them up.'
'Well, they're great, I love them.'
Success indeed if I've managed to convince someone as experienced and educated as my agent that my fiction is plausible!