Thursday, February 16, 2012

On Writing: Take One

I wrote a book, like a book book, a book with words, a book with pages, a book with characters and plot and dialogue and tension and allll the things, all the things that make a book a story.

Why am I so surprised when I've done it before? Because this one, my friends, holds promise. It's not perfect. Oh my, is it ever not perfect. But there's something there, something special, something good, something new, something (dare I say it) worth reading. I can feel it, feel it as sure as my heart beats. And it's freaking me out.
Now before you roll your eyes at the cute noob, let me share with you a few things.

a. I have been writing for well over a decade. In that time, I've written multiple short stories, false started a few novels, and, in fact, wrote She Who Must Never Be Read, also known as The Novel Hidden in my Closet (literally). This is not the ramblings of an unseasoned writer. I've been there. I've done that. This is different. I assure you. Now you can roll your eyes.  

b. I am a self-deprecating mess. Nothing is ever good enough. Nothing will ever be good enough. And if anyone is willing to point out my faults, it would be me. I'm willing to climb my way to the tallest mountain top, hold up the world's largest megaphone, and proclaim to all my failings.

Let's get back to the book. Ya know, the one I wrote. The one I'm willing to fight for. The one I'm gonna beat down all my fears for. The one that's got me all tied up in knots.

Her name? Fluff, Nonsense, & Other Emo Crap. That's copy written, my friends. I know you are kicking yourself for not coming up with the world's most awesome book title. Take a moment. Grieve. I understand.

I started writing her last summer. I finished her about a month ago. Since that blessed day when I typed the last word followed by that all too final period, I've been in a state of freak out. What do I do next? 

I mean I know what to do next: find first readers, edit all the things, edit more of the things, get more readers,  just for fun edit more things, research all the agents, spend a million bucks on paper, printer ink, stamps, and envelopes of the perfect shape and size, stress over stuffing all aforementioned envelopes just right, redo envelopes when smallest lil cutie finds them and gets paint all over them, decide one more round of editing wouldn't hurt, finally mail all the envelopes, wait to hear from all the agents, kick myself over a typo found on page 1, continue to wait for what feels like years to hear from all the agents, get rejected by all the agents-- rinse and repeat. It's a run-on sentence from hell.

I know that part by heart. Every writer's blog, agent's blog, and expert-on-writing-because-of-goodness-only-knows-what-reason's blog will share with you the dismal facts.

Fact 1: Your book is never polished enough. Go back and keep editing.
Fact 2: It is more likely that an alien will abduct you than you getting published.
Fact 3: Your query letter sucks. Rewrite it.
Fact 4: Did I mention you've got a snowball's chance in hell of a. impressing me and b. getting published? Just wanted to make sure that was clear. Good luck!

Go ahead, let it wash over you, take in the depressing reality. [insert sigh] Annnnnd moving on.

See, since that moment when I finished good ole Fluff, Nonsense, & Other Emo Crap, I have been going full speed, my brain-brain jumping from one thought to the next-- confused and unable to think. I feel small. I feel unworthy. I feel lost, weak, overwhelmed, uncool. It's high school all over, people, and frankly, it sucks a whole lot of arse. 

I've come to realize something: I've been so busy worrying about how to impress the literary gods that be, I forgot to celebrate the moment. I forgot I didn't write this book for them, but for me, for those people out there who are like me, for the simple joy of writing, creating, dreaming, living.

With that in mind, I am climbing to the tip top of the tallest mountain, taking out the gigantic megaphone I keep in my back pocket at all times, and declaring to all the world:


Gosh, that felt good. I highly recommend you do it too! Maybe you haven't written a book, maybe it's a kick arse scene you've been dreaming about for weeks on end or maybe it's a witty dialogue thread that cracks you up or maybe you had "that moment," you know the one when the idea that's been festering in the back of your brain-brain finally clicks into place, or maybe you just so happened to write a thousand words today and that's the most you've ever written in any sitting and you are dying to share it with someone.

Whatever writing goal you hit today, be it an amazing sentence or a whole damn book, celebrate it! Rejoice! You are awesome!! No, really, you are. Pat yourself on the back, pick up your favorite treat, and realize you've done something billions of people only wished they could do:

You are living out your dream.
You are a writer. 
You're doing it. 
Never lose sight of that one simple amazing fact.

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