Saturday, September 10, 2011

Letting Go

So I haven't written in awhile, and since I'm planning to go out this will probably be a short one.

I spent my morning working on my novel.  I'm in that sort of "final revision/editing" stage where I'm not doing much actual substance change, but merely cleaning up typos and tweaking words here and there.  After over a year of writing, I'm almost ready to start sending it out the door.

And this is overwhelming to me.  As a writer, I am bombarded with tales of how difficult it's going to be, how many rejections I'm going to get, how long a haul this will be.  Yet this novel is something precious and me.  These characters live in my head.  I've spent over a year with them now.  I know them better than I know most of my friends.  If I were sane, I'd pick another dream, something easier, something less likely to crush me, something not nearly impossible to achieve.

Yet, as much as I hate hearing these messages of negativity and pessimism over and over again, I understand why they're out there.  Editors and agents get tons of submissions every day, and there are people out there who think they can throw a few words on paper and voila, it's a novel!  Writing fiction, like everything else, is a skill, one that takes time and practice to develop.  I've been writing fiction since I was six or seven years old.  I honestly don't know if I'm any good now.  I believe I can put words together, make them clear and concise.  I believe I can write without an overwhelming number of typos or editorial mistakes.  After spending five years as an editor, I would have been in big trouble if I couldn't.  But as to whether I can bring a story together and have it be interesting, entertaining, and coherent...I still doubt myself some days.

I have worked hard on this book.  I have written and rewritten and reviewed and workshopped and revised and then revised again.  I tried to make this book the best that it could be, the best I could make it.  Whether anyone else will recognize that, I don't know.  I hope so.

But now, there are only two paths left for my fledgling novel: out the door, or back into the bowels of my computer where it will remain forever.  And if I choose to leave it on my hard drive...well, then my dream really will be impossible.