|Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh
for hosting the IWSG
November, with its cozy fall mixture of auburn and gold, the chill in the air, the cranberry mold, reminds us to pause for a moment and hold those dear to us close to our hearts. Ah…it’s few and far between that I wax poetic, but there’s something about the 5:00 quiet of the morn that gets my rhyme on. Now December, on the other hand, reminds me of how thankful I am that November is over. Dang, that month was a killer!
It’s time to forget about all the craziness of the NaNoWriMo, because for me, not hearing that word for another 330 days is the biggest blessing of the holiday season. No…it’s time to grab our manuscripts by the cajones and move on to the next step in the process. There is no rest for the writer on a mission to bring his story to light.
Yet there are many dark corners and scary shadows on the journey from brain to bookshelf. I got stuck in one the other day and couldn’t find a way out, at least for awhile, and that scary shadow is clingy and hard to shake. He keeps tapping on my shoulder, following in my footsteps. A close relative of Fear, his name…is Doubt.
Yes, Doubt infiltrated my 3:00 afternoon power nap and would not leave me alone. As I laid there, my mind raced through a thousand different scenarios, none of them good. The nap started off great, though. Drifting off to sleep signing a five-book deal with Scholastic, I was in heaven. But Doubt crept in from the shadowy corner of my medulla oblongata and reminded me that there was still much to do before that time came.
My eyes popped wide open and I heard my stomach wince, felt the acid burn another hole. Who was I out of hundreds of thousands of talented writers? Do I have what it takes? There are revisions, critiques, rewrites, beta reads, more rewrites, more reads, pitch after pitch after pitch, rejection after rejection after rejection. Can I weather this? I’m running out of time!
Like many of you, this is a mid-life career change for me. Making the most of a difficult situation, I decided to journal about it, which awakened the more creative side of my writing, yearning to be explored. It led to Monty Tucker and the pursuit to become an author of young adult fiction. But like any new job, there’s the whole orientation process. I feel like I’m on the longest probationary period ever. When are the benefits going to kick in?
Well into my 40’s, I don’t have time to make (too many) mistakes. In reading the abundance of information at my fingertips, it’s been reiterated time and again that agents and publishers want an investment, a writer who is more than “one and you’re done,” and when one gets to my age in life, they consider the productive years left. This has to be great from the starting gate, and with the promise of an outstanding showing in the second race, too.
So it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, because not only is there Monty to polish up and spit-shine, but at least a rough draft of Monty II to pen and a detailed plan of the whole Monty Series. That’s what stares me down in my mid-afternoon dozings from the crevices of that wrinkled oblongata.
And the scariest pitch that Doubt is throwing is that, after all the time and the work and the sacrifices and the money, it’s just no damn good.
One word at a time. There’s no need to let the fear dominate. Deeeep breath. It can either be Forget Everything And Run, or Face Everything And Revise. I like the latter.
Where are the Tums?