You’ll notice in the tagline of this blog that this, contrary to all evidence indicating otherwise, is a blog about writing.
I just haven’t mustered up the guts to talk about that part of my life.
I have a tortured relationship with writing. What I mean by this is that I love writing, yet I find myself doing things other than writing that I also love but that pay jack, and so I want writing to be a magical sprout of alternative income that will allow me to keep my children from poverty. Being on government assistance has been a riot and all, but I’m ready to be done. Writing feels like my ticket out.
(Whoa. Did I just get too real there? Whoops.)
I’ve been actively working on my writing career. I’ve seen some ups and downs. There have been some moments of exhilaration (like when an agent at Writer’s House–the same agency that represents Stephenie Meyer and Christopher Paolini–responded to my very first query ever by asking me to see my novel. That letter still makes me smile). There have been some moments of frustration (like when the same agent, after months of my waiting on pins and needles, asked me to send it again because he couldn’t get the file to work–and then never emailed me again–I’m still WAITING…). There have also been some moments of disappointment (like the other 5 or 6 queries I sent out that were rejected.)
Now, I realize I’m really early in the game. In fact, as I’ve done more research I understand that I had no business querying yet at all. My manuscript is “finished” in the sense that I wrote most of it down and had some people read it. But it’s definitely not finished in the sense that I “edited it” or “wrote the final scene that’s still in my head” or “proofread it ever.” It is not in any state to have Someone Important read it and determine whether or not it’s salable.
Getting it to that point, I’ve discovered, takes a lot of effort. It requires a lot of really good, integrity-filled editing.
Editing is a terrifying process for me. Because of the whole ADHD-I thing, I have never edited much of anything over the course of my academic career. It’s hard for me to even grasp the idea that it helps (which is ludicrous–in the copy of my novel that I sent out to a few close friends I had used the word “sweet” where I actually meant “suite” so clearly it could use a good read-through). But, I guess what’s really terrifying is that my “edit” is actually pretty much a rewrite. That’s right. I–the kid who can barely finish reading a novel before becoming distracted–wrote a novel. Very painstakingly, and with great sacrifice. And now to celebrate, I’m writing it again. EML!
Rewriting is, by far, the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I am constantly freaked out that I’ve taken a wrong step, or eliminated the one character everyone would have loved, or… whatever else. I have little trust in my editorial decisions. I have little to no experience editing something and seeing it become better as a result of my efforts, so it’s very difficult to train my brain to believe that I’m actually improving my work instead of destroying its undergirding and causing it to die.
But, I have to believe in myself. I have to believe in that instinct–that feeling that I’m onto something. It’s taken me good places before, and will continue to do so. And deep down, I do believe it, and in myself. Fact is (cue Rocky music), I’m never going to give up on this, and I will not stop until I have made something happen. I will find success even if I have to work until my fingers actually fall off of my hands leaving me with ugly stumps of bloody, bandage-sheaved nastiness to type with and a nasty staff infection to deal with. And even then I’ll still work, but it will just hurt more.
I will do this.
It’s just really hard.