Friday, December 31, 2010

Revising My Fear

What am I so afraid of?

A year ago I had no idea I'd really write a book. I also didn't realize that writing the book would be the easy part. When you're writing everything is fresh and new and filled with possibility. It's okay if you suck because it's just a first draft. Writing was surprisingly un-terrifying for me.

I had a vague idea of what revisions looked like, as an outsider listening to other people's stories, but I had no true understanding of the process. Now I'm in the middle of the process and I'm terrified. What if my second draft sucks, too? What if I am forever doomed to write "short" books and no one wants them? What if my characters moved too fast or too slow or are too one-dimensional or have too much backstory and are confusing? WHAT IF I FAIL?

I look around at all the amazing people I've met online and in person this year who do this, over and over again, and I don't know how they do it.  How can they take these nuggets and turn them into amazing publishable works?

Six weeks ago, I was completely overwhelmed by the process of editing my book. So I walked away. I took a break to read and relax and sit back and let it all sort of wash over me. At first even this was scary. I didn't know what to do with myself. I caught up on a lot of reading, which only fed my neruoses at times, because they were all so much better than me. But eventually I began to enjoy the reading again, and saw the differences in style and characters and began to learn from what I was seeing.

Now that time is up and I'm still terrified, but I think I found the antidote to my fear: action. I asked some of these friends what they do to self-edit. I have a list of things to look for. I have amazing friends pre-reading so that they can give me insights on plot holes and characters I know I'll miss. I have a printed copy, a purple pen, and a lot of coffee. I CAN DO THIS.

I want to say that 2011 will be filled with less fear on my part, fear of doing and of failing and even of succeeding and what that will mean for me and my life. But that would be lying because I am scared of change by default. I am also, however, relentless. I will not let the fear stop me from pursuing my dream. I will keep working on this novel until it is the BEST NOVEL I CAN POSSIBLY WRITE. It may still suck, and it may still be too "*insert negative word here*", but it will be mine and I will be proud of it. So here's to action and conquering fear. Here's to 2011 and a publishable book. Written by me.

So Happy New Year, everyone! One way or another, 2011 is going to rock.

Fearfully optimistic,
Leigh ;)


Sophie said...

2011 will be an awesome year for you! Don't be scared. And just keep going...yes, like that little engine...Go, Leigh, go!

merry jennifer said...

You can totally do this. I have no doubts at all. Just remember, I want the first signed copy.

Leigh said...

Sophie & MJ, y'all give me the confidence to keep going. Thank YOU! *hums "Just Keep Swimming" a-la-Dory-from-Finding-Nemo*

Jenny said...

I admire you! Do something everyday that scares you. :)

Cheryl said...

YES! I'll toast to this (more than once)!

Matt Blackstone said...

Keep going!!!

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