Last June, I finished the first draft of my novel and set goals for timeframes on revisions, sending query letters, and self-publishing. A year later, I completely missed the mark. I do have my Zelda series coming out very soon, but I am not even close to querying or publishing my novel. When I ask myself why, the excuses pop into my mind: work, family, life, etc. But, when I am honest with myself, I realize the biggest reason why my novel isn't ready is me. It's my fear of people reading my work. What if nobody likes the story? What if it's a disaster? What if I wasted all this time on a dead project?
Writing is a career where you put yourself out there. You become vulnerable. I don't like being vulnerable like most people. Writing is also a career of uncertainty. I don't know if the next project will be well received. I don't know if one day I can make a living off writing. I can take positive steps and make smart decisions to help this process, but it may take a long time.
I am trying to live with this fear and uncertainty. Some days are better than others. When I get positive feedback, my writing productivity soars. When I feel stuck in a story, I find myself turning on the tv or reading a book instead of opening up Scrivener.
Recently, I find myself in many conversations with friends and family about my future. They ask reasonable questions:
- Where are you going to live? (Our lease is up on our house and we are getting kicked out in a few months.)
- What are you doing next?
- What do you want to do?
The truth is I don't know where I will be one year from now or even six months from now. I don't know the details of where I will be living or what I will be doing. I do know I will be working somewhere- maybe the same jobs I have lined up right now, or maybe something completely different. But, I do know I will be writing.
I love writing. I love creating characters and discovering how they transform in the course of a story. I love the idea of my words help someone smile on a rough day. I love brainstorming new story ideas.
And so, I will keep writing on the good and bad days. If I sell 10, 100 or 1000 copies of my next story, I will keep on writing. It's who I am.