Into the Unknown

I can feel it in my chest. It is this deep, assuring sensation that it is time to peddle my novel. The world is calling me for it, and I know I must answer.

On December 9th, 2021 it will be 12 years since I finished my first NaNoWriMo and completed my first ever novel length work of fiction. If you have done NaNoWriMo before you will note that it is 9 days after the completion of the month long contest, to write 1,667 words a day for the entire month of November. And you are correct, but these were 9 extra days it took to actually wrap up the narrative. And I have spent the time since then editing this bitch.

Part of that is due to my need for perfection and my inability to see my talent and skill. I truly, truly am my worst critic. It’s weird how no one wants to see me fail more so than myself. I’m hellbent on it. And I have wasted these past years himming-and-hawing about whether it was good enough. Well, after a long car ride, and captive audience, I realized it is.

I don’t remember if I wrote about me and the polycule’s impromptu trip to Salt Lake City… Regardless, during this time I tasked the BF to read aloud my story for myself, the husband, and the brother-husband. May I make a suggestion that any writer should ABSOLUTELY do this. It accomplished two things. One, I got a test audience for feedback and overall commentary about the story; in real-time no less. Two, I got to get outside of my own head to hear how it sounded. The second one was the best thing I could have experienced. For so long I have sat there, nitpicking prose, punctuation, plot, that I get so lost in the logistics that I forget about the whole purpose of writing a story: to be entertained. I found myself smiling and laughing at my own words. That is insane. Either it’s good or I am just a narcissist who enjoys his ability. (Probably a combination of the two.)

Well, a road has been placed before me in the terms of an unpublished manuscript competition. For an entry fee of $65 I can submit my first few pages and a brief synopsis of my novel for consideration. If it’s chosen it’ll be placed in front of people who could potentially jumpstart my career. Now, will I place? If my past writing competitions have shown me anything, it is a firm NO. Will I find an agent or even sell it? Again, most likely no. Should I still do it? Yes.

One of the things that has been repeated to me frequently is that we will regret all opportunities not taken. So, I need to do this.

Ambition Drought

A Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems & Zachary Petit
January 6
I will consider myself successful when…
“Finish this sentence: As a writer, I will consider myself successful when…”

This very questions has crossed my mind so many times over the years. When I was younger I used to think that I will be successful when I have a New York Time No. 1 bestseller. When you dream, you’re supposed to go big, right? No? Well, as time has gone on I’ve discovered how hard it is to just finish a novel. When I say finish I mean a first draft, followed by edit after edits, and with some final spit and polish. This thing should fucking gleam in the sunlight. That way when the agent opens it to read my manuscript they’re immediately blinded and I become their only client.

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a couple years. Only the first though did I actually try and succeed. I even spilled into December and finished it on the 6th. I was so very proud of myself. Now I’ve been pouring over it ever since. I finished that one at the tail end of 2009. Or maybe it was 2010… Regardless I have spent entirely too much time pondering the plot lines and if it’s good enough that I have written myself into a corner and fear taking a step out of it. I imagine that has happened to so many before me. I’m sure it’s what keeps others from even attempting at all. That’s just the nature of the beast and some artists are just not well equipped to handle the pressure that comes with trying to make a business out of their art.

At one time I thought success would be to get a book published. Then I lowered that bar to getting and agent… And at some point I settled for just finishing my book.

The infuriating thing is that I know I can do it. I can finish my book and submit it to agents. There is no doubt in my mind. I have the capability and drive to get me there. It’s just my inner critic, my doubt, my fear, that keeps me stationary.

Once a polished manuscript sits in my hands, only then, will I consider myself successful. It means I have pushed through my worst obstacle, myself.