Let me admit something – It took me 7,000 years (or so it felt) to finish a novel because I was afraid. So so afraid. What if it wasn’t good? What if it didn’t live up to other books? What if people hated it? Hated me? What if I start to doubt myself? Doubt my story? It was all there. Every fear bubbled inside me for days, weeks, years. Every book I’d start, I’d look at and think “oh, well this sucks,” and then scrap it for something new. Or, I’d like a part and keep re-writing it until I thought it was perfect. But it was never perfect because I had such high expectations. Let’s be honest, I’ll never be the next Bronte, the next Fitzgerald, the next Twain.
As a writer, my degree in literature kind of set me up for failure.
But thanks to NaNoWriMo, I blocked out that fear and kept going. I knew what I was writing wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t care. I barreled through, writing page after page. I knew at the end there would be the big boss, like in every video game, and I knew I’d have to punch my way to the finish line, but I was ready. Because in that month, I finally believed in myself. I believed that, even if the book never sells, even if it sits on my computer for all of eternity, as long as it was finished, I won.
I’m starting this year without fear. I’m editing madly, making the book as clean as I can. I’m stomping all over fear and toasting to my accomplishment. Because I did win. I completed my ultimate goal.
I read the article “25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing” this morning and one part stood out to me:
But being a writer is nothing worthy of fear. It’s worthy of praise. And triumph. And fireworks. And shotguns. And a box of wine. So shove fear aside — let fear be gnawed upon by escalators and tigers. Step up to the plate. Let this be your year.
And so I shall. I’m diving head first into this year, not worrying about the sharks that may be swimming around in the water. I’m going to make mistakes, and learn from each one. Because with each mistake, or each victory, it means I’m trying. It means I’m actually doing something, and that, for once, I’m not afraid. I’m not hesitating and wondering what may be waiting around the next bend. I’m running forward with my chin up and eyes open. And I’m ready for anything.
And I hope you are, too.
Let’s do this thing.