Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of über blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh. (click on the link to find a list of all participants)
So, the 'inspiration' behind this post is two-fold. The first came from an A to Z Challenge blog post by fantasy/romance author Susan Gourley/Kelley in which she writes
"I've met writers who work for years on their manuscripts, polishing,
rewriting, getting advice and yet never quite feeling ready to send it
out into the world. They don't seem to want to take the next step and
fight to get their story into the hands of readers."
I might as well have been looking into a damn mirror because I can't think of anything that better describes me than that.
I have worked on Effigy
for years. I have been polishing and rewriting it. The advice part
never seems to work out as well as I hope it might but it's been there
too (kind of) and yet, I never do feel ready to send it out in the
world. Sure, currently there are two big gaping holes in Chapter
Thirteen because there are two new scenes (part of that whole rewriting
thing) I have yet to finish so right now would really be a terrible time
to send Effigy out into the world. The world would end up
thinking that I don't know how to construct a sentence properly. Well, I
don't know— y'all have read this blog long enough. It's quite possible
you already think that.
But anyway, it left me feeling kind of weird. Sad. Depressed, even. I don't like feeling that I'm not fighting for my book.
It got worse later that day when I tuned in to watch a rerun of one of my favorite sitcoms How I Met Your Mother.
It was the season four episode "Mosbius Design" where Ted starts his
own architecture firm and spends most of the episode procrastinating on
calling potential clients. When Robin finally asks him what the hell
he's doing, he responds with, "What if I don't think of the books?" And
then he goes on to explain that some architect somewhere designed a
beautiful library that sank into the ground a little more each year
because the architect forgot to account for the weight of the books
(apparently the library was not filled with eBooks...). This led to
Ted's admission that "the longer I put off starting my own firm, the
longer it can remain a dream and not something I screwed up."
Why could've they have rerun the Robin Sparkles/Slapbet episode? I identify far less with that one.
Hey... look at that. I'm getting sidetracked. The point is, I
guess, that even when (if?) I do finish those two chapter thirteen
scenes and fix the other post it note edits awaiting my attention, and
then fix the ones that'll inevitably pop up after that, chances are I still won't feel ready to put my book out in the world.
I just... I don't want to screw this up. I don't want to screw this up. I don't want to screw this up. I screw a lot of things up; I mean, it's practically an art form at this point but I don't want Effigy to be one of those things. And as long as I keep procrastinating, as long as I keep writing and rewriting, Effigy isn't something I've screwed up. And I love this project too much for it to become something I screwed up.
Yesterday was my In Real Life writers' group and as it was Poetry Month, I shared a poem I'd written
and it was well received by all. One member of the group (the man I
not so affectionately refer to as 'Ego Man') made several unamusing
jokes (at least I assume they were jokes) about how he was going to
steal my work (So. Not. Funny.) but a couple other group members talked
about me becoming a huge success as a writer because clearly I have
talent. I thanked them, of course, because it was really very kind of
them to tell me that but told them I wasn't going for huge success. I'd
be thrilled with a small success. I'd be thrilled with the "someone
who wasn't me nor related to me bought a copy of my novel" success.
But maybe I should've said I'd be thrilled with the "I finally have
the confidence in myself and my work to take the plunge and see what
happens!" success. Because that's probably more where my head's at
So yeah, I am that writer who keeps writing and rewriting and then
does some more rewriting before she rewrites some other stuff but I
don't want to be. I don't want to be that girl who keeps saying "This
year's gonna be the year!" only to have it not be the year (you know,
like I do every year in January when I post my yearly goals) but I
don't know how to be any other girl. Not yet.
But I hope I figure it out soon.