Saturday, August 18, 2012
Brave New World
Two years ago this summer, I finished the first draft of my manuscript. I remember walking around in a light-headed daze, a stupid smile on my face--I'd just written an enire novel. Surely that made me the smartest person alive. Or at least the most talented, right? After a a day or so, reality seeped back in. Yes, I was a genius. Yes, I was talented, but... what was I going to do with it? Set it on fire? Run it through the shredder and make confetti? Wait... I know! I'll have it published!
I was so dumb back then.
When I think of this journey I'm on, I can't help but remember the time I was 6 or 7 and I was spending the weekend at my dad's house, which was in the South Mountain foot hills. My step-brothers and I got this crazy idea we were going to walk to the base of the big mountain behind our house. Don't ask me why, but it was something we all wanted to do.
It looked close, no more than a mile or two--we'd be there and back by lunch time. We started walking. And walking. And then we walked some more. The sun, behind us in the beginning, crept slowly overhead until it was in our faces--staring us down, as if daring us to take another step.
We just kept walking.
Eventually the sun began to dip behind the mountain we were walking toward and that's when I realized we were never going to get there. The mountain looked close because that's how we wanted to see it. We'd wanted it so badly that we'd fooled ourselves into believing that it'd be an easy thing to do. We turned around and headed home, making it back just before dinner... and we never tried to walk to that mountain again.
I feel like I've been walking forever... I know that two years is nothing compared to the time and talent that so many other people have spent on this crazy quest so many of us have decided to undertake:
The Quest for Publication.
But I'm not on their journey--I'm on mine--and I can tell you that these last two years have both flown and dragged. Have been some of the best and worst in my life. Some of the happiest and saddest. I've met and made so many wonderful friends--fellow writers and people who may not write, but believe in my work. And I've lost a few of those who didn't want to follow me to the places I was going. I learned so much about the person that I am and have finally started to realize the person I want to be.
I want to be fearless. Truly fearless... to do that, I have to face my biggest fear.
I'm afraid to fail. And being afraid to fail means being afraid to try...
Two years ago, I made the decision that I was going to make publication my goal. That meant that I'd have to try and in doing so, risk failing at something I loved. I waffled. Setting it on fire started looking like a viable option. Then this little voice in the back of my mind said, "but then you'll never know..." and it was right. If I didn't try, I'd never know if I was good enough. Suddenly, the fear of not knowing seemed bigger than any other. Failure still terrifies me, but in my writing, I've finally found something that's worth the risk.
I started walking. I'm still walking... and this time, I'm not turning back.