Monday, January 30, 2012
Two Years On
I've wanted to be a writer since I knew what a writer was. That said, for most of my twenties, I packed the dream up and put it on a shelf. I wasn't interested in going after the dream, because it felt silly. Also, because I felt there was no way I could handle the stress of being published, and being "out there".
Well, two years ago, that all changed. It's almost as if my fairy godmother visited me overnight and whacked me upside the head with her magic wand. I changed everything about my writing process. Before, I would only want to have one draft. I would agonize over one chapter until ever sentence was perfect, and once it was done, I could finally move on. I also had a horrible time with others reading my work. I remember sitting in a college English class, and being paired up to critique each other's work. My partner said my story was amazing, and went on for a couple minutes, and then added on one thing he didn't like. You can bet I only remember the one thing he didn't like. If I couldn't handle that sort of criticism, how could I handle thousands of people reading my book?
But two years ago, I had a really good idea for a book, and while that book will never be published, it was the one that changed everything. I spent most of 2010 practicing, 2011 growing as a writer, and learning to take criticism from my first readers.
I didn't get the answer to everything overnight. I know I will still have a hard time being out there, for my name being a subject of Google searches, and my book the subject of reviews. That said, I continue to learn, from authors that have already achieved my dream. I'm strong enough to take it. Two years ago, I might not have realized that.
Not all writers need this time. Some can write a manuscript in two months, revise it in another three, query and get published all in a small amount of time. That's great for them, but not for me. I needed the time to work on my craft, but more importantly, work on building up the toughness of my skin. Prepare to understand that when people point out flaws in my work, it's to help, not hurt, and ultimately, that rejection won't kill me.
It's a long journey, and I'm not there, but a hell of a lot closer than I was two years ago.
How long have you been working to get published?