I started this blog just after my 29th birthday, about 8 months ago. I had just read Dinner: A Love Story, a gift from my amazing husband, and was so inspired and overwhelmed, I felt like I had to write again. I had to do something. Work was going well, I wasn’t exhausted all the time, and I needed a project. When I started the blog, I didn’t have doubt or fear. I sort of had a plan, but really I was writing for me, but happy for an audience.
Then in November, NaNoWriMo came and suddenly I had written a book. An honest-to-God 50,000 word manuscript about a story I have had in my head for 15 years. I couldn’t believe it. I read it over, I didn’t hate it, and I started to think that maybe I was getting somewhere.
I am not usually the kind of person who sticks with projects. I have ideas and think of creative opportunities, but I almost always talk myself out of them before I start. In the past I’d think of a story idea and before I could even put pen to paper I would have a list of reasons why it was a stupid idea and would never work. I was in my own way until I started writing again last September. Since then, I haven’t really felt that overwhelming doubt. I’ve actually felt like maybe I can do this. Maybe I can keep up this blog (even after a month long absence), maybe I can get my book published.
This week, though, the wall that had been built to keep out that self doubt came crumbling down at my feet. In preparing to hear feedback about the latest draft of my novel, I decided to upload it to my kindle and try and read it as a reader, not as the writer. I know that this is something that was necessary, however, it was also a big problem for me. When I first started it, I did not like it. I was not proud of it. In fact, I was a little (okay, a lot) embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I had thought so highly of myself to think that it was worth other people’s time. I mean, we’ve all had these thoughts, they’re mean and nasty and they’re super hard to dislodge from your brain. Thankfully around chapter 19 I stopped hating it. I cringed less and enjoyed it more. I felt proud that the words I was reading were mine.
I know myself and I know the choice I’m faced with now. Here is the crossroads. This is usually the time that I give up. I let the project fade slowly into the background and feel a hint of guilt when people bring it up to me months later. I let myself off the hook for so many reasons instead of pushing through when it gets hard. This book is only 6 months old. I am only 8 months old as a writer. There is no law that says the book needs to be published this year or I’m a failure. This is a long process and I need to trust it. And trust myself.