On Thursday morning, I got no calls from the school district and since Friday was a furlough day, I came to the sad realization that I'd get no jobs this week. This was the second week in a row. For all of January, I'd gotten 4 whole days of work. Feeling mildly depressed, I turned to my writing, but I had only two scenes left and plenty of time to write them. I felt distracted. I opened my box containing all the chapters of my novel and started to read.
And I kept reading until dinnertime.
What compelled me forward in my reading was not suspense or a sense of delight, but rather the growing horror that my story was polished and vivid and brilliant... and dense and confusing and boring. It had parts I loved and parts I cringed at. I wanted to edit it all over again and correct its mistakes--but I no longer knew how. My story had become nearly the best I could write it, I had reached the utter limits of my ability... and it still wasn't perfect enough.
That's a scary feeling. When all your potential has been used up to create something real, and then all you can do is wait for judgement to fall. I just kept thinking of my family and friends and all my supporters finally reading the book I'd put ten years of hard work into and wrinkling their brows with a look of What is this? Failure was suddenly real.
On the one hand, I knew what I had to do. Finish the last three chapters. Get an editor. Make my story as clear and as simple as I could make it. And release it onto the world. And that's it. If it's too complex, too long, too dense, too slow, too much... well, that's just how it is. I believe that the actual soul--the story--is good. It's just that it's vessel--my own writing--is a poor thing. And I have to hope that people will accept my work, accept me for what's good, and forgive what's not.
It's Saturday morning. I've finished what needed to be done. My crisis had the courtesy to wait for a week where I had free time. But I'm still left unsettled. Work might dull the edge of my fear, but I'm still looking into an unknown future. I'm coming to the end of my novel. I'm running out of money. Changes are looming ahead and I don't know what to do. Crisis is inevitable, and it will come over and over again. I know this. But somehow, I'm just going to have to keep going.
Hours spent on Draft of Novel #1, Chapter 27: 17.5 (a sloppy 10,800 words written)
Hours spent on Fanfic, Blog, Brainstorming Novel #2, or Editing Stories for Writer's Club: 16
Hours spent Re-reading Novel/ Angsting: 10