This could be me

I first discovered the brilliant genius of Debbie Ohi during NaNoWriMo while I enjoyed her art in the daily comics released in conjunction with the challenge. I love her artwork. It’s charmingly simple, yet so full of character. It appears so effortlessly easy, though I know it’s not.

Nothing that seems effortless really is. It takes a lot of work to make something look like it’s easy to pull off.

Now that I’ve given myself permission to  walk in this race known as The WIP, I’ve contemplated this odd journey I’ve taken thus far as a writer and why I’m consumed with so much self-doubt.

It’s not that I think I’m undeserving or that I’m really a terrible writer. I know better than that. I absolutely love WTRPCPSU, and not just because I wrote it. It’s a book that I could probably reread several times and still get giddily caught up in the lives of the characters. It’s just that much cooler that I created them!

It’s more that, as much as I enjoy the story, when I read it, I can still find things that need tweaking, things that I need to fix, things that aren’t exactly right. (And it is for this reason that I am so glad that I have Julia to help me make it better.)

Am I this neurotic because I didn’t spend years (or even months) in the querying trenches? Would files of rejection letters make me a more confident writer? Does the fact that I don’t have completed manuscripts languishing in a hidden drawer mean that I’m really not worthy? Or am I just lucky for having read as widely as I tend to, juxtaposing the works of Leo Tolstoy and Alexandre Dumas with that of Lisi Harrison and Ally Carter? (I actually do this, by the way. A couple of years ago, I read War and Peace just before I began All Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, and I followed that up with The Count of Monte Cristo and, later, Alphas by Lisi Harrison. It gave me an appreciation for the unique voices.)

Whatever the reason may be, I could have just as easily become one (of many) writers afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Editing Disorder. But as luck (or fortune, or perhaps fate) would have it, I took a chance and entered a contest on a whim. Ready or not (okay, it was mostly ready), I put myself out there.

And the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

I’m not finished with WTRPCPSU – not by a long shot. Julia will give her input for revisions and edits (two very different things) before she submits it herself, and once it’s acquired, I’ll be tweaking it even more.

But the lesson I learned? At the very beginning of this journey, sometimes “good enough” really is. (And it’s okay to let go.)

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4 comments

  1. tracycembor

    The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is my favorite book ever. He does have a unique voice.

    Maybe I’ll finish editing my novel soon. One day. No, I’m not a vampire. I just don’t get out in the sun much anymore. No, I don’t think I have a problem. Just needs a few more revisions. Why do you ask? 😉

    • E.M.

      There are a few pitch contests going on that I learned about on Twitter, and they’re incredibly popular right now for both authors looking for agents and agents looking for clients. If you decide to do one of these, the application deadline is a good line to draw in the sand and force your inner editor to accept it for what it is.

      And too much sun is bad for you, anyway. =)

      • E.M.

        I found out through Twitter. I know lots of people are wary of social media, but Twitter’s a great way to “meet” agents (or read what they have to say, anyway), and lots of different agents tweet agently advice on submissions, queries, etc.

        You’ll find a pretty friendly group of writers there. It’s amazing =)

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