Two people didn’t want their letters shared, and I don’t blame them because neither did I. They were too personal. That brings us back to eleven. One letter, not requested, I just flat didn’t write because of my own reasons. The others? There weren’t any. I made it voluntary, even changed the rules and said the receiver didn’t have to respond, and there were only eleven letters actually requested.
I’ve learned two things from all this. The post office made a killing in the month of February because of this project and my friends, and family, are just as busy as I am. I also had a freaking BLAST doing it.
So how about finishing up with a letter to myself?
Self, yes, I do remember that desk you wanted.
Yes, it’s covered in dust, cat food, and piles of paper because you haven’t sat down in front of it even once. NOT ONCE. Not even to work on a painting, never mind the MS.
Where are you instead?
Ok, that’s fine, at least you’re sitting at the laptop – it’s a start – and your back isn’t to the wall. Yes, I see that stack of paper to the right. The one under the card reader. That’s your manuscript. You’re forty pages from the end of rewrite number bahzillion. Forty pages! That’s all. So close! What’s that you say?
Shut up. Just shut up, because I don’t want to hear it! Didn’t it already pass one round of beta reading? It’s not shit. Nia wouldn’t LET you write shit and Lex’s beta copy is dog-eared because she reads it over and over and bugs you about book two and a short on Juliet, the zombie. It is not shit. Is it publishable? Will anyone other than Nia and Lex like it? Not for you to say, but it’s not garbage. Your writing does not suck, the fight scene is not too complicated to rewrite, the sex scene is not stupid and you have not wasted ten months working on this thing.
You do not suck.
And quit reading anymore writing advice, you’re officially forbidden. All it does is make you second guess every freaking word on the page and, at this point, does more damage than it’s worth.
You know your not wanting to work on it isn’t really all about the self-doubt bullshit, or even the fear of a synopsis, don’t you? It’s also about the shitty last few months of stress at work that bleeds over into every blessed thing else. Last night you took rubbing alcohol to the new list on your arm that ran from wrist to elbow, kinda like that one, but much, muuuuch longer. You only draw on yourself when you’re overwhelmed, but you did that, erased it, because that list is done, it’s over. Taxes are done, the new koi pond is gonna get built, Bean’s trip to Nola in October is gonna get financed, the crap at work will even out, blah blah blah, and everything will be okay. Just… stop it. And breathe, dammit. You really do have a better handle on it all than you think you do.
Now that you’ve had a lecture on self-doubt and stress, what you most importantly need to remember is that it’s okay not to work on the edits.
~~ What?? What?? ~~
The good thing about a first novel is you’re not on a deadline. Save Deadline Stress Syndrome for when you actually have one. The koi pond? Your babies need a bigger home and you’re going to start working on that this weekend. And it’ll be beautiful and it seems such a wonderful idea to sit out there with the laptop and write while those fish swim lazy circles in their new home.
Get out of the funk you’ve been in for the last five days, dump the stress, quit projecting your stress on the MS, grab up your sizable man-balls, and get back to work.
When you can.
Forty pages. Forty. So close. SO close, so true. But you could still be here. You’re too damned hard on yourself.