I’m afraid of what you’ll think of me.
I want to be honest with you, and promise you I’m not giving up on my book. Just because I haven’t made much progress this past week doesn’t mean I’m quitting for good. I’m not stopping, I’m still writing, I don’t care how slowly my word count goes up.
There’s a lot going on in my professional life this month and it’s okay to take it slow.
But … something else has been on my mind, too. Another book. A book I’ve already written and shelved a single proof copy of.
I don’t want you to think I’m betraying the story I’ve been working on for the past three years. You know I don’t give up easily and am always quick to encourage my followers to finish one project before starting another.
I guess this is a little different. But I wanted to start off telling it like it is, because I’m kind of terrified.
However, I am an aspiring writer just like many of you reading this post. I feel obligated to be open about my struggles of the literary variety because we all have them, and if we don’t talk about them, how will we ever overcome them?
So here’s the deal: I’m opening up an already finished book.
I’m breaking my own rule. I’m returning to a project I already put aside. Some of you don’t care, won’t think twice about it, won’t understand where the worry comes from. Some of you are shaking your monitors/screens/phones/whatever pieces of technology through which you’ve accessed this web page.
Why are you doing this to yourself? Why are you being so stupid?
Because. Because I worked really hard on it, and wrote it without holding myself back, from the deep (dark?) depths of my soul, and all it’s been doing for the past four years is sitting on a shelf in my closet, read by few … but relatively liked by those few. I mean they have to say that, they’re my family and friends. But the book, while not the best story ever written, deserves more than a lifetime on a shelf.
I think I want to give it the chance to do more. I think I’m ready to introduce it to the world.
For years, I’ve wanted to start looking for an agent.
The book is called Queen Bee. It’s the last book I actually wrote from start to finish. It’s also edited, bound and shelved as a proof copy from CreateSpace, which is my self-decided signal for putting a full-length project behind me and moving on. I don’t think it’s the best story out there, but it’s the best book I personally have ever finished. And I think that counts for something.
I wrote it over one summer, between my freshman and sophomore years of college. Once I received the proof and let it sit on my desk for a few weeks, I shelved it to keep it safe and went back to school that August.
I got busy. I added a second major. I forgot about it, sort of. Excuses, excuses. By the time I came home the next summer, I had a new story idea, a new project … the same project I’m still working on today, many revisions later.
One of my goals this year is to finish my current project. It’s still a priority for me. I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo (join me?) and I’m ready to commit to 10,000 words of progress or more. I still love this story and am still dedicating it to my high school creative writing teacher.
As great as small goals are, though, I’m always looking at the big picture. And working with an agent/publishing a book are both on my Bucket List. Yes, I have a lot going on, but that’s the way I like it. That’s when I’m at my best and at my absolute happiest. I’m at the point of my life where anything is possible and no dream is too big. The only thing that can hurt me is never bothering to try.
It’s not going to happen this year, or maybe even next year or the year after that.
A lot of “experts” spend a lot of time talking about query letters and how you shouldn’t get discouraged if no one responds to the first x number you send out. If publishing a book was the only thing I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime, I would probably spend hours writing and emailing letters. I’d be in a constant state of worry when I didn’t hear anything back.
There’s a good reason I added a second major and have other career goals to work toward: I don’t want to depend on an unlikely circumstance to make me feel fulfilled.
For me, if it happens, it happens—if agents don’t like my book, I’m not going to curl up into a ball and forget about all the other things on my Bucket List I want to accomplish. I’m in no rush.
The story is already written and, though I might go back in and do a few touch-ups, it doesn’t need a complete revision overhaul—not yet, anyway. Okay, so it’s not as good as something by J. K. Rowling, but have you ever seen her first drafts? Exactly.
I’m not the most confident writer out there. But I think having a dream is more motivational than having a supersaturation of confidence inside you. I guess, I just don’t want to have to say I never tried.
So I’m trying. I’m getting a book published.
Well. Sort of.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.