Only those closest to me know that I have written a novel. I wrote the first chapter before I had any children, or even a husband. It sat in the documents of an old tablet device along with a few others. A few years ago, I picked it up and was inspired to finish it. I did so over a number months, mostly over the summer between school terms. A school district takeover left me without a job and I was unsure if there would be another position waiting for me in the fall, so in essence I had nothing to lose. A huge "What if?" circled around in my head as I built a universe, fell in love with characters, and thickened the plot every day while my son was napping. I read it out loud to my husband each night before we went to bed, and my confidence grew with each chapter. This book is going to be amazing! I thought every minute or so. I'll retire early as we always planned, then I'll get big comfy sweaters and fifteen tea cups so I can never run out, and I'll watch the sunset over something beautiful while I let my fingers dance over a keyboard. Even better, someone will want to turn it into a Netflix original series or a Prime Movie and I'll be set for life. That happens. I read about it. Yes, I knew this was a fantasy, but who cares? Shouldn't I live in a fantasy every now and then? It's not like I drink or use drugs; I have to spice up life somehow.
Well, obviously, after months and months of waiting I received a
rejection letter from my chosen publisher (yes, that's singular). This rejection was based on the first three chapters of the manuscript and a synopsis. It seems obvious to me now, but those first three chapters were not my best and having to create a synopsis in 300 words was really difficult for me. I was not surprised, yet at the same time I was crushed. How on Earth would I make it better? A thousand questions hit me and no answers came with them. There was no way for me to know what I had done wrong. The only feedback came from my husband, who pretended to listen while playing video games, and a trusted friend who only saw my very first draft, gave me pointers, then admitted he didn't read much since it wasn't his genre. He guided me away from exposition and helped with a few other structural things which I improved before even submitting the manuscript. I picked up a few self-editing books at the library and promptly became too busy and too overwhelmed to know what to tackle first.
Three times I have tried to revisit the manuscript and have even written three alternate beginnings. I played with rewriting the same plot but changing from first person to third person and each time I make it less than 20 pages and stop. I simply don't have the feedback I need because I haven't sought it. I don't trust anyone enough to give it. Can I handle the critique from loved ones? Do they even know what they are talking about? Will they tell the truth? Will they try to psychoanalyze me based on what I wrote? So much insecurity, and it stops now.
Give up, I will not! Because after all, "Do. Or do not. There is no try." Although my husband hates this quote from Yoda, it has always been my favorite. I get it, it speaks to me. I will do this, I will work for my dream. The only alternative is that I do not work for it.
I established Tea, Sigh, Create so that I could Do. Write, I will. Create, I will. Succeed, I will, because my dream is to be a writer. Being published is simply a possible reward. Inspiring readers is an even greater one. Do.
Thanks for visiting. Please be safe, and stay home. I think I'll have a cup of tea!