We’re halfway through 2015, guys!
Don’t look at me like that. I don’t control these things.
I’ve been reflecting back on some of the new year’s projects I mentioned in January, and have come to the sad realization that I probably will not finish my novel this year.
It’s not impossible. I mean I do have a more presentable draft that I am more happy with than I have been, ever. But considering the amount of work the whole thing still needs–at least half of the chapters rewritten, and then another 5-6 months of a combined cool-off/editing frenzy period, and it just doesn’t seem likely.
Make that like 6 years running.
This wouldn’t be a huge deal…
- except that I feel tied to this project
- and unwilling to start something new because I feel like I must finish at this point
- and guilty for not writing because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and now I finally have some time (if not the energy) to do it.
Add to that the fact that I’ve been blogging and vlogging about writing as if I know something about it, and I’ve got myself a potent case of imposter syndrome.
I don’t want to get all woe-is-me here because it’s honestly not like that. I’ve been succeeding in other important parts of my life. I’ve been exploring new and old interests like I meant to in early 2015. Making the videos like the one above. Cooking and baking. Keeping in touch with my family. Traveling some. More often staying home. Reading a lot of good books (and really overachieving on my unaggressive Goodreads goal).
I’m not giving up on my novel, but I’m also not missing it much.
Writing is usually a solitary endeavor.
But if you hope to have readers one day, who will be the first? When is your work good enough to share?
I doubt that any piece is ever “good enough,” especially if you ask its writer. You could revise forever–many do, since there’s no progress bar, no flashing neon sign that tells you “THIS IS AS GOOD AS THIS STORY IS GOING TO GET.”
That said, there are few things more nerve-wracking than sharing a draft with someone you admire and respect. Share too soon and you risk a blow to your confidence, and you forfeit your chance to really get the story settled. On the other hand, if you refuse to let others read your work, it will undoubtedly suffer. There comes a point when you are way too close to your story to be able to consider it objectively.
Consult this little guide to make sure you’re good and ready to let others read your writing, and that you’re sharing it for the right reasons:
My favorite Creative Writing professor just agreed to do an independent study with me this summer while I’m on campus taking classes. We’ll grab coffee or sit on the docks by the river once a week and discuss a piece of my writing, probably a chapter, each week.
I find writing to be so much easier when I work toward a deadline, and when I know that someone will be reading my work. I think most writers, regardless of their ages or experience levels, can relate to that.
But a confession: within 24 hours of seeing my summer plans start to unfold the way I hoped they would, I began to get anxious. You see, my ultimate goal is to finish my monstrous work-in-progress, which I’ve literally been working on for YEARS.
An actual photo of my work-in-progress. Terrifying, right?