There are days where I am absolutely overwhelmed by my writing dream.
Manuscripts, revisions, rewrites, query letters, pitches, critiques, revisions, rewrites, agents, writing conferences, editors, publishing houses, and did I mention I still haven’t finished the first draft?
But if this little WIP project of mine has taught me anything it is: to take a deep breath – and not obsess about the what ifs of tomorrow and focus on the cursor blinking in front of me right now. Even as my brain spins out in a million different directions, anxiously preoccupied with all the things I should be doing in preparation of sending out query letters, there is a little voice in my head that tells me to calm down and stay focused on simply finishing the manuscript. That if I stay true to what I am writing somehow it will all work itself out.
What are writers if not the ultimate optimists? We have this incredible capability to believe feverishly that somewhere out there will like our work. And we will open ourselves to critique and remodel what we wrote and obsess about the details and form of our work, all on the hope that someone will read it and connect with it.
And that is why we spend hours wondering about manuscripts, revisions, rewrites, query letters, pitches, critiques, revisions, rewrites, agents, writing conferences, editors, publishing houses, and did I mention I still haven’t finished the first draft?
There is so much information out there about writing, so many blogs and twitter accounts. Traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Agent vs. editor. Pitch vs. query letter. Build your platform, research the agents you want, practice your pitch, show don’t tell… ARGHHHHHHHH!!!
And when it all seems to be too much, I remind myself: patience, grasshopper, patience. Because, there is no use fretting about all the steps that come next if you don’t finish the damn first draft!
At the end of the day, it is really simple.
The only thing that matters is what you have written and the conviction that you have in your writing. Perseverance and determination. The only thing that truly stands in my way is me, at least at the moment. The rest is a worry for another day. Amongst all the neuroses of writing there is the some zen in writing – today all you have to do is write. Sort of like eating an elephant at a bite at a time, except you do it one letter at a time.
So finish the damn first draft already!