Here ends one of the least-sleep weeks of my life. No complaints, though. I cycled through my Conceding Grace manuscript four times, one of which was a substantial revision of the first 100 pages. Many thanks to beta readers but most especially to the friend who got on the phone with me and told me what it is, like it is.
And that’s where the feeling behind the title of this post comes in.
I’ve written three full-length novels, filled reams of paper with business writing, and killed a forest with narrative non-fiction. But, especially with the fiction, it’s been entirely a “faking it” journey. I wrote because I had to write, because in my core I am a writer. I don’t pretend I am a good one. I’m trying to “become”… whatever it is I have the potential to be.
Somewhere along the way, excerpts of my writing started attracting some notice — in contests and from agents. Only excerpts, though. On full read-throughs, it was always a big Manuscript Fail.
I kept writing.
Three years after first dipping my toe into fiction, I don’t know whether I am a decent fledgling novelist yet or not. I do know this. I am 50 bajillion times better than I was when I started. And I won’t fulfill my potential — however modest — unless I keep writing. I may write ten novels before the potential gells. I dunno. I only know that if I stop, “it” will stagnate.
I have to write to be a writer.
I took a giant step this week. I reached an understanding of how to rewrite my way out of a problem whose solution has eluded me for three years. As a result, the book is better. Tighter. Tenser. Faster. It’s the best I have done so far. It’s the best I am capable of as of yesterday.
It is not the best I will ever do.
Because three years and three books from now, I will have grown. Every single time I feel like quitting because it isn’t happening fast enough for me, I will have a cry and try again. On days when I have to work my day job, I will rise at 3:00 a.m. , make coffee, and write.
Practice makes perfect. Or, in my case, fake it ’til ya make it.
Now, I am done tooting my own horn. Here’s the unvarnished truth: I have no idea whether sending this book to agents is a waste of time and invitation for more heartbreak. It may still suck. It may always suck. C’est la vie.
It was worth every second I invested in it, this far. It is forevermore a part of my “becoming.”
Have a good week, you guys — and thank you to my friend for flipping on the light switch. I’ve already outlined my next two books with your words in mind.
p.s. I have so many things stored up to write about for the blog, but they’ll just have to wait until my current work on the novels is done. Funny things. But they will just have to wait.