This month marks the anniversary of my first ever finished “novel.” And every year around this time, I like to reflect.
So, I’ve come to the realization that I do not have time to get feedback on “Legion” before Pitch Wars – especially considering the fact that I’ve barely started editing and by barely, I mean, I’ve read over one short paragraph. I also decided to start with Chapter Nine instead of Fourteen, just because. And I don’t feel bad for taking a break. The brain needed some rest and we (the brain and I) wanted to catch up on some shows and knock a book out before we got wrapped up in editing. Also, I’m not going to stress myself out for Pitch Wars. I’ll enter whether my story is polished or not, because let’s face it, this story isn’t crap or I wouldn’t still be messing with it. And not to sound too crazy, but really, if my first draft is crap, I burn it. Because that’s what you do with crap. You burn it. And leave it on a neighbor’s doorstep. You know the one who looked at your crossed-eyed that one time… 😉
Now, I may still ask for feedback, after all, I have no reason to believe that I’ll actually get into Pitch Wars. So, I plan on doing what I can until then and then maybe asking for a second set of eyes when it’s over before I query the stupid thing, God help me.
But I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to go into the query trenches. I don’t have to submit to contests. I don’t even have to edit, if I don’t want to. In fact, I don’t even have to finish my stories. Because none of it matters. Like Elizabeth Gilbert said in BIG MAGIC (paraphrased, of course), no one gives a crap about my writing but me. It’s only special to me. It only matters to me. All the feedback and writing books in the world can’t make me a great writer. I have to make me a great writer. I’m the only one who cares.
There’s freedom in that. Because I don’t have to impress anyone but myself. I don’t have to care what anyone thinks but myself. And it doesn’t matter that no one else cares as much as I do. I care.
And you know what else, I don’t care if my main character comes off as snotty, bitchy, crazy, or psychotic. I don’t care if my love interest (if I have one) is kind of sleazy and slutty and dripping evil from every pore. They are freaking interesting! And I’m a freaking good writer. Sometimes, I’m even great. And you know, I didn’t get to where I am by caring what anyone thinks. I’ve certainly never written anything I’m proud of that way.
So…I may be ranting. But I just read this book, BITE SOMEBODY, and the main character was SO WEIRD. And the love interest was SO WEIRD. Capital WEIRD, the both of them. And the main character’s best friend was borderline insane. And I loved it!! And I didn’t judge the characters. I just let them be themselves, and I took myself along for the ride because Sara Dobie Bauer (author of said book) is amazing!! And it was fun. And I had fun.
And it’s books like that and HORNS by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) that remind me of why I love writing and why I love reading. I had honestly forgotten how much I loved to read and how inspiring it can be. That’s how I learned how to write in the first place. That’s how I figured out what I loved to write! I didn’t even know what I loved until I found it!
I got into this serious reading slump a couple of years ago. I thought there was something wrong with me. I was always trying to read, but I was only finishing probably 1% of the books I picked up. Then I got my hands on something I did like. And I realized it wasn’t me, it was what I was reading. Just like with my writing. The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t write anymore, it was what I was writing.
I just want to love what I’m writing. I just want to be happy with my work. So, if I never get published because no one likes my characters and my plots are too crazy, I don’t care. I like my crazy characters and my crazy plots. And I dictate what write. I write because I want to write. I write because I feel whole I write. I don’t write for anyone. I write for myself. If other people want to read it, GREAT!!!! But how I feel about my work is not contingent on someone else wanting to read it. I want to read it.
Quote from my calendar this month: (Malcolm Forbes) “Success follows doing what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful.”
I want “Legion” (or whatever I end up calling it) to get published. I want other people to read it and yell at the story the way I yell at stories when I’m having a good time. 🙂 But if no one cares, I’m going to keep writing anyway. Because I really don’t want to stop. No one can make me stop. I can’t even make myself stop. Of course, I’m not looking forward to getting rejected. I’m crazy but I’m not psychotic. I feel things. But, like I’ve said a few times before, and I’ll say it again – I might as well try. And then I’ll pick myself up again, just like I always do.
On a not so random note: I really want to write a sequel to “Legion.” 😀