Today I'm giving a big virtual hug to a blogging buddy of mine. After reading her query on the ever-awesome QueryTracker site, I knew I'd be stupid not to follow her blog. Without further ado, I give you fellow aspiring author/blogger extraordinaire/hilarious Tweeter...
I BECAME A WRITER THE DAY I THREW AWAY MY MANUSCRIPT
Yeah, so I’ve been writing for over two years now. I didn’t always dream of being a writer. I literally fell into it after pulling a dusty, old, hand-written historical fairy tale out from storage and saying, “Aww, what the hell, I’ll give it a go.”
The, “Aww, what the hell,” turned into an obsession. Nights, weekends, holidays, even vacations, I spent some portion of every day writing, thinking about writing, rewriting, agonizing, revising…you know the routine.
But I never really felt like a writer. You know, a serious, this-is-who-I-am-and-nobody-
can-tell-me-differently writer. I had no specific training (I’m a bio major for goodness sake!). I’d never taken writing classes. Everything I learned was either self-taught or told to me by other writers. Somehow, even though I totally saw progress and loved what I created, I still felt like a wannabe or a hack.
I only saw my mistakes. I let them wear me down and strip my confidence. I brushed away compliments because, gosh, every other writer knows this stuff, so there’s nothing special about my work. The negatives outweighed the positives (whether this was actually true or not didn’t matter, it was how I felt), so how could I call myself a writer?
This was my state of mind when, staring at my sixth novel, I thought, “This is it. It’s the best I can do and it’s still a mess. What’s keeping me invested in this? It’s not my career. I have a day job…a very demanding day job. So why keep torturing myself?”
I came *this* close to quitting. Seriously. (I know I’m not the only one who’s had this moment, but man, it sucks with a capital S!)
Times like these always demand a reaching out to friends. So I did. I sent e-mails to two trusted writerly buds: a kick-ass crit partner with fantastic skills, wonderful ideas, and super duper feedback and a writer (soon to be published author) whose work, assertive demeanor, and positive energy I greatly admire.
They pulled me off the ledge.
They also suggested I rewrite the novel, my star, my *best* work ever.
At first I thought, “Naw, I don’t have to do that. It’s still salvageable. I can work it.” Listen, I fought really hard to convince myself of that. Like really hard. But I couldn’t delude myself.
The manuscript had to go.
So (after a sleepless night of angst and agony), I let it go.
But something positive happened then. In that moment, when I took the scary (and I think brave) step of tossing the manuscript, I fully embraced being a writer. Bashing my head against the proverbial wall to get an unfixable manuscript to “work” (when deep down I knew it couldn’t) held me back. It kept me from progressing. Trashing the novel set me free. (Kinda crazy, but metaphorically it works, so go with me on this.)
Now I can say: I. Am. A. Writer.
I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. The road will not be easy. Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I know that being a writer doesn’t just happen one day. It’s a process. It’s a state of being. It’s a lifestyle.
And I had to throw away my manuscript to learn that lesson. But it was *so* worth it.
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist with the aspirations of becoming a published author. She writes urban fantasy, young adult urban fantasy, young adult dystopian, and middle grade adventure. Visit her blog, Diamond, Yup Like the Stone at: http://lbdiamond.wordpress.
Special thanks to Laura for sharing her story with us!!
Now tell me, blogging buddies: are you up to the perseverance challenge? How are those NaNo manuscripts coming along??