Last week I pressed the “approve” button for the final edits on my first novel, Black Water Tales: The Secret Keepers, and it was more difficult than I could have ever imagined. Over the past year as I composed the novel I could not wait for the moment to finally be finished, to have completed one of the “biggies” on the bucket list, to be able to say, “I have written a novel, I’m a writer, I have arrived!”
But instead of the triumphant (Rocky music playing in the background) feeling I had envisioned, I felt more like a mother standing at the glass doors of kindergarten, bawling her eyes out as she watches her baby leaving her. It was a bit traumatizing.
There was a fear of losing something that had become so much a part of my everyday life. For so long now, it has just been me… and the book, I have watched it develop, struggled with it, loved it, hated it and finally finished it.
Also, there was the fear of the big reveal. Writing is personal and despite the fact that my novel is fiction, when people read anything that I write, they are getting a look into the personal thoughts of my mind and the feelings of my heart; they are literally reading from the pages of my diary. If you are human, you know the fear of letting people see the real you, with all of your vulnerabilities, insecurities and flaws. One of our biggest fears as human beings is not that we won’t be seen, but that we will be. It’s like stripping in front of a crowd and allowing them to make unencumbered judgments of your nakedness.
What if people hate it? What if I missed a mistake? What if people read the first chapter and think that I’m unimaginative, long winded or just a complete idiot?
One would have to be made of stone not be intimidated, and if made of stone you should try your hand at lawyering or business because you cannot be a writer.
When it is all done, I have done everything right, I have gone through the process of writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing, professional editing, more editing, peer review and the time had finally come for me to let it go, but how?
As I sat there in front of my computer with my mouse hovering over the “approve” button, vacillating with doubt, I remembered something a wise person once told me when it came to making tough decisions, they said, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
I pressed the button.
I realized that the story was complete and that I needed the story more than it needed me anymore and that was a sure sign that it was time for the bittersweet process of moving on.