Saturday, November 23, 2013

Anxious Certainty. It's a Real Condition.

I read an article yesterday in which some very established writers shared their experiences publishing their first books. Across the board, the same things came up over and over:
- Many of them had no clue what they were doing, and are astonished by how very much they DID NOT KNOW.
- All of them were plagued by serious doubts, while at the same time never wavering from the certainty that they would publish a book.

I ping pong between doubt and certainty on a daily basis.  Sometimes hourly. I careen from "What the hell am I doing?" to "This is going to happen. I know it." It's like some kind of writer's bipolar disorder. But after reading that article, I realize I'm afflicted with a very common condition that will resolve itself with diet, exercise, and endless rewrites. 

I feel hopeful. (Right now. Check back in an hour and you might find something drastically different.) I managed to cut my manuscript down to 102,000 words. It's filled with people who are so real to me, I often forget they don't actually exist. A year ago, they didn't. I will spend the next few weeks letting them stand on their own out in the world, waiting to see if I've done my job bringing them to life. 

The miraculous thing about writing is that anything can be rewritten and revised. Unlike life, my characters get unlimited do-overs. 

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