When it comes time to trust
What you've done is enough
“You cannot sit and stare at your wounds forever,” only it’s “you cannot revise your book forever,” only it’s “there comes a time when you have to trust that what you’ve done is enough.”
I finished my revision last week. Part of me thought I would never actually get to this point. It seemed impossible, like climbing Mount Everest in a wheelchair is impossible. Strictly speaking, you could probably pay an exorbitant amount of money to be the first wheelchair user to climb a mountain, but unless you’re passionate about feats of physical prowess, it likely wouldn’t be worth the effort. Would I finish revisions? Sure, so long as I kept working at it. But the thought of finishing — of sending my book to readers with the confidence of someone who had achieved a milestone — seemed insurmountable.
But I did it. Somehow, inexplicably, despite the multitude of body issues I’ve been dealing with for the better part of a month. All that’s left is for my critique partners to work their magic.
I wish I could say I’ve been working my ass off the past few months. But I’ve been dragging my feet. Procrastinating. Coming up with reasons not to put my whole self into finishing this book — marketability, ableism in the industry, the probability of my getting published. I was scared of putting all my time and energy into something that might not work out, so I chose the path of least resistance. I didn’t stop working. I just… stopped trying so hard.
I’m not ready to query. But I’m damn close. If all goes according to plan, I’ll have one last round of line edits, and then I’m done. No more fiddling with character arcs. No more agonizing over paragraphs that just won’t come together. My book will be in someone else’s hands, which is terrifying and exhilarating and more than a little nauseating. What do you mean I can’t ensure my own success? What do you mean I have to make peace with my innate vulnerability?
It’s strange to think that two years ago, I was querying WANING CRESCENT. For all the work I put into that manuscript, I wasn’t particularly precious about it. I lobbed that book at agents like it was natural, like I was meant to seek creative validity from an external source. I was anxious about it, sure, but there was none of the hand-wringing stagnancy that I’m dealing with now.
I’m much more precious about THE SAINT AND THE SPIDER. And I probably shouldn’t be. The odds of me getting an agent, while higher than it was two years ago, are still pretty low. I’m optimistic, but at the end of the day, to be a writer is to accept the fact that some stories will only ever be for yourself.
But I cannot sit and stare at this book forever. I have to let it go. To practice detachment, or whatever it is the cool kids say. What will be will be. All I can is open myself as a channel for whatever comes next.
I hope it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. It might not be. But therein lies the magic.
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