My first blog entry! I thought this would be easy. I mean, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions floating around in my head. So I told myself to just dive in.
But I can’t remember the last time I dove into a pool. I typically ease my way into cold water, starting ankle-deep and moving further in one tiny step at a time. When the water reaches my thighs I do some subtle Lamaze breathing. In other words, it takes a while to dunk my head.
That didn’t turn into the most favorable metaphor for how I write.
I hope it’s not—fiction is a lot easier for me. But writing something personal for a blog? This is all new. This looks like a deeper pool.
I enjoy talking to people I don’t know well, but I seldom mention that I write. I know I’ll get this question: “So, what are you writing?” (Which is exactly what I ask other writers!) When I start to answer, my neck warms up, my eyes dart around, and I begin to ramble. I start worrying that my book sounds ridiculous to everyone else’s ears.
But I’ve spent over six years on this book called UNKNOWN HERO that got me my lovely agent. I’ve probably filled four full notebooks (if not more) with brainstorming and research, and I have no idea what draft I’m on. I have written approximately 58, 247 query letter drafts. I have read in my genre, have read how-to books, and have written two other books during this time, too. I have had numerous critique partners and beta readers and I implemented their feedback. I won a contest called Pitch to Publication (#p2p16) in 2016 with UNKNOWN HERO. I’m still revising (and rewriting) this book, and it’s not without its banging-my-head-against-a-wall challenges, but it is a labor of love. In other words, this is my story. I know this story. I know my intentions.
I should be confident enough to talk about it. I have gotten better with practice and I’ll keep trying.
Still, why is it so hard?
Because talking about my writing makes me feel like I’m—sorry for the bad pun—an open book. The novel itself doesn’t feel so exposing; there are too many characters with different voices who never make eye contact with the reader or try to explain what this author here is attempting to say. It’s fiction; I’m hidden.
Yet when I describe the book to other people it’s a new kind of vulnerability. It’s like unzipping my heart and opening it up like a suitcase for everyone to see inside. Gathering the courage to put your art out there is one huge step, but gathering the courage to put the person out there who’s behind the art is another. I can’t imagine I’m the only writer who feels this way.
I guess blog entries don’t have to be too personal. Perhaps I’ll start off simple: I’ll detail all of my favorite crutch words. (I’m averaging fourteen “eyes” per page. It’s a serious issue.) Or I’ll discuss how I overcame a showing versus telling problem*.
I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone and it could be an awkward belly flop. At one point several years ago it was a terrifying leap of faith to interact with other writers on Twitter and enter contests. It was even more terrifying to find beta readers and critique partners, and now I can’t imagine doing any of this without them.
I’m looking forward to writing about writing.
Thanks for reading!
*This hasn’t really happened.