Releasing Fear, I Caught Stars in my Hands

I have been working on my novel for 12 years.  For so long, I thought it was just ten.  I started it when my daughter was an itty-bitty child, though…which was…12 years ago.

Over a decade of writing.  Over a decade of dreaming and thinking and character planning and writing in my head and writing on scraps of paper at church when I should have been listening to my minister.

I have so many drafts of the novel, I sometimes have a hard time knowing which is which, even if I did name the drafts by the years.  I am not a meticulous draft keeper.  I am not someone who renames the file every time I make a change.  I just save it over the original file and continue with my business.

I am ready.  I will be submitting in 36 hours.  I finished writing two days ago.  I edited a hundred pages last night.  I have edited another 70 so far…might make another hundred tonight.  If I do, great.  If I don’t.  I’m not that worried.  I read and checked my way through these pages just recently.  They will last.

I have a couple of chapters that might be cut.  For now, I am keeping them.  I learned this weekend from agents and editors that it’s easier to cut than to build.  I’d rather build.  But I’ll do both.

I’ve been holding on to dreams of publication for over 30 years.  I started writing when I was six.  I wrote a book about squirrels having a picnic.  Definite future best seller.  Then, my father really encouraged me to write when I was 13.  I have been writing for 34 years since then.

I swear, syllables make more sense than numbers.  I understand the emotionality behind words.  I love the sounds of words.  I love the scent of books.  I love how a good pen feels in my fingers.  I love ink and type set and serifs.  I love the weight of a good book in my hands and how it feels when I let it fall against my chest because I’m trying to hug the characters or the words or everything.  I just love…

I dream of walking into a bookstore and seeing my novel, my baby there on the shelves.

I’m not done yet.  I have promised myself that I will query 100 agents.  After the writers’ conference this last weekend, I know that to do anything else is to give up prematurely.  I have already been rejected seven times.  Those numbers no longer count.  I am at the beginning and am ready to jump into the world with open hands and eyes ready to take in everything.

For the last week, I feel like God has been thumping me on the head.  I am afraid of looking for signs. I’m a writer and an English teacher. I naturally look for deeper meaning in anything and everything.

When I was at the writers’ conference, I kept on seeing people with my characters’ names.  I kept on seeing or experiencing things that were associated with my novel.

The night I finished writing, I saw a shooting star collapsing from the heavens and nestling its way to Earth.

If you had asked me several hours ago to list for you all the things I have seen or experienced that felt like God was saying, “You got this, kid,” I could have listed them off for you on my fingers and toes.  Right now, I am trying to keep my head up because I am so tired.

I am so ready.

I am so tired.

Tomorrow, I will continue to read and edit.  Tomorrow, I will write my pitch.

36 hours from now, I will try again.  The world is mine.  I will not be defeated.

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