Starting off with a little side note today: I have been somewhat inundated at work this week (surprise, surprise!) and haven’t had a chance to catch up on my blog reading. For those of you whose blogs I typically comment on—never fear! You’ll receive some feedback from me this weekend once life has calmed down and I can do some quality reading. Now, on to my post…
The other day I was looking at the giant binder that is my hardcopy of Lightbringer and I had one of those “Oh—” seconds. This started because I was wondering why I hadn’t done much with it since completing the first draft. Instead of diving into re-writes, you see, I chose to avoid the deep end of the pool and swam right to the shallow waters of its sequel, Flip Side.
Why won’t I touch this binder? I wondered. There are a million things that need to be done to it before I can send it out to query…and I really want to send it out to query! What’s wrong with this picture?
When it comes to self-examination, it always takes a bit before the moment of clarity kicks in and explains to me why I’m doing—or not doing—something. The “Oh—” second kicked in when I finally opened the binder and looked at the title page. It says this:
By: Randi Lee
The reason I’m not editing became quite clear then: editing begins a chain of events that I don’t think I’m ready for.
First you write, then you re-write. Sometimes after that you re-write again…and again. You put together a query letter and off goes that letter to an agent. Then—if you’re lucky—the agent asks to read some of what you’ve written.
The agent either likes your work or doesn’t like your work. If the agent likes it, it goes to a publisher. If it goes to a publisher, it gets published. If the agent or publisher doesn’t like it, it’s either time to re-write or time to look elsewhere.
I’ve come to realize that I’m afraid of the ‘doesn’t like it’ part.
This is a strange sensation to me. I send my work out all the time. I get rejections all the time. I don’t take those rejections personally, I just send the work elsewhere and hope it gets picked up. Sometimes it does, other times it doesn’t. Either way, I’m not bothered.
But this time it’s different. The thing about Lightbringer is that it is a story that has been floating around in my head for nine years now. When I was down or angry about something I’d fall back into the world I’d created. If I felt lonely I would sit and jot down notes about the characters or chain of events. I only recently put this story down on paper, but it has been with me longer than most of my friends have. It is a very ingrained part of me, and it has come to a point where that part of me has to be judged.
Naturally, I’m a bit scared. Knowing that this huge piece of me has the potential to get rejected many, many times, I feel that if Lightbringer receives rejection I will lose confidence in something that has been there for me for so long. Will that sense of security go away if it’s given a bad review? If so, what will I do without it?
I don’t know. Rejection might break my confidence. It might be just like every other rejection I’ve received and not bother me at all. The problem is that I am so paralyzed by the fear of the latter that I cannot do the thing I need to do, which is to edit the damn book and get it out there like it deserves.
There’s this little saying about fear that I like to go by: You can either Fear Everything And Run, or Feel Everything And Recover. My motto in life is to never run from what you fear, but to embrace it head on. I suppose this instance is no different.
Despite the fear, I am opening up that binder and giving it its due diligence. I will edit and re-write, I will write and send out query letters and I will accept the rejection that inevitably comes with it. Am I scared as anything to do all of this? You bet I am. But I am going to do it anyway, because it is the thing that—after nine years of dreaming—I need to do.
Don’t give into fear, that’s my message this week. Rejection comes, and sometimes it comes in mass. In this business, it’s something everyone needs to learn how to get over—even me. Good luck conquering your own fear!
Until next time,