This morning in the mail, I received a lovely “Phoenix Rising” Notebook from the Florida West Coast Writers to celebrate my placing first in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category of their contest for unpublished work. I’d submitted the first 4500 words of my novel for adults, Missed Cue, and was thrilled the judges liked it.
Sharing our work as writers, whether submitting to a contest, editor, or an agent, reminds me a lot of my days as a concert dancer. It’s risk-taking behavior. We share so much of ourselves when we put ourselves and our work out there. If we’re fortunate, our writing will resonate with some readers. But our work will never connect with everyone, and rejection is an inevitable part of the business.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this because on July 5, I’ll be sending my fourth young adult novel, Deadly Setup, into the world. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent hours reading and re-reading the PDF and then the print galley to make corrections. I find myself going through several stages of how I feel about the novel:
- Hmmm, this isn’t too bad.
- OMG, this is awful. Whatever made me think I could write?
- Well, I guess it’s not totally terrible.
- That one scene did bring me to tears.
- Nothing to do but correct the typos and accept that my novel will never be perfect but…
I admit it. I’m not the world’s most confident writer. But as I speak with other authors, I realize I’m hardly alone in feeling anxious about my work. And that gorgeous “Phoenix Rising” Notebook I received? I finger it and wonder if I’ll ever dare to use it. It seems too beautiful for my random scribblings and ideas. Then again, those messy random scribblings are a part of my process. They matter.
I tell myself for my next project, I’m going to use this gorgeous journal. After all, the note from Florida West Coast Writers said it was “to inspire” my writing journey.
Consider me “inspired.” And grateful to be doing work I love—even if sharing it does feel a bit scary!