I’m sitting here looking at the first draft of my novel.
What I really need to do is start revisions, but I’ve been letting everything else push this work to the bottom of the pile
I’ve been wondering why revising my work seems so hard to get to. When I was banging out my first draft, I didn’t have trouble saying no to other things, but revising – well, that’s been a totally different story (no pun intended).
Sure, you should let the manuscript “rest” (which always reminds me of the directions for cooking a roast), but I really should have started last week.
Instead, I wandered around in a discombobulated fog. And a whole week slipped by, and I didn’t even look at my manuscript. Revising should be easier than getting that first draft down right? So why was I having so much trouble?
The simple answer is I’m afraid. Well, actually, I’m kind of terrified.
While I wrote, I just concentrated on the next scene. When I was stuck or wanted to quit, I just told myself that it didn’t have to be any good. I just had to get it down.
I haven’t actually read the whole story, and I’m terrified it’s awful – unsalvageable. That this dream I’ve carried with me since I was 12 years old, of being an author, isn’t actually possible.
Because I’m not good enough.
Let’s be really honest here. It’s the first draft. Of my first novel. Saying that it isn’t best seller material is probably a vast understatement. It’s going to take work to get it into the best possible shape for my readers.
But that isn’t the type of fear I’m talking about. I’m talking about the fear that I just don’t have the ability to write stories – at all.
So, the question becomes how do you move forward when you are terrified?
Here’s what I’ve found. There is no magical formula that will ever make you feel ready when you are terrified. So, you have to move forward scared.
You take a deep breath.
You pray for courage.
And you start.
I’m reminded of the children of Israel, poised on the banks of the Jordan River. The Promised Land is just on the other side. But between them and their dream is the water, frothing and overspilling its banks.
The priests stare at the raging water. All they have to do is take the first step and God promised He will do the rest. But oh the terror in that first step.
But they did it – and you and I can, too.
So, I’m going to wrap up now because I have some revision to do.
And I better get started.