My manuscript is complete, and has been sent out to beta readers.
I am under no illusions that my work is done and finished; I’m positive that there will be many more changes to be made, plot lines to improve, and characters to kill. Sending my ‘baby’ out into the world is terrifying. I wonder if people will like it; if they will think I’m a complete weirdo for writing it. (If they don’t already think that when they meet me!) Mostly, I am eager for the commentary and criticism.
I know I’m a reasonably good writer. It’s not a bad or wrong thing to say that either. It doesn’t make me cocky or arrogant; I am allowed to acknowledge my achievements, just as I encourage absolutely everyone I know to celebrate theirs. It seems like such an act of rebellion; being fully secure in yourself. I know I would never have written this book if I hadn’t stopped thinking that I needed to apologise for being creative. Allowing myself to be crippled by imposter syndrome. Always asking for permission.
I’ve already published three non-fiction books. Logic dictates that I must, at least, have some talent. However, I know I am not the best I can be. The best I hopefully will be if I learn and improve. I can do that by listening to what my readers tell me; listening to and reading other writers; and by learning as much as I can about the craft of story-telling. By accepting that sometimes I will fail, and I will get back up, and I will try again.
When I began writing this book, I was a different person.
The process has taught me so much. Writing is my therapy. Even when it is not always bringing me joy, it gives me goals and targets, and I thrive on it. My depression and anxiety demons are held at bay. I can contain them on the page.
I’ll always say, first and foremost, that I didn’t write this collection for anyone else. I wrote it for me. I needed to write it. I am not about to embark on a great career as an author, but this is a stepping stone to other things. It proves to others, and to myself, that I am capable of putting the hours in; of seeing a project from concept to completion. I can shovel the sand to make sandcastles. I can write my 2,000 words a day. Whatever anyone else thinks of my work, I did it. I’m proud of it.
As a reminder, to my readers and to myself: if you don’t even try, it’s an automatic tick in your ‘loss’ column. Just write your damn story.