Fear stopped by. He arrived a few days after the feedback from my editor. His timing as impeccable as Maggie Smith’s, only I’m not laughing.
He just barged in. No mask. Didn’t even attempt to social distance. I gave him the cold shoulder but he’s refused to leave.
I thought his appearance was connected to the story waiting in the wings. His mission: to convince me not to write historical fiction. It’s not an unreasonable request. If it’s taken me eighteen years to write a contemporary story, how long will an historical take— thirty-six? Do I even have twenty years left? Seriously? I never used to have this kind of thought— thanks Covid-19.
Still, I couldn’t be mad at Fear for wanting to save me the agony of learning a new skillset when I’ve only just begun to use my toolbox skills effectively. And so, I considered the possibility that the historical novel idea was nothing more than a form of avoidance. Perhaps there was a better story within me eager to awake.
Hello, Avoidance— the action of keeping away from or not doing something.
Like the final round of edits to Kaitlyn’s story. The part where I need to exorcise a novella from the manuscript so the Query process can begin.
But why the fear? Based on the feedback I’ve already deleted over 10,000 words, only 28,487 to go. That’s a skip in the park compared to the agonizing months it took to uncover Kaitlyn’s visceral life. The hard part is done. So, what’s up with the fear, Fear?
Hello, Hello, anybody home? Hey, think, McFly, think. Once the manuscript is lean and clean, the Query process begins. A process you have no control over. Success is possible, but Rejection is inevitable.
Jump back— to 2010 when I received the 46th rejection for Kaitlyn’s story, which was at the time called The Blonde on the Inside. The title was a hit. The story was consistently DOA.
Flash forward— to the end of 2019, when 27 rejections pushed me to the fork in the road where I was either going to bury Kaitlyn’s story for good, or do the one thing I hadn’t done. Hire a developmental editor. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s oh, so clear now. When I chose the editor fork, I chose to believe in my ability to write a compelling story.
And I did. I have an editor who will second the notion. And that makes me think about something Colson Whitehead said during his interview on 60 Minutes.
I’m a human being…If it’s true for me, it must be true for at least one other person. And if there’s one person, there’s a dozen, and then why not a thousand.
I’m not Colson Whitehead, but my story’s truth has already resonated with one other person. Sounds like it’s time to ask Fear to leave and get back to the page.