As those that follow me on Twitter know, I'm in the Mire of Edits right now. Irritatingly, I've come to a point on all four of my current potential wips where I am stuck, for some reason or another. The only one for which I can see a clear way ahead is Hunter Hunted, the tiger novella, on which I am doing Holly Lisle's How To Revise Your Novel course.
Although I've made many attempts before, if I finish it, this will be the first time I've edited something longer than a short story; cheer-worthy, certainly, especially because I can see already how much better this story will be because of the edits - but also terrifying. Because the step after editing is submitting. Because actually editing something indicates that you plan to Do Something With It, whatever that something might be. It means you're serious.
Why is that scary? Because only serious people get rejected. If you're not serious, you can also fall back on that as the excuse for the rejection; Oh well, I didn't really try anyway. But of course, you can't succeed if you're not serious. You have to try if you want to win.
Thankfully, writing is very different in our day and age to what it once was; writing groups abound both online and in Real Life, making it easy to connect to other people that share your dreams, your fears, and your woes. Misery loves company, after all ;)
Nothing beats having a friend who's also a writer, who's at the same place you are, and who is determined to drag you on during your bad times, and who you drag one during their bad times. In an article I wrote for EdNoWriMo this year, I called these friends your Train-Proof Suits; the ones who protect you from the fear induced by the light at the end of the tunnel - because from this distance, trains and angels (or whatever the light is supposed to be) look identical.
This is part of what I sent to my Train-Proof Suit, Liana Brooks, yesterday:
It's just like all of a sudden I'm on the brink of being in a really new place with writing, one big step closer to professional - and I'm scared. I mean, this is what I want, it really is - but rejection is scary. Not doing means I can always sit here and think, 'Yes, I could have done that!' Doing means risking the chance that I'll die from rejection overload, and that I'll fail with a finality that can't be denied, and, and, and...
Nothing will solve this except me doing. So, I just need to do. One step at a time. And forget the scary eventual end of editing this novella, which is submitting for publication.
And this is her fantastic response:
It's going to be fine. We're going to get these stories sorted, polished, and sent off. The first one is the hardest, because you don't know what it will be like... Kinda like being pregnant I guess. Once you've started, you know it has to end. But the possibility of pain is scary and terrible and you wish you could stay pregnant forever. Until week 32 when you're ready to risk a preemie just to be done with the pregnancy. Going early is just as fatal with books as it is with children. And no one can stay pregnant forever.
*deep breath* *squeezes your hand* I'm right there with you. We'll do it. Together. It's going to be fine. Big smiles.
Big smiles indeed :) That is why you need your Suit, someone who's in it with you to the bitter end.
So to everyone out there who acts as a Suit for someone else: Thank you. You mean more than you'll ever know to the person you're Suiting for; they couldn't do it without you. Thank you.