The Story of You

Photo by  Jared Erondu  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash

This week I will complete the final rewrite of my novel, Seeing Red. I started this novel about two years ago. The oldest version I have saved in my archive was dated July 2014. It was 4,500 words and a whopping 18 pages long. It's hard to believe how far I've come. 

Conventional wisdom would tell you that I had no reason to be able to complete a novel. I didn't have years of experience or the credentials that made me worthy. But conventional wisdom didn't know who it was dealing with. I had a dream, as lofty and seemingly impossible as it was, and that's what I held on to. 

I had no idea the crazy, winding journey, writing this book would take me on. 

There were days when the story unfolded easily. It was as if the characters were leading me where they wanted to go. Those were the days the words came without effort, flowing freely from my fingertips. Those were the days when I felt more like a passenger being driven by the story itself. Those were the happy, joyful days of writing. 

Then there were the days, weeks even, when I struggled to write a single paragraph. The times I started down one path, only to find a dead end. The times I wondered why I ever typed that first word. Those were the times that tested me. 

The little voice in my head would tell me it was okay if I quit. That no one believed I could do it anyway. That I had done enough and maybe I should watch TV instead. But I knew that was just my fear trying to protect me. Protect me from disappointment, from failure, from embarrassment. I chose not to listen. I put my head down and just kept going. 

So here I am. I'm preparing myself for the uncertain and scary prospect of seeking publication. But just as always, I will take one small step at a time. I'll acknowledge the fear but I won't let it stop me from reaching my goal. 

I knew I would feel a sense of accomplishment when I got to this point. What took me by surprise was my sadness. Riley and Collin aren’t just my main characters in Seeing Red. They aren’t just two dimensional. To me they became real, and if I’ve done my job correctly, they will become real to my readers. I'll miss them. But I want more than anything to let their story live in the imagination of others, and to do that, I have to let go. 

Through writing Riley and Collin’s story I learned a lot about myself. I didn't know at the time, but writing their story helped me write another. It's the story of Darci. The writer who had so many reasons to fail but she refused to give up. The writer who was scared, all along the way, but faced down her fears and persevered. The writer who won't give up until all the stories inside her have been written.

Don't let the world tell you who you are.  Pick up a pen, or a lump of clay, or a camera, and write the story no one else can write - write the story of you.