Monday, August 27, 2012

Cat in the Headlights

This is the week that I finalize my short story for the contest.  It is the week that I start working on a pitch for an article that will bring in more freelance funds.  This is the week I am giving up soda.  It is the week that I finally get back to the novel and see how much closer to done I can bring it.  This is the week with two Back to School Nights spread over two days. It is the week before a long weekend, which means the day job gets even busier.  This is the week I decided to start getting back in shape so that my blood pressure (hopefully) goes down (and why, why does even typing those words make me immediately crave a honey bun?).


This week has me feeling like a
Cat in the Headlights!
This week is already kicking my butt.

(I will let you know on Friday how it all turns out.)

I do want to thank all of the beta readers that so generously volunteered their time and experience to help make my story stronger.  No two readers read it exactly the same way, and everyone noticed different things that they either liked or that could stand to be tweaked.  Their input made the story stronger.  I will find out mid-September if all our hard work paid off for this particular contest.  But if not, I think I will try to find a good home for this story, because I have grown quite attached to it.  (Geez, this makes the story sound like a stray kitten.)

One thing that this entire journey has shown me is that the hardest thing about writing (other than the actual writing) is that it pits my greatest desire and my greatest fear against each other.  You see, I really, really want to share my stories with the world and have them be read and appreciated; I am also terrified about sharing my stories with the world and having them read and judged....

But, I decided a while back that my fortieth year is to be The Year of Doing.  And, as such, I am pushing ahead.  There will always be people who don't care for a story.  Perhaps it isn't their preferred genre.  Maybe it touches a nerve.  Maybe it is too flowery for them...or to stark.

But then...then, if you are lucky...you find someone who is genuinely affected by your words.  Someone who takes the time to actually TELL you that your story moved them in some way.  Then it is all worthwhile.  A writer can live off that kind of thing for YEARS.  When the bad reviews sprinkle in, those are the moments that sustain them.  So I treasure every bit of encouragement that my readers have given me.  I tuck their kind words away and hold them close to my heart.

In the meantime, I will keep juggling.  I will take the good with the bad...and I will keep tending to the small stories, the wounded characters, and stray kittens that inevitably find me.

If not me, then who?