My Novel is Finished. I Hate This Next Part.

I finished the third revision of my new novel, “Which Half David.” It hasn’t gone through the final editing process yet, so it technically isn’t done, done, as in done, complete, not going to touch it again.

But it is finished as in I need to get some insight into what I have here. Yes, that means one thing: beta readers.

Beta readers also means another obvious thing: I have to send them my book and they are actually going to be reading those words.

That fact sends shivers through me because I literally have NO idea what I have in this novel. I am much conflicted over it. It’s a novel I felt compelled to right. Might be the most open and honest work I’ve ever written, but I have no idea if anyone else in the world will find it even remotely interesting.

It could be a snooze-fest! I hate boring books and never want to write one, but I’ve also come to realize that I have no idea what is boring to other people. I know what’s boring to me. That’s easy. But others? I have no clue.

I’ve had some bad reviews before, but generally, I’ve been very pleased with how my audience has received my works. But every artist has a mis-step or stumble along the way, right? Is this my stumble? Or my flailing fall off the cliff? ¬†What if this book just isn’t very good?

I hate having these ridiculous conversations with myself. It does help to write about them. I guess that’s why I took up blogging because it’s a way to talk to myself about my inner writing struggles – which are tremendous, by the way.

Okay, it’s a simple point. If I want to know what others think, I have to send it to them, right? There is no other way, correct?

No one else in the world has ever read the words of my new novel yet. That’s a beautiful thing in one sense. It’s purely me. It’s as pure as it gets.

But I guess it’s time to contaminate it with the thoughts of others. After all, I can’t make a book sale of blank pages. I need to fill them. I did. So now it’s time to release them and forget about it.

Okay. I’m glad we had this talk. Beta readers, your emails are coming to see if you want to check out my latest. Thanks in advance, even if you hate it.

 

“If I can think of it, anyone can” and other false thinking.

Did you ever ponder how one can be truly creative in today’s world? I mean, hasn’t everything already been thought of. Hasn’t every melody already been written? Hasn’t every plot line been explored?

I used to think like this and such non-productive thoughts have significantly shortened my writing years.

I remember when I used to get a random idea – whether a line in a poem, a catchy melody, or an idea for a story – and I would say to myself “If I can think of it, anyone can.” At that point I put the thought out of my mind and did nothing with it, knowing for a fact that my idea had already been done before.

How foolish I was! If you find yourself ever doubting your creative limits, consider the following:

1) we are all different. No two people are even remotely alike. How could we expect any two people to come up with the exact same idea?

2) thinking like that is admitting failure. Sometimes perhaps we want to readily accept failure instead of stepping out with our creativity and opening ourselves up to criticism. It’s easier to play it safe. But we weren’t created to play things safe. We are meant to express ourselves from the very core of our being.

3) we are living off the creative ideas that have come before us. Any creative artist stands on the backs of giants, whether he or she realizes it or not. We have all been influenced by the classics, the moving whims of culture, and the relentless drive of media. But the way we process and think and move and change and grow is completely different from other people.

4) a better thing to think would be “I wish I had thought of that” or “I could have never thought of that.” Did you ever read some thought-provoking lyrics or some wonderfully deep descriptive language where you wished it had been your idea. This is exactly what I’m talking about. Faulkner writes the best Faulkner out there. Hands down. But Faulkner, whether good or bad, could never have written like Sasse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I write better than Faulkner. I’m saying that my writing is unique, molded by experiences and life circumstances that no one else has had.

Therefore, your best writing will be when you are emulating yourself. That’s it.

I don’t let myself fall into this false thinking trap anymore. If I can think of it, then it means that I thought of it and I should write about it. And by the stares and strange looks I get from people sometimes, I realize that they are asking me, “how did you ever think of that”?

I don’t know. I just did, and I wrote about it.

You should do the same.