Part of me wants to pretend that I am already a seasoned author. I’d love for this post to be very Anne Lamott, all talking about my upcoming Oprah interview for the latest of many books. But fact of the matter, I am knee deep in a first manuscript and there isn’t much that is seasoned or comfortably well-worn about any of my process. It feels like an act of faith simply to utter the two words, “my manuscript.”
For me, the draft process feels clumsy and barely balanced, like those slack lines people tie between trees in parks. Every day I find my center of balance and attempt to walk the shifting span.
This month, my word count approached 50,000 words. And, after some clarifying conversation and soul searching edit, I cut the entire thing down to 10,000 words. The muscle stretching exercise that came before the big edit was not a complete waste. I have a lot of extra content to use elsewhere. And my topic is more focused.
It was a painful cut.
In an effort to reboot, I printed my current draft, for the first time, on actual paper. Honestly, I started freaking out a little bit as pages full of my words started to neatly pile up next to my knee. It’s the same old drill. Cue argument with the inner critic:
“What are you thinking? I mean really. WHAT? This is crazy … a big mistake.” “No, this is not a mistake. Regardless of outcome, it is the right path, the right process. Shush.”
It’s only a fraction of what the submission draft will be. But somehow, holding the draft, I feel more willing to proceed, regardless and what may or may not come of it all. Tomorrow isn’t mine to hold. Just today. Just the next small creative step. And it’s true for you too.
Even if your crazy dream is quantifiably less than what you expected, stay in it friend.
The process matters more than the outcome.