Writing Thoughts

I wrote a book and I don’t want you to read it.

Hello friends. I’ve decided to combine my “Adventure Awaits” blog from my summer journeys into a new blog, with a new format, and bigger stakes. It’s been a while since I checked in there, and almost a year since I started blogging. It makes since that I haven’t posted anything on “Adventure Awaits” in almost nine months – that was a blog built to chronicle the adventures of my three short months in Laramie, Wyoming. Since I left, I’ve been Illinois locked, and thus the “adventures” have been few and far between.

It’s been difficult to feel stuck. Gut-wrenching at times. I’ve been craving a freedom that I just can’t find here, whether “here” is my childhood home or inside of my head.

But fear not! I am building my escape as I type…

What I have learned in the last year is that adventures don’t always take place on the top of mountains or in the fourteen hour car ride between where I am now and where I once was. They aren’t just waiting for me on the planes I want to catch and the lands I want to wander. Adventure can happen at your dusty computer desk at 3 in the morning when something you’ve wanted for your entire life finally comes to fruition.

And then your adventure can crash down on you with all of the weight of the world’s oceans.

I wrote a book. I finished my first draft at the end of October, then spent months revamping it, fixing the ending, working endlessly to turn the characters into living things, and had a second draft finished on May 7th. A year to the day of my college graduation. A friend of a friend offered to edit it for me and I passed it off the next day. After a year of starring blurry-eyed at the same story, I had to let it go. I had to hand it off to someone else – I need feedback. I need the good, the bad, and the gruesome.

I expected myself to be anxious handing it over. In my head, this terrifying moment I’d been both dreading and excited for was the moment I would convulse and drop dead on the floor. I imagine it’s like watching your firstborn child go off to college – you know their heart and their capabilities, but that doesn’t make watching them walk off into uncertain waters any easier. It doesn’t put an end to the worry.

I wasn’t anxious then.

I am now. Because now it’s real. Now someone else gets to put worth to my words and a world I’ve spent years creating. Now I start to wonder if this, my first book, is the one destined to fail. Now is when I stare transfixed at my pale ceiling when the pink streams of sunlight starts to creep into my window asking myself if this is what I want.

Now my characters aren’t stuck in my imagination – they’re two dimensional words until my writing proves otherwise. They’re set in stone for the time being.

Worst of all is my inability to stop comparing my writing to other authors. I just finished reading a series that is my absolute favorite cast of books I have ever read and my hands shook through half of it because I’m convinced I’ll never be able to pull this off. No way in hell. I’m an impostor in my own story. I’m a fool to think I could ever write anything as rich and real as this.

But the point of writing a book is to share it. Sounds great in theory. Wonderful. But the reality is debilitating. It’s borderline impossible to let go.

But I must.

I don’t want anyone else to see these imperfect characters I’ve created.

But I have to.

I don’t want you to read it.

But I have to let you try.

I’ve heard many a writer talk about the parasite that is self-doubt. It ebbs and flows, and it’s a broken dam right now.

So why do it? Why go through with something that breaks my sleep into fits of tangled sheets and a racing pulse?

Because nothing has ever felt like this before. That I’m petrified means I’m on to something. That it matters this much to me says that it is something that is good with my soul.

So this, my loves, is the springboard for my next great adventure. The quest for a mountain top of a different variety. The pursuit of my heart’s deepest ambitions.

This is terrifying.

This is living.

Rach

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