It's not. It's not easy. It's hard and it's scary. I've worked for more than a year to finish my first novel. I wrote the last page. It's done.
Except that it's not done. Now I have to revise it. I have to edit it. I have to erase parts of it. I have to chop scenes I loved into little pieces. I have to kill pieces of my baby, and that's what this manuscript is--my creation, my baby.
Perhaps that sounds overly dramatic to some of you, but I can assure you it's not. Writing a book is fun. Editing a book is downright painful. I've been told to put it in a drawer and forget about it for a month, then come back and edit. Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency (whom I shamelessly follow and talk to on twitter and who has an awesome blog) told me to do it. Stephen King (in On Writing) told me to do it. So I'm gonna do it. I'm putting my story away for a bit and then I'll come back to it.
But what if I don't want to come back to it? Okay, okay. So I want the book to be published. I want my book to end up on a bookstore bookshelf like the one in the photo at the top. I think that photo is of a Borders (I stole it from Jill Corcoran's blog--which you should also follow), but I don't just want my book on shelves at Borders. I want my book on shelves at Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble. I most especially want my book on shelves at independent booksellers across the country (c'mon--inde bookstores are AWESOME people). And I know that in order to see my book on shelves, I first have to edit it (and find an agent and a publisher and a whole slew of other little details. I also know I shouldn't start sentences with 'and' but I just did so sue me.).
I know what I have to do. What's the problem then? I'll spell it out for you: F-E-A-R. If I edit my book then it really will be done. It will be finished. I'll have to send it off for other people to accept it or reject it. I won't have any excuses left, any other ways to avoid sending my
What if it doesn't get published? What if everyone I send it to hates it? What if I suck? Worse yet, what if my writing sucks? That's scary. I am ashamed to admit that my heart has stopped beating (yes, literally) and I find the idea of rejection more frightening than that was (Yes, I know. That's ridiculous. I can't help it. That's how I feel.).
But I'm going to do it. All of it. I'm going to wait a month and then I'm going to start editing. I'm going to murder my babies--slash scenes that don't further my story, kill words that are unnecessary, get rid of the amazing description of this one thing that I thought was so awesome but is really kind of pointless. Then I'm going to send that edited manuscript to the prying, critical eyes of literary agents whom I respect and fear. I'm going to do all of it--in hopes that my dream of publication will be achieved. In hopes that conquering this fear will be worth it. In hopes that one day a teenage girl will read my novel and squeal with delight and cry with sorrow and laugh with joy and pass it on to her friend because omg you just have to read this great book!