When

IMG_8742I guess you could call it a rite of passage for a fledgling writer. There’s an author you admire. Maybe someone who’s been in the business a long time. Someone with deep roots in your genre. Someone who is universally both liked and respected. You get an opportunity to get your work in front of them, and you take it.

Not many things are scarier than hitting that “send” button.

I’ve always had a touch of impostor syndrome. I cringe when I notice others blithely committing grammatical sins, but I also wonder about my own blind spots. I may not type “loose” when I mean “lose,” but I did just stare unbelievingly at my spellchecker when it insisted that “imposter” was incorrect. Really? I never knew. What else don’t I know?

I don’t think of this constant questioning as lack of confidence, although maybe that’s part of it. I think of it more as retaining the ability to learn. I never want to be so sure of myself that I refuse to accept the knowledge others have to offer. Which is why I sent my first chapter off to someone who knows more than I do. Way more.

I have to tell you, it was terrifying… until the email came back. I held my breath as I opened the message. I might have been holding my breath since I sent the submission off.

If send is one of the scariest words in the world, this is one of the kindest: when.

Among other things, that’s what this well-known author said to me. “Send me a signed copy when it’s published,” she wrote. Not if. When.

For all I know, she says that to every writer who crosses her editing desk. I hope she does. I was already motivated to finish and polish my manuscript. I was already adhering to a regular writing schedule and making plans to pursue publication. I was already on the right path, but that when, coming when it came, boosted my determination to new levels. Now, I have to get to the end. I have to make this novel worthy. I have no other choice. When.

There’s still a long road ahead of me, but that’s okay. I know I’ll be able to travel it. It’s paved with when.

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