Open the File

IMG_8013“Just open the file,” I tell myself. It’s been so long since I touched the manuscript, I barely remember it. It’s pretty likely to be a confusing mess. I don’t write clean plots the first time through. Or the second. Maybe not ever. I’m not sure I’ll be able to fix it. I’m not sure I want to know if I can’t.

“Just open the file.”

Confession: I haven’t touched my manuscript since Colorado Gold last September. There were too many head shakes at the conference. Too many “tough sell” comments. Too many frightening statistics.

And I came back to an email. That well-known author who’d told me my book was ready to shop? Who’d sent me an encouraging list of agents? She’d read the pages again, having completely forgotten she’d already edited them once. She had completely different things to say. The same pages that, months ago, had no major issues were now riddled with flaws. Never mind that I’d just (with her permission) name-dropped her when I pitched her agent. Never mind that I’d been about to send off my requested pages and synopsis. It wasn’t ready, after all. I closed the file.

“Just open the file.”

All I have to do is open it. Read through what I’ve written. See if it’s worth it. It seems so simple.

But it’s not.

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4 thoughts on “Open the File

  1. The most frightening thing is probably the act of actually opening the file. Once that’s done, it won’t be as bad as you think it will be.

  2. You don’t have to force yourself to open the file. There’s no reason to feel bad if you’d like to take a break from this manuscript for a while–instead, you get to work on another project, which can help you feel less frustrated.

    Another thing you can do is give the file to someone who hasn’t yet read it (a friend, a family member, a colleague) who will be able to give you honest feedback on your work. That might be able to give you the encouragement you need to have another look at your manuscript.

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