With the third draft put to bed I am now engaged in what I hope will be the final draft. In the meantime I am starting to research agents and publishers and beginning to sketch and outline for a plan of action. Soon I shall have to write a synopsis. The idea of trying to summarise 81,000 words with 350-450 words feels me with fear. Can I do this? I really don’t know.
The fear inside me is overwhelming. At the very beginning writing is an intimate process. It’s just you going on a journey with your imagination. The moment you decide to try and get your work published is the moment the illusion of privacy dissolves. The function of your writing changes from being something personal, like a hidden aspect of your personality to some kind of curiosity at an auction. By sending your work out you are asking people to assess it, put a value on it almost. This can lead to you dying by the sword.
Anyone with artistic aspirations has their own, personal ambitions. It is incredibly important to be aware of your goals. This is something I fail at as my goals are ever changing. I feel like writing is an addiction to be. Initially finishing my first draft was satisfaction in my head. For a short time I felt like a writer as I had written something. Eventually that was no longer enough. Now I feel as if I need validation via publishing, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against me. If I fail I will feel like a failure.
I have no idea whether this is a common phenomenon. When I was young, I felt different, estranged from humanity. The reason was that I wanted to write. The longer the feeling stayed with me the weirder I felt. It was never something I could tell to people, even after I had got to know them quite well. In the beginning I couldn’t understand why I treated it like an illness, or a dirty secret. As a thirty year old man I still find it awkward to admit. Like an Alcoholic at an AA meeting I tend to just blurt it out and then feel scared. The fear itself is caused by the fear of judgement. I am afraid that people will think I am mad, eccentric or just plain stupid.
By pushing on and trying to publish my work I am confronting that fear head on. There is no escaping it. To be an artist of any form you must open yourself to judgement. I am trying to embrace it. If I am to fail, I would rather die at the tip of a sword than wither away with only fear and ignorance for company.