A story I’ve been working on for the last 5 years now came to a close last week. I finished it. I wrote it all down, got all the characters straight, got the story I wanted written done. And it was emotional.
For 5 years this story has been changing, evolving, becoming more and more something I needed to finish and get out there. I’ve always had the dream of becoming a published author, the write the next great book. And even if it didn’t become the next Harry Potter I’d be okay because I got it out there anyways. But for 5 years this lived with me, always in the back of my mind, characters developing, changing, taking over in some cases (that’s another blog post). And now it was done, a manuscript ready to submit to a publisher. All four hundred or so pages. No longer processing through my mind. When something with you for that long, it leaves a weird feeling.
But here’s why it was more emotional. The changes that that story had gone through from the point of its inception to now are amazing. A lot of things never made it to full ideas but I still have the notes. There’s pages and pages of notes showing how much things had changed. The entire ending of the one character took a totally different turn, one character became more than he was supposed to, and another one ended up having three chapter completely rewritten. And though those changes all work better, it’s totally different than I had first come up with. Those pages of idea lie like fallen leaves, there but not useful anymore.
I don’t regret the changes I made, even if it was hard to do. To rewrite entire chapters is not easy.
Now I’m onto the next step and though I don’t want to belittle the writing end because there’s nothing small and insignificant about what writers do, the next step is an even bigger adventure, for me at least. Maybe it’s because it’s a step I’ve never taken before. Writing is something I’ve always done and though this story is bigger and more complex than anything I’ve ever written and probably better because it’s matured as I have, writing doesn’t scare me. Getting others to read it, judge it, and seeing it on a shelf with my name on it, that’s scary. But that’s what I want. This story is something I’m proud of and want to see it with my name attached.
So here’s the thing. Despite the fact that it took 5 years, that something for months it sat, nothing happening, that changes got made every step of the way and will continue to get made, it was something I never gave up on. And despite the fact that it’s now done and it’s not the story I started with, I’m still happy with it.
For all of you out there, struggling to write something, don’t give up. Make it happen. Take that next step. Sometimes the next step is letting it sit and that’s okay. Let things change, you can decide later if you like it or not. Just write what makes sense to you and if it’s a dream, let that dream come true. Take the scary step.