Since returning from the UK, I have been taking a little break from writing new stories and have been working on polishing up my manuscript, The Living Death of Toddy James.
I received some good feedback from the Ink & Insights 2018 Critique my Novel contest and decided it was time to submit my manuscript to an editor who can help me take it from the rough and step it closer to publication standard.
But as I have taken this step forward in my creative life, I have also had to battle internal fears. Fears that I am still not good enough to publish. It sounds silly given the spectrum of published works in the world since self-publishing became so accessible, but I still have an inner voice that speaks volumes about where it thinks I am at.
This inner voice drove me to pick up the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I listened to it on audio first, then went out a got myself a paperback copy so that I could refer to things that inspired me and provided me with ‘a-ha’ moments.
This lead to me creating a skillshare course called: Through Fear to Creativity, where I explore some of the methods I have used get past the fears that have blocked me when it comes to creative writing and, at times, my artwork.
I then made a short YouTube video where I speak directly about how Big Magic has helped me move through a perfectionism blockage and I hope, if you watch it, that my insights help you to.
Then I thought I’d do a book review on Weekend Notes and I called it: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Book Review.
So, in a strange way I have been quite productive … dealing with fear and building courage to stand up and do what is in my heart to do.
But I have to be honest, writing a novel is a big project. It’s like a marathon level of focus, day after day. It took me over a year to write the first draft of The Living Death of Toddy James – most of it tapped into my Scrivener file during NaNoWriMo 2017. When I finished that draft, I was exhausted. I’d finally got the basic story out and I liked it.
Then anxiety crept in and I fiddled and fiddled with the manuscript filling in plot holes and other such things. Then I made excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly put the manuscript into an editor.
Then I went to the UK and found (to my surprise) that the level of my fiction writing was on par with the other students in the Fantasy Fiction course. I was stoked.
So, when I hit Australian soil again, I promised myself that I’d be brave and submit my story to an editor with a lot of years of experience and a good track record of helping authors actually bring their stories to publication.
I want my story to be the best fiction that I can make it. Not perfect. I can’t do perfect. I can’t please everyone. But I’d love to know that someone somewhere enjoyed reading what I wrote.
So I guess the next phase is about to begin. And to keep my mind from going totally crazy over what work is ahead of me with my manuscript, I’ve focused on creating book reviews, a YouTube video and a skillshare course.
Hopefully as time goes by I will finally figure out how to move my photos of the UK to some kind of show and tell thing-y, then I’ll be able to share more of what I experienced. But to tell the truth, I’ve kind of enjoyed allowing the travel dust to settle. Who knows when I’ll get around to sharing my UK photos and mini-musings.
In the meantime, Happy Creating!