This past week was a difficult one for me. I am close to finishing my book and wondering how my Word Babies will be accepted by the world. Will people buy my book? If they do buy it, will they like it? What if it gets ripped apart in book clubs? What if it doesn’t get published at all?!
Part of my anxiety stems from the fact I just entered the first four chapters into the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. Contest finalists will be announced in June, and the winners will be announced at the writers conference in July. Finalists will receive ribbons to wear at the conference, and I find that quite glamorous – being marked for greatness by the literary powers that be, hobnobbing with agents and editors, and proudly discussing my written offspring. So now, of course, I’m worried about not being awarded a ribbon and am already fraught with jealousy over a yet to be determined list of winners. (insert loud, exasperated sigh.)
This morning I boarded a ferry to Lummi Island to spend part of the day writing at the Beach Store Cafe. It’s the perfect place to grab a chair by the window and let those worries recede into the waters of Hale Passage. Sitting here and reading over my manuscript, I am reminded that I write because I love writing, not because of finalist ribbons or promise of where my Word Babies will travel. Writing is like steering a boat through fog. I don’t know if the waters ahead are smooth or turbulent. I don’t know if I’ll even find the shore or how long I’ll be sailing. But, I keep moving forward.
What’s the alternative? To stay docked?
I am assured that all writers have doubts about their craft. Does anyone else out there worry so much about things that haven’t even happened?