I know this update is overdue. Really. And I'm sorry its taken so long to post. The thing is, it's taken a long time to sift through the chaos that is my brain as of late.
The other day I was making some guacamole at work and was imagining out what I would say if I were speaking to a group about writing. (Incidentally, this is not just vain daydreaming, folks: Doxacon. August 2017. Washington, D.C. Be there.) I kept coming back to the idea of talents, specifically the biblical parable of The Talents.
For those who are unfamiliar, there is, in the Bible, a story Jesus tells about servants who were given talents (a type of money). Those who invested and used the talents were rewarded, while the poor sap who was so afraid of losing it he buried it in the ground was definitely not rewarded. He was cast out into a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Just a quick side note here. At the time this parable was told, weeping and gnashing of teeth were expressions of grief. As with anything biblical, there's a plethora of ways to interpret this story, but the most straightforward seems to be this:
We are given talents. If we use the talents we are further blessed. If we hide our talents we become grief stricken.
I am a writer. Writing is one of my talents. It always has been. In elementary school I crafted stories out of those, "write a sentence for each spelling word" assignments. In high school I could certainly write essays well, but the creative writing was where I excelled. And I have always, somehow, known that someday my words would be in print. Back when Border's bookstores were still around I used to go and find exactly where my book would sit on the shelf. It was my sacred ritual. I couldn't leave the store without at least visiting my books' future home. Even now, in the jumbo makeup store that has since taken its place, my eyes flick to that spot on the wall as I enter.
My identity as "a writer" has always been there, whether I have actively used and invested (in) my talent or have hidden it away, buried deep beneath the surface.
|Taken right after a rare manicure, apparently.|
Well, I have an answer.
In a twist I was not even remotely expecting, my first submission resulted in representation. I went to a conference to meet my tribe and to gain some guidance from a real, live agent as to how I should go about taking my next step.
Now, barely three months later, I am googling terms like, "comp titles," and asking my agent - my agent!! - questions that must seem obvious and remedial. I am telling my friends and family that, oh yeah, we'll start pitching at the end of this month, and will see where things go from there.
I am so excited - SO EXCITED!!! - I can hardly think straight. It's difficult to stay in this current moment. And I am terrified. Which is why I haven't posted anything about this until now.
I am afraid.
I am afraid that I'll talk about this most recent update - signing with an agent - and then, poof! it'll disappear. Deals fall through all the time. I am afraid this will be one of those.
I am afraid that I have forgotten how to write a book. The book I've written is the first of a series. I have to write the rest of it. And what if somehow I can't? What if I've forgotten what it takes to put one word after another after another after another...? What if I only had one book in me?
I am afraid to put myself out there. In writing one must be real, must be true. Even in fiction. Especially in fiction. I am afraid to show people my insides and have them find me wanting.
Which leads me to my main fear, the one that drives the others: I am afraid I am not worthy. I am afraid that there's been some crazy mistake. I wonder, Who am I to be so presumptuous as to assume that my work is good enough?
BUT CLEARLY IT IS.
I'm shocked that someone believes in this story enough to help it get published.
BUT CLEARLY THEY DO.
I'm just Steph, standing here, holding this freaky, little story - and it is a freaky, little story. But I am also a writer. And it is time for me to uncover my talent, and to take that risk of using and investing it. Who knows how long this ride will be? I certainly don't. But I promise now that I will ride it out. I will keep sifting and processing and facing those fears. And though I and my words are works in progress, we'll get there someday.
|Taking a page from Stuart Smalley's book now.|