Creating Triumph out of Hardships (WEverb Day 9)

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9. triumph [CREATE]: How were you challenged by a project or goal this year? What did you learn from it?

This year I have been focused mainly on rewriting my work in progress. It's my first "real" novel. I've always written novels (well, since elementary school), but this was the first (and only) one that I have sought publication for. 

Such a goal, I've found, requires an entirely different mindset in writing.

Before, I wrote for my pleasure, for catharsis. Now, I attempt to write for an audience. In the former, I wrote whatever I fancied. In the latter, I must think of plot, character development, word choice, flow, climaxes, resolutions... I can no longer please only myself, but must make the read satisfying to others as well.

So my goal this year was to finish editing my work in progress and seek representation for it.

In working towards this goal, I have been challenged on a daily basis. Every single time I think I am near completion on this novel, I realize how far I am from it. Part of that is the perfectionist in me, wanting a novel to be "perfect" and pleasing in every way, to every reader. But a much larger part of it is that I am still learning. I began my writing journey many years ago, but only got serious a few years ago. I may have some natural talent, but I also realize how much I can improve. There is so much left to learn, I know I will never know it all.

There have been days this year where I cannot bear to look at this novel because I am convinced I have failed in everything I want to accomplish. I have felt like I have too many threads, my characters aren't likable, I don't know my setting well enough, I cannot convey what I intend, I desperately overwrite a scene, I think the reader will miss the point and so I want to give it all away...

Every possible despairing thought about my novel, I think I've had in 2012.

Moments where I have doubted my writing ability and my chance at success, I've had in 2012.

Months where I am convinced no one but my husband will ever want to read it, I've had in 2012.

Days where I want to give up and get a real job, I've had in 2012.

But by sheer determination, stupidity, stubbornness, willfulness, and an itch to write I must scratch, I have plowed on. 

And, although I am not yet finished with my edits, I can see the end in sight. I have found tools to help me on my path, and I have found critique partners who offer valuable feedback.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And I soldier on towards it, convinced that my goal is attainable, if only because I refuse to give up.