Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Best Feeling in the World

Okay, so the title might be a bit hyperbolic. I'm sure there are better feelings. Like having a baby. (I haven't had one, so i don't know.) Getting married was okay. (Just kidding, that was probably the best day of my life.)

But in terms of dreams, the best feeling in the world is seeing your work go out and knowing something is about to happen, good or bad. I suppose getting a call from a publisher that you'd just sold your novel or a call from your agent that you'd just made the NYT bestseller list would be amazing. But those are things outside your control.

Today I sent the three manuscripts I wrote this year to a professional editor. I did this at the prompting of a friend. Sometimes you have to take a risk, and you always have to be willing to let your work go.

You can't be a dreamer on an island. It doesn't work like that.

Malcom Gladwell has some good things to say about that in his book, Outliers. This notion that people "pick themselves up by their bootstraps" and just do it is a myth. We need help to achieve our goals. We need to be humble when we are offered correction. And no matter how good we think we are, we can always get better.

Sure, those sound like cliches. but I've talked with so many young people, particularly young artists, who believe they have to make it on their own.

You can't.

The greatest myth in the world of art is that people achieve great success on their own.

This plays to the individualism of our culture and the mythology that many artists are prone to absorb. But it just isn't true.

And now, with my work sent out, I will wait until October 19th before I hear back from my editor. She will give me an idea of what works in my books and what doesn't, and where to go from here. Even thinking about it causes my stomach to flutter a bit. I'm certain the weeks will pass slowly.

In the meantime, its on to the next book. Two thousand words a day, regardless of how I feel, as well as a a blog five days a week to see if I can encourage all you fellow dreamers.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe sending your work out isn't the greatest feeling in the world. But man, it's up there. The key is control.

If you control your life, if you put in the effort and then do whatever is necessary to see your dream through, it makes life exciting.

I don't know what my editor will say. And even if she likes my work, there's no guarantee that the books will be published.

But I've put myself out there. First with my beta-readers, and now with an editor.

Don't rely on someone else to give you your dream. Go get it yourself. You won't regret it.