“A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.” - Dylan Thomas
Have you ever read a great book like that? Have you ever been involved in a story that’s so compelling it begins to breathe a life of its own. And it possesses you. Long after you’ve finished the story, you’ll remember it.The characters became so real, you wanted them to remain in your life. Instead you were left with a hollow void until you found another book. But that one didn’t capture your soul, so you tossed it aside and searched for another one. There’s always that hope the author will write a sequel so that all those characters live again.
I had that experience with the early writings of Jude Deveraux when she created the Montgomery clan. I’d finish one story and could hardly wait to read about another Montgomery. Jude made me laugh out loud with their antics. As an author, her words jumped out and stirred my emotions. I fell in love with all of her characters.
There’s always a fire in my own soul as my fingers touch the keyboard. I want to believe I’m creating something as magical and as profound as some of the books I’ve read in my lifetime. I tell myself, even if it’s only one page; one page that my readers will find inspirational and unforgettable, I’ll be happy. But I’m deluding myself. One page isn’t good enough.
The truth is, the story I created and spent sleepless nights over wasn’t perfect. My heart was in the right place, but the words staring back at me on paper were silent. I couldn’t hear them.
The initial creation of the plot may have come easily but having my character come to life took a lot longer. I had to become the heroine, feel her pain, walk with her through her nightmares and fall in-love with the man she was afraid to trust. I had to see her visions and understand how she believed she was going insane. I had to feel the world I created was as real as my own.
All writers will strive for the same perfection. But soon you’ll recognize that your passion for writing isn’t enough. There won’t be just one draft or even 5. You’ll lose count. Then, you’ll feel like tearing them all up and start over again. Learn this lesson now. It will never be perfect in your own eyes. If you’re lucky enough to find a publisher, you can lose what little confidence you had in the story when you see all the comments and changes. Especially if there’s more red than black on the page. I felt like a child when the publisher held my hand and walked me through it. Then I became an adult again.
And the good news is that no matter how many times you’ll feel insecure, you’ll never stop writing. You couldn’t even if you tried. It’s what makes us a special breed. No matter how many rejections, you’ll keep at it until one magical day, you’ll see your book in print. I’m waiting for that myself.
Until next time, Stay in the Write Zone.