Huge mistake or the best thing I’ve ever done?

Time will tell if yesterday’s mad dash to the finish line was worth it, or if the product of that “victory” will be a lesson on what not to do.

The mad dash? I finished another round of self-editing on my first novel. I suppose the editing is not entirely “self” based because I’ve received feedback. I will continue to receive feedback. I’ll soon be distributed copies for additional review/feedback. My role as self-editor is to decide what to do with the feedback, to make appropriate changes, to prune and groom.

I wrote the novel during NaNoWriMo in November 2009. I didn’t look at it again for over a year. After I wrote my second novel in 2010, I dusted off the first and took the next step in the process: I let other people read it. One of the early reviewers happens to be a book reviewer, so, on top of being one of my favorite people, she knows from whence she speaks. My parents also provided invaluable feedback (real criticism, not just “Oh! We’re so proud of you!).

What did I do with all of this great feedback? I admired it. I respected it. I let it age like fine wine. Meanwhile, the clock continued to tick.

The finish line? One of the perks of NaNoWriMo is that each winner can receive a free copy of his (or her) submission in paperback form. This is offered through and; the deadline to take advantage of this freebie is June 30th.

June 30, 2010 came and went without fanfare. I didn’t twitch, though I regretted letting that opportunity pass.

Yesterday, June 30, 2011, was a second chance. It doesn’t matter if the content is a year old or 10 years old. I don’t think they’re checking to confirm this is the same novel I submitted seven months ago. This was an opportunity for me to turn a dream into something tangible. To see my novel in print. I decided to go for it! And the clock kept ticking.

Meanwhile, I finally got on the schedule of my Novel-In-Progress group. In mid-August the first 25 pages will be critiqued in a Round Table exercise. In anticipation of that milestone, on Sunday (6/24/2011) I submitted the first 5 pages (Chapter 1) to the group as a probe. I’ve received some early feedback, but instead of stopping to digest and tweak Chapter 1, I felt compelled to maintain my momentum and push through to the end. Which I did. {tick, tick, tick}

In the space of two days I reread the novel, making changes along the way. Most of that effort occurred yesterday (180/214 pages).

Last night, at 11:55p.m., ready or not, I handed off the novel to the next phase of the process. It has an ISBN. It has a cover. It is not finished! I’m still getting feedback and I am still working to address voice, character, content, etc. I have no idea what this means other than I’m at a fork in the road and I’m not sure how to go down both paths at the same time. Yet, despite the confusion and risk, I’m feeling more content and excited and charged up than I have in a long time.

(ASIDE: This post effectively describes some of what I’m experiencing in the conflict between career and passionate dreams, and there’s a chance to win a copy of the author’s book, if you’re interested.)

I choose to pursue improving my novel, “Rough Road.” I choose to pursue my dream. I’d rather take the risk and make mistakes than stay on the safe course, the third path, the one I was on…going nowhere.

(Ed. Although I submitted the novel by 6/30, it’s too late to place an order for a free copy.)

What risks have you taken in pursuit of a dream?

About Fran Hart

Disciple of Christ, earning a living as the director of US-based operations for a Taiwanese company, managing an engineering organization while carving out time to write. Wife, Mother, Grandmother.
This entry was posted in angst, Book Review, commitment, deadline, discipline, employment, faith, life, Review, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Huge mistake or the best thing I’ve ever done?

  1. Wow, Fran, I admire you so much for pushing through. And writing a novel! Cheering you on, girl.