“If you don't allow yourself the possibility of writing something very, very bad, it would be hard to write something very good.”
I have a nasty habit of taking myself too seriously. Or, rather, taking my writing too seriously. I don’t always have to have on matching socks, the most fashionable shirts, or be in touch with hot trends. I’m perfectly fine with my awkwardness. If I trip on my way into the store, that’s okay. Sometimes the pavement gets in my way. Cooking is always an experiment, and I will certainly fail at math without a calculator. Those things I’m at peace with. I’m flawed. Who isn’t?
But, until recently, I was unable to laugh at my writing. Well, unless I was sure I had written something full of comic genius. That quote by Steven Galloway is something every writer should have in 25pt Times New Roman painted on the wall above their desk.
I have notebooks full of ramblings and notes on novels I would like to write. For years, I carried around the idea for my first novel in my head, afraid that if I sat down to write it I would mess it up. It was such a beautiful story, with characters I loved, as long as it was in my head. I didn’t trust myself to recreate the plotting and dialogue without losing some of the spark in translation.
Then, life stepped in. In 2009, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. That’s not exactly something anyone wants to hear, but it is what it is. Everyone has something they deal with. Anyway, I’ve figured out, mostly, how to live with this disease and have adjusted my life accordingly.
I am certain, without the MS, I may have never written that first novel. I had to quit working for a while to get my symptoms under control. In the span of that year I wrote down all of the action that had been stored in my brain for the past five years. The sense of satisfaction in finishing that novel is without equal. It’s hardly literary genius, I am constantly thinking of things that need work, and my query letter is still a painful work in progress, but I am no longer a girl with just an idea, I have a completed manuscript. I am now working on my second, where I am putting all the lessons of what-not-to-do that I learned from the first novel to good use.