Friday, September 19, 2014

A Long Road Trip or The Post Where I Reveal My Insecurity

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This post on bravery inspired me to divulge a secret.
We all have to be brave once in a while...but I'm not too great at it. My comfort zone is quite cozy, and I'd happily remain inside it if not for God pushing me beyond its parameters.
The other day, I was talking about publishing with two dudes (my brother and b/f). One of them said, "How do we know you really wrote a book? You won't let anybody read it."
He was teasing me, but he nicked the truth. I'm a tiny bit, maybe a lot, scared of people I know reading my book. I had no problems submitting the story to contests or my now-agent. That was easy.
But family? Friends? The people who've known me since I used to fall asleep on the school bus every morning?
My introvert heart doesn't want to be vulnerable.
Yet there's a bigger fear. The fear that I've announced my formerly secret writing life to the public and can't take that back. What if my book sits on editors' desks for weeks, months, years without attracting a contract? What if I have to keep telling folks, "Nope, my book's not published yet. I'm still waiting." Should I have kept my mouth shut a while longer?
I've never been good at waiting. Not when my family and I went on the twelve-hour road trip to Grandma's and not now that I'm twenty-two with the dream of being a novelist.
This summer has been a whirlwind, one I couldn't forget if I tried. The Sound of Rain was completed, sent to agents, and amazingly gained people's interest. God has blessed me with an awesome agent who commented on my Southern accent the first time we talked on the phone. (I didn't mention her, ahem, Northern accent.) He's let me final and win contests.
But autumn is coming...and I wonder if perhaps my progress will slow. It's not that I don't trust God; it's that I know He doesn't have to give me everything I want. I'd be a spoiled brat if He did.
I'm on a road trip, my destination publication.
Sure, I'm no longer sittin' at the house, but how many more hours are left before I reach Grandma's house? God's in the driver's seat, and I'm in the back, tapping my nails on the console. "Are we there yet, Lord?"
Nope, not yet.
It's easy to be jealous after reading another writer's tale about how elated she was to sign with her dream publisher. It's easy to let my mind linger on my doubts.
It's much harder to trust. To say, "Whatever You want, God. If you don't want me to be published, that's cool."
I have to be brave though. I have to give this dream over to Him every single day. I have to relax in the passenger seat and let Him drive.
This might be a long road trip. Perhaps I'll be waiting a little while.
But His plan is worth waiting for. He's watching over me and you. He knows our desires, and He knows what scares us. He knows what we need.
He knows.
And He wants us to be brave and trust Him.

10 comments:

  1. Being brave is hard, but it can also feel really good to put your dreams out there for all to see!

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  2. This is SO good, Courtney. When you mentioned that you were fine with strangers--agents, contest judges--reading your story, but scared of the people who knew you reading it, I resonated completely. That was me...hugely. Still often is. I think I sometimes reveal more of myself in my characters than I do, well, in real life. So letting people into those characters' heads and hearts feels like letting them into mine. And that's scary!

    Congrats, though, on moving forward in your writing life...in putting yourself and your story out there. Excited to see where the journey takes you next!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Melissa. It is definitely scary!
      I'm excited to see what happens next as well. Should be fun.

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  3. Me, too, Melissa and Courtney. I didn't even TELL anyone but my husband that I was writing until I'd finished my first book. Partly because I was afraid I WOULDN'T finish it, but partly, too, because of the fear of being so vulnerable with the thoughts and attitudes I put in my character's heads, because, as you said, everyone would know that at least in part, those were MY thoughts and attitudes.

    That was more true with my earlier books. As I've written longer, I've had to create some protagonists who aren't exactly like me, and that's made it a little easier to put myself out there as a writer.

    Great thoughts!

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    1. Deborah, I started telling people when I was encouraged to create a Facebook page in order to start building my platform. It was pretty much impossible to hide my writing passion after that. :)

      I know what you mean about being scared you wouldn't finish your first book. I felt the same way about the first novel I wrote with the intention of publishing.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

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  4. Giiiiirrlll!!!!!! Thank you for being brave and sharing this post! This story resonates because it's so honest! I love that!

    I blushed for a week when I finally gave up and let my mom read my manuscript. Then I REALLY blushed when Dad read it. But it's true that we put our hearts and souls into our characters, so many times saying and revealing things we couldn't say ourselves. I am a recovering people-pleaser and still think WAY too much of what other people think of me or my writing. As long as it pleases God, doesn't matter who else we please or don't please.

    Waiting is HARD!!! I'm still amazed and rejoicing about what I call your "miracle" agent story. :) That was just amazing! And happened so fast!!! God has an awesome publisher story for you, too. I just know it. :)

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    1. I STILL haven't let my parents read TSOR. Ha! So that shows how private I've been with it. I'll be self - conscious if it's published, not that I'm ashamed of it, but because the story has so much of me in its pages.
      Aww, I like the sound of a miracle agent story. That was purely God, and I'll never get over what He's done. Isn't it sad, though, that despite all He's done so far, I still doubt I'll "like" what He does next? If that makes sense.
      I'm working on trusting Him more.
      Oh, and you know I'm expecting an email detailing your own miracle story any time now. :)

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  5. I think this fear resonates with many writers, especially me! The only person close to me who has read my books is my sister. And that's because she's been my beta reader since my very first, muddled, POV head-hopping, backstory-filled, first attempt at a chapter that I never actually thought would go anywhere :)

    Like you, the first time many people in my "real" life knew that I was an aspiring novelist was when they got the invite to my FB page. And that was only because I figured that if I didn't invite people I knew to like it then no one would!

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    1. I would be super embarrassed for anyone to read the old stories saved on my computer. My characters tended to be a bit...dramatic.

      LOL @ the Facebook page invites. I was the same way. Definitely yanked me out of my comfort zone, but now I'm glad I made the page. :)

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