Why No One Will Read the Book I Wrote
Two years ago I started writing a book. I would take my macbook, head to a local coffee shop, and fulfill every Art Major’s dream. I was that guy. After graduating I was between jobs and had almost two months of half-time work so I thought it would be a good way to force myself up in the morning. Each time I would sit down to write, I had a goal of 2000 words before doing anything else. At the latest I would finish this by lunch and as you may have guessed, much of what I wrote was garbage.
Days passed and I grew enveloped in the story I was telling. I remember one morning specifically. I woke up at 8:00 and sat down with a coffee in hand at my dining table at 8:30. In just over two hours I had written close to 10,000 words. It was incredible. I had never had an experience where the story was essentially writing itself. I could make no mistakes. Each sentence was a masterpiece (well, almost). I even went back the next day to see how horrible it was and found out to my surprise that the writing was actually coherent.
By the time my job started at summer I was just about 3/4 done my story. I was aiming for roughly 70k-80k words (fairly standard for a YA fiction) and I had reached about 50k. After the summer camp season finished I plugged away until finished it around Christmas 2013.
73884 words. 325141 characters. 234 pages.
To say I was proud of this achievement is an understatement. Who sets out to write a book and actually finishes it? I began to tell people about it and had some potential readers but I felt like I needed to do at least an edit or two before letting other eyes see it. The first edit came and went. Still not good enough. I managed to go through it one more time and I still felt that the story had some plot holes that needed to be filled.
I am currently on my third (or fourth? not sure) edit of my 73k word manuscript. No one else has seen a word of the book and I am not sure if anyone ever will.
There is something deeply personal with the words I wrote. Some vulnerability that I entered into as I wrote the story that I do not want to share with anyone else. I’m not so much scared of people saying my writing isn’t good, I know it’s not great (see how many awesome contractions I used in that sentence? (: ). I am scared of it being mediocre. There is nothing worse in my mind than mediocrity. What is the point of spending time on something, finishing it, looking at it and saying, “meh.”
Right now I am sitting in a coffee shop very similar to the one I wrote much of my book in. I played with the idea of going over it one more time but justified that I won’t have enough time to do a proper edit before work gets crazy. Will my manuscript stay in limbo forever? Maybe. I know that I will probably never release a word of it until I believe that it is great. And as much as I will strive for greatness I will probably never satisfy my inner need for perfection.
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