I've always been a cautious person. I don't think I willingly went in the deep end of the pool until I was ten; I could swim well, but figured, why risk it?
In school I constantly played to my strengths. Rather than pursue Philosophy, I stuck with English--I knew I could sail through in three years, and keep a scholarship.
While I was visiting my family I found some old medals from the state Academic Decathalon I competed in during high school. (Yes, it's true. I designed our team sweatshirts--they read, "Don't Mess With These Nerds.") Hot Stuff was asking me about it, and truth is, I don't remember how many events I placed in. Four, maybe five? First place in at least two. But the sad thing is, I didn't study, at all, for any of it. And now that I look back on it, I wonder how well I could have done had I actually, say, applied myself for once.
Part of this not-trying trend (which I used in the standardized college entrance exams, papers during college, and all of high school) stems from pure and simple laziness. But a large part of it, I think, was due to insecurity. Not trying was my safety net. Because what if I really worked hard, put all of my heart and soul into it, and then failed? What excuse would I have then? If I didn't try and still did well, great. If I didn't try and didn't do well, hey, I could blame not preparing. It was never about whether or not I was good enough.
But this writing thing is new, it's different. I want this. And I've put my heart and soul into Flash. I didn't just write a chapter here and there, when the mood struck. I devoted every spare thought, moment, and ounce of energy (and hey, with two kids under four, that's a HUGE sacrifice, because there isn't much of anything left over) to this manuscript. And when I was done, I didn't just pat myself on the back, I took advice, thought about it, made some changes. I'm on my fourth edit--going over every sentence to make sure nothing is awkward or out of place.
Here comes the risk. Not only did I actually try, very very much so, with this book, but now I'm putting it out there for the world to judge. It isn't enough that my friends, family, and writing group think it's great. I want to see it published.
And this is what scares me. What if, after finally devoting myself, and putting in the time and effort, nothing happens? What if I can't get an agent to notice me? What if I've finally found something I want, really want (besides Hot Stuff, and I got him ; )), and I can't get it? How do you recover from that?
I don't know how to end this post. I tried for a plucky, "I'll carry on no matter what!" ending, tried for a, "I want to write for the rest of my life whether or not I get paid," tried for a, "if I don't succeed with this, I honestly don't know what I'll do," but nothing quite worked. So, I guess I'll end with hoping that my best is enough in this case. Time will tell.
(Dang, this wasn't funny at all. Quick! Knock knock jokes in the comments section!)