You Can’t Edit a Blank Page

Hello, amigos! So, in my last post, I talked about the art of taking rejection in stride. And I must admit, I believe I will master this art before this journey is over, for two more rejections have flooded my inbox. And I am still keeping a positive mind about it, though as each one comes in, my heart sinks a little bit more, I cannot deny. But that is okay, because this is part of the process of getting published. (And, let’s be real, I want someone to partner up with who is as enthusiastic, enthralled and eager as I am about this story so close to my heart. So if a person is only half-interested or on the fence, why would I want them to represent me ((and more importantly, this story)) anyway? Just something to consider.) 

What isn’t okay, however, is something that is happening on a deeper level as a reaction to these less-than-desirable responses; crazier still, I didn’t even realize it was happening (until very recently): the fact that I am scared to write. You see, while I am trying to gain representation for the debut, I haven’t been sitting idly by. I am ten chapters strong into the sequel, one that I love ten times more than the first (surprising, since I am obsessed with the first story and spend over six months writing it). Yet it has easily been almost three weeks since I have returned to that project; three weeks since I have opened the blank Word document with the words “Chapter Eleven” written across the top; three weeks since I have given these characters the attention and respect they deserve.

I’ve blamed the lack of writing creativity (because trust me, I’ve done enough academic writing for a lifetime) on being too busy, having too much homework, et cetera, et cetera. And trust me, that is all true. Between working two jobs and trying to complete all the final projects before finals actually come to haunt us (and actually getting ready *for* finals), staying active in two organizations and trying to not be a ghost to my friends, PLUS trying to work out, shower, eat and sleep on a daily basis, time is definitely stretched thin during this time of year. 

But I have been itching to write. I have been itching to get back into Darryn’s world (my unfortunate protagonist) and see what he and his friends are going to do next; where they are going to travel, what they are going to discover, what they are going to face and who they are going to defeat (or get defeated by, who knows!). And I know how to manage my time well enough that I could have squeezed at least *one* writing session into the past three weeks. 

Yet I haven’t.

I realized that I am letting the resurfaced doubt from these rejections — doubt that I don’t openingly feel on the surface — creep deep into my heart and keep me from the one talent that I claim to have; to keep me away from my story. Three rejections in less than a week have created almost a month of being lost in a void that I didn’t even realize I was in, until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Granted, three isn’t a lot, truly, but after only sending out eight queries…well, I am not very good at math, but right now, the odds are not in my favor (but may they forever be in yours; unless you’re from Panem. Then get those odds outta here). Yet how could I let that stop me? And what if a simple rejection (or a few or a million) stopped those who have inspired me on this journey?

What if Tolkien stopped writing LOTR because someone doubted him (which some silly people did and some people still do, poor fools)? The greatest tale ever to be told of all time wouldn’t exist. Those awesome movies that I have obsessed over, memorized and watched when I couldn’t find a date to my junior prom (trust me, I had a much better time with Aragorn and Frodo *drool*), wouldn’t exist. Thousands upon thousands of people who have united over this timeless masterpiece wouldn’t have bonded. Orlando Bloom wouldn’t have found some an amazing role to kick-start his acting career to ludicrous speed (and ladies, how grand of a tragedy would that have been?). The list could go on and on of what *could* have happened if Tolkien gave into his doubt and stopped, but I will stop it here. Instead, he kept going and wrote a story that literally changed my life, and I know I am not alone in that.

Who am I to allow myself to quit, even unconsciously?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was never going to stop writing this story. I love it too much to abandon it. And I am not claiming that I have the ability or the creativity or the talent that, as I do continue writing, to match the calamity of Tolkien’s genius, either. But I do believe strongly in the idea that you cannot edit a blank page. You cannot achieve anything if you do not go after it with all of your heart, and then some. And you will never know what you will accomplish unless you fight for it. Don’t ever let the world or the opinions of it be the reason you give up on your dreams, or give up on yourself. It isn’t worth that. Keep fighting. Always, always keep fighting.

You never know what will happen if you do.

Cheers,

Nicole

PS: And just for the record, yes, I am sitting down and forcing myself to start writing Chapter Eleven tonight, after this post. Even if I only manage a paragraph, it is better than giving into doubt! So go get ’em. 🙂

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

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