For years, I wrote only for myself. I hoarded spiral notebooks - three subjects, the perfect thickness - in my bedroom. I covered them with bumper stickers, I wrote every day, nay every hour. Every chance I had. I arrived at math class ten minutes early every morning in high school, pulled my notebook out, and wrote.
Song lyrics - I'll always be a sucker for a well written song.
Terrible poetry - honestly, just horrible stuff.
Thoughts - OMG, he is so cute and he is looking right at me!!!
I never once shared my writing with another soul. Until very recently.
Now sure, I wrote a few stories for my husband, almost as a joke, when we were early in our dating lives. Young, and in love, and vulnerable. Never with the outside world. Never with others.
Then I woke up a few months ago and realized I had a handful of novels just sitting on my computer doing nothing. And wouldn't it be the absolutely coolest if I walked into a bookstore and saw one of them there, waiting to be bought? Taken home? Consumed?
By some teenage girl, not unlike my former self, who can't help but stay up until three in the morning sobbing over made up characters?
What would that feel like, I wondered, to be... published.
So why not try?
The fear. The fear of letting others see what goes on inside my mind. The fear of being judged. The fear of ridicule. The fear of trying and failing. So much fear. So I started small. I joined Scribophile. I posted some things.
I found the feedback largely encouraging.
Then I shared my novel with a friend from work, fully expecting to hear a half-hearted "it was pretty good" in response. But she liked it, or at least she did an amazing job of pretending to like it. She encouraged me to start querying agents. To take the next step.
So take the next step I have. I received my first rejection this morning. And at first, I was a little hurt. Then I realized, no big deal. I'll try again. And again. And again.
My number is 200. If I get 200 rejections, then I will toss the book in the trash and forget I tried. But until then, I keep trying. 1 down. 199 to go!