Wow, last week’s release for Beware the Hawk was crazy in a I-tricked-myself-into-thinking-I’m-a-celebrity kind of way.
I received emails and messages and comments from all sorts of people about my book, I mailed out signed Post-Its to people who wanted “signed” copies of the e-book, I hosted a giveaway and did the first four dates of my book tour, including a review. In short, I felt like a proper author. My family even threw me a little celebration with flowers and an ice cream cake. I would love to have been in Carvel when my mom handed the clerk the pink cake and asked her to please write “Beware the Hawk” on it in icing.
Then this week started and I came crashing back to Earth, where Real Life was waiting for me with its arms crossed and an unamused look on its face. I’m teaching my first week of spring classes, there are deadlines for my newspaper, and most importantly, it’s time to get cracking on revisions to my novel.
Oh dear. The novel. I haven’t posted about my novel in a long time, mostly because I’ve been dragging my feet.
It’s nothing like Beware the Hawk. It’s a literary fiction piece that currently clocks in at 272 pages, and that’s only the first draft. I’ll be honest. I’ve been avoiding it, submitting it piece-meal to my writing groups and wincing at the critiques. I have all of those comments and critiques in neatly labeled manila envelopes in my office upstairs.
I did sit down a few times this past fall and attempt to start a second draft. I also did some research, but for some reason,the task of actually revising the novel has seemed intimidating. There is so much feedback and I don’t know where to start.
But one of my 2012 goals is getting the novel revised by April. It’s ambitious, but I need I fire lit under me and I’d like to stop worrying about my project and start working on it. One of my writers’ groups gave me an opportunity to get moving on the revisions in January when they suggested that I give them the entire first draft to read.
I think I might have broken out into a cold sweat when one of the people in the group said “Maybe it’s time for us to see the whole thing,” but it is a good idea, because I need to read it – from front to back – as well. I’ve only really read it in pieces, partly because I can’t read it without getting bogged down in a scene I think needs fixing, and partly because I’m afraid I will read it and decide that the whole thing is terrible and can’t be fixed and I’ve wasted a year of my life on it.
I know that last fear is adolescent, melodramatic and irrational (I graduated from my MFA program with this book as my thesis, so it can’t be that bad) but that’s what I think every time I open the file to start revisions.
So I’m not opening a file this time. This morning I ordered five printed copies of the draft from Lulu. Three are for my writing group. One is a spare. Most importantly, one is for me. When it comes in the mail, I will sit down and read the whole thing from cover to cover. And then, I’m willing to bet, I will no longer be afraid to revise.