I just did one of the most nerve-wracking things – I sent off the latest story to the critique group. Sending off a piece for publication consideration rates slightly higher on the nerve-wracking scale but not by much. Originally, I had been proud of the story as I began it. I even had a title for it. But as I dragged out the writing of the story, going for days in between sessions, the story lost something. Maybe a little of the voice of the protagonist, but definitely something of the plot. I had intended it to be a detective story (not something I normally write) with a touch of the supernatural. It still has something of that but the thread of the mystery is a little blurred and some other elements I had not expected crept in.
I think this may be as good an argument as any for writing every day (or at least as much as possible), especially when the writer is in the middle of a writing project. Without steady concentration on the work at hand, the writer runs the risk of losing some of that original inspiration and even enthusiasm. In the past, I have taken breaks from other pieces and completely lost the voice and had to give up a perfectly good story because I couldn’t retrieve that initial “spark.” That’s not to say that I’ve been able to finish every piece I’ve ever started. I’ve begun many pieces that just never came together no matter how work I put into them. However, I do think that any piece of writing stands a better chance of completion if the writer works on it consistently.
I still have some hope for this story. There were a few plot lines that i did not pursue since it was a short story. I like the main character and he seemed to feel more real every time I wrote about him. There were things in his past that I think are important to tell. A secondary character, who was not supposed to have more than a quick scene, become more important to the story than I thought she would be. If this story gets somewhat passing good comment on it, I think a month’s straight work on it might actually turn it into a decent novella.
So there it stands for now. It’s out there. I feel a bit exposed as I always do when I know someone is reading something I wrote. And it’s going to get worse. I have two or three other pieces that are ready to be sent out. My assignment for this week is to send them out. Nerve-wracking doesn’t begin to describe it but I feel more at peace with my writing than I have for a long time.