Everyone has a story to tell. So many lives intertwined through time and circumstance, so many funny stories, heartbreaks, and struggles waiting to be shared. We all have something to say, something to contribute, and something to share. And in today's world; with social media, e-publishing, and micro-publishing, there are so many ways for us to share openly. The world has become a sea of voices, a forest of talking heads. Some more popular or sought after than others, but each as important.
For me, starting out with a fresh manuscript, a hope to be published, and the desire to be widely accepted as the writer I am, this sea is intimidating. If we all have a voice, if everyone is talking, who out there is looking to hear what I have to say? What chance do I have? I suppose this self-defeating aspect is partly why it took so long to complete my tale. That negative voice inside that whispers just loud enough to stifle the enthusiasm to write, that questions the validity in just the right way for doubt to grow. We all have that self-doubt, it is part of being a person.
What I have found through years of struggling to trust myself, to finish the piece for the sake of the story, and to give my characters the voice they deserve, is that it boils down to probability. I have seen an inspirational poster many times that depicts an empty basketball court, stating "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Who can argue with that? If you don't try, you won't succeed; if you don't ask, the answer will always be "no". Taking the chance doesn't mean you will always succeed, no one makes 100% of the shots they take. But, if you want the chance at succeeding, then you have to take the shot.
So, here we are. I have overcome my self-doubt and endeavored to complete my novel. Years of writing, editing, second guessing, and polishing have yielded a finished product. And now the true test begins: Marketing that story. Do I believe in myself enough to convince someone else to take a chance on me? Do I have the wherewithal to weather the storm of rejections, the 'thanks for submitting, but...' responses, and the 'no thank you' letters?
I do. I do because I know that if I stop now, the answer will always be 'no thank you'. I know that I don't need all of my query submissions to be answered with an emphatic "yes!" I just need one. One yes to over come years of self-doubt, shadowy fears of failure, and a hundred 'no thank you' responses. Just one person to believe in me, to take a chance on the world that I have created and arduously honed. And though I don't yet know who that one person will be; that one agent who loves my characters as much as I do, that one publisher who delights in the body of the draft, or the editor who gently corrects the narrative when it strays.
But whoever that person is, or those persons are, I just want to say, hello. I will meet you one day. I am going to shake your hand, and thank you for believing in me and my tale. I look forward to that day. Until then, I will continue to strive to find you. I will send query submission after submission, sift through rejection after rejection until we do. Because, if I stop now, that day will not come. My story would end here. And that, is not going to happen.