The manuscript is now in the hands of a select few "beta-readers" who will collectively provide me with my first taste of scrutiny. As long as I've been writing, I've never been this excited about a piece of work or this confident in my creation. Will my readers' reactions meet my expectations? Or have I been so completely wrapped up in my own mind that I can't see the forest for the trees? I will soon find out.
I thought this part of the process would be easy. The work is complete. It is out of my hands. Instead, I find myself anxious and worried which is no way to live. To combat my discomfort I've taken to channeling it into new and old projects. I currently have a slew of unfinished or unpolished stories. I am a chronic "starter." As it stands, I have three incomplete short stories, three incomplete novellas, and five incomplete novels that are part of the same series. To put it bluntly, I have plenty of ideas and very little discipline. That is all beginning to change.
Process. The writing lifestyle is all one big process. There isn't a definitive line between published and unpublished. There isn't a box I can check off that shows I've succeeded. You work, you research, you dream, you pour your heart onto the page. Yes, there are beginnings and endings, but really, it is just the ebb and flow of creativity.
The one thing I have learned through this process, as hundreds of other writers have stated before me and will long after me, is you have to write. Don't judge yourself too harshly. Choose work that you're passionate about and see it through to the end.
I'll leave you with this quote from the legendary Andy Warhol: