Many months ago I turned in a manuscript to Llewellyn for consideration. I had been working on this manuscript for many years, and I had followed the formatting rules I had thought were appropriate for the submission.
I thought wrong.
I also received a large number of suggestions from my acquisition editor.
I spent a lot of time considering what I would do. I came to realize that as an author, it’s important to understand that what you create is a product, not a baby. In my opinion the goal of the author in writing a book (excluding those that are simply written for a profit) is to be able to share your ideas and concepts with as many readers as possible.
The challenge to this is that we spend months or years creating our manuscript. We think about it. We dream about it. We live it. And then somebody tells us that to reach the greatest number of peopleâ€”that is, to achieve our actual goalâ€”we need to make changes. How dare they!? How dare they want changes to the baby that grew in my heart and soul for so long!?
But it’s not a baby, it’s a product. It’s a product of our hearts, minds, and spirits, but it’s a product nonetheless. And oftentimes, writers literally become too close to a project and need some objective clarity to turn their baby back into a product that a publisher can produce and readers will want to read.
So I’ve been re-doing a lot of my new manuscript. I’ve completely reformatted it. I’ve rearranged some of the content and deleted some material that, as I objectively look at it, wasn’t necessary. I’m in the process of turning what I had thought was my perfect baby into what I believe and know will be a great manuscript.
So over the weekend I used my tabletop studio to take more high-definition pictures for the manuscript. I still have to edit them, but at this point I have only two more photos to take. My project, after so long, is coming to fruition. It’s coming to an end.
And I ended up having an odd feeling, a sensation that I hadn’t experienced in quite some time. I could see and feel that the successful end of my work was at hand. It was almost finished. I felt empty.
Many people experience this. It’s not about the completion of a project. Rather, it’s a fear of success. Some people never finish writing a book or a painting they started. Some people don’t finish their college degrees. Unconsciously they know that success marks the end of one phase in their lives and they don’t know where the next phase will lead. It’s a fear of the unknown. And it is this fear that paralyzes many people, preventing them from finishing what they started.
Even though I have more work to do before I can re-submit my improved manuscript, I realized I needed to get past the paralysis of success/completion and the accompanying fear of an unknown future. So I hopped on the metaphoric horse and started writing my next book. I don’t think it will take anywhere near as long as the manuscript I’m finishing. I’m excited about them both.
Are you paralyzed by a fear of success? Have you gotten past it, finished a project, a moved on? How did you do it? You can share your ideas in the comments section below.
What About Your Baby?
Do you have a babyâ€”an occult non-fiction manuscriptâ€”you haven’t finished? As acquisition editor, I’d like to have the opportunity to consider your manuscript for publication, even if it’s not finished. Even if you’ve worked on it for a long time and not finished it. Perhaps I can make some suggestions to help you finish and move into a new and wonderful phase in your life, a phase you can excitedly enter rather than fearfully avoid. Please send your questions and ideas to me. My email is DonK@Llewellyn.com
Pagan Pride San Diego
This coming Saturday, September the 14th, I’ll be giving a workshop for the San Diego Pagan Pride day event. This family friendly (and dog friendly!) day will be held from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm atÂ 6th and El Prado/Laurel in beautiful Balboa Park. If you haven’t attended in the past, come on out to hear me give a workshop at 11:00 am. There will also be other workshop presenters, musical and dance presentations, rituals, and vendors. The event is free, but please bring some non-perishable foods as a donation for Mama’s Kitchen,Â a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization that prepares and delivers food to men, women and children who are affected by AIDS or cancer.
Besides my workshop, I’ll be signing my books. You can bring your copies or get them from me there. Also, I’m on the hunt for more writers. If you have a manuscript or even just an idea for a manuscript, let me know! Let’s talk.