You know how sometimes you get a task that is so demanding, time consuming, and/or complicated that when you finally get it done, you let out this huge breath and you feel like you can move on with your life?
That’s how I feel right now. I finally finished a project that has been hanging over my head for the past year. In its original form, it should have been done a year ago. When I realized that it had to be revamped, it took me months before I could even look at it. When I was finally able to look at it, it was slow and tentative. I literally couldn’t look at it too long because I would get agitated. It was all too overwhelming for me.
I’m not entirely sure why I had such a difficult time with it. I think it was because the original incarnation is what I wanted, but what I wanted was not resonating with people. Many writers would say (and they have told me) that I should put out the work that I want, not what others want. And that is true to a certain degree. But, ultimately, if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you have to do things a certain way. You can’t break the rules willy nilly. If you choose to break the rules, you’d better have a damn good reason and be able to back yourself up. Otherwise, you will just be branded an incompetent hack. Very few authors have broken the rules and lived to write another day. (I didn’t really break any rules, but I did some things that challenged what people expected, and it didn’t work.)
For example, you may think you’re going to be clever by eliminating all punctuation. Who said you have to use commas and periods and semicolons? you ask. Who made up that rule and why should you just accept it? But do you know how utterly tiresome it would be to read a story with no punctuation? Your readers would feel like they’re running a visual marathon with no break, no catching of breath or thought, no compassion. Worse than that, you will look like a blustery, self-absorbed, obnoxious know-it-all.
Back to my project. At last, I finished working on it and have sent it off for submission. While I’m not at all confident that it will be accepted, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I hit that send button. It was like that proverbial weight being lifted off my shoulders, and I was able to enjoy my Sunday for the first time in a long time.
Of course, this doesn’t alleviate the anxiety of possible rejection, but the fact that I was able to cross it off my list means that I can focus more fully on other projects. Some of those other projects have been hanging around for a long time as well, and it will be nice to be able to cross those off my list, too.
I think I’ll pop that bottle of Moscato I’ve been saving. Cheers.