Posted by: Viola | December 31, 2014

Manuscript on New Year’s Eve

Dear Friends and Readers:

It is with a feeling of profound relief that I write these words. I have a manuscript. Oh, lord have mercy. I have a manuscript. A working manuscript. Or… an original manuscript. Yes, I think that’s what it could be called. It is not perfect. It is most certainly not the greatest book ever written. But it is mainly in order. Mostly clear–and leaping into more and more clarity by the day, as it swims in my head constantly. It has a body. It has limbs. It has a beating heart. It has some structure. It is still chaotic, still rough. Still fetal. But it is looking more and more like what could someday be a published book–at least, in my humble opinion. It is my baby, and imperfect as it is, I am nonetheless awed by it. Totally in love with it.

I had set myself a deadline–December 31, 2014. I had hoped to have the manuscript done by New Year’s Eve. And I am happy to report that it is mostly here. It has arrived. However, I think the process has only just begun. Honestly. Now, I have something to hold in my hands and begin to go through carefully. With my eyes as wide open as possible. I also can now consult others–a reader or two, people who can give me feedback. So this means I still have a long way to go. Lots of editing and revising before I actually send the manuscript to the press/editors I hope will love it and be happy to publish it.

Lots and lots of work to do. But for the sake of my sanity, for the sake of battling perfectionism and transcending my fears of failure, I am proclaiming the manuscript in order. It is about a hundred pages long, broken into five sections–something I had to do to make the poetic pieces manageable. Some pieces are long and some are short, some are poems and some are essays. Some are lyric pieces that might defy categorization. I still have to look at my arrangements very closely and see what really fits together and what doesn’t.

There are more pieces than I can count, and I struggled with putting them together. I felt constantly overwhelmed. It all felt so maddeningly unwieldy. It still feels sickeningly terrifying. This is probably why I am not a novelist. I am not very gifted at managing huge volumes of words and pages. I like small things like poems, and small things like short essays. I don’t think I have ever organized more than forty or fifty pages of anything, so it drove me up the wall trying to organize a hundred pages (I had about 150, which I cut down to a 100 pages of what I feel are my strongest pieces of poetry and nonfiction–or pieces that have the potential to be great once I revise them). I will add or cut pieces, as I go through the manuscript. I might craft or include newer pieces, as needed, to strengthen the manuscript. I might revisit older works to see if they might fit somewhere, and I might also go through my notebooks in search of ideas I overlooked.

Am I happy with what I have right now? No. I am not. And I doubt I will ever be. But I am proud. I am so fiercely proud of myself. For staying the course. For not quitting. The journey continues! And I will fight every day for this manuscript. I will fight to see it through whatever lies ahead. May 2015 be a very productive year for me and for you. May we all come close enough to our dreams that we feel their warmth and vibrancy, and perhaps hold those dreams in our arms and dance with them. May we give birth to what is most joyful in us. Here is to 2015 being a year of dancing with our sweetest dreams.

Much Love,

Viola ❤

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