I remember getting presents as a young boy—at Christmas, on my birthday. . .presents were an exciting part of my childhood. The best part about presents was not opening them. No, the best part was waiting to open them. The box sat there under the tree or on your lap. You’d look at the size of the box and wonder what it could be. Holding a present is magical. Holding a present with your name on it puts you in a happy place.
I’ve spend the last four months going over my book line-by-line, page-by-page. I’ve trimmed about ten thousand words, and added in another five thousand. I’ve been getting some good feedback from multiple sources and I feel good about the progress I’m making.
In other words, I’m in a happy place. I’m feeling good about my writing and my book. I’m feeling hopeful.
Struggling writers are not often in a happy place, at least when it comes to the writing world. The first years are filled with rejection and insecurity. When you look critically at your work, you often have to admit you have so, so far to go.
I’m getting ready to send out my manuscript again. That means taking steps that could lead you out of the happy place. I have to open the present that is sitting on my lap and find out what’s really inside. Once you open the present there is no more hope and wonder, just reality. There’s a chance the new reality will be better than you imagined. And there’s a chance the new reality will just plain suck. If it’s the former you rejoice for a few days and then get back to the grindstone. Even if the new reality is good, the journey is still long. If the new reality is the latter, you try (once again) to pick yourself up by the bootstraps, wipe away the tears, and crack open the laptop. Only writers know how hard that feat really is.
But for now, maybe I’ll take a few more moments to linger in this happy place. I’ll sit here with the present on my lap and just wonder. Just hope. Maybe I’ll take a few seconds to dream about what might be, and enjoy the present.