Almost seven years ago, I began to write a book. I will try to withhold judgment about whether it is a good book, but it is a first book so the odds are not in its favor. I wrote it during lunch breaks at work until I changed jobs, at which point it sat untouched for several years. Then, two summers ago, I finished it to the tune of a robust 80,000 words.

I write “finished” but the finishing of a first draft isn’t really the same thing as being finished. Because of the gap between writing the first 50 or so thousand words and the last 30, I knew I had introduced some inconsistencies. I needed to address those, even if I couldn’t fix anything else but typos, before I could really call it finished.

But this book was very personal. Probably too personal to share widely, though that may be my fear speaking. I felt uncomfortable re-reading it because I felt like it was so transparently me. I don’t even have the cover of a fantasy or science fiction world to hide under, because this novel is not fantastical in setting. Maybe the way that the characters act is unusual, but it isn’t completely implausible. I think.

But a combination of reading Kameron Hurley’s essay, “Why I Finish All My Shit,” and my husband’s reminder that I was letting fear hold me back pushed me to set aside my discomfort and make that next draft pass.

I’m about a quarter of the way through, and it is about as I remember it. It feels so personal, overly obvious and not very story driven. I’m cutting here and there, adding sparingly where I’ve written something that makes sense to me, but that I know will be confusing. It isn’t bad writing, per se, but it isn’t what I wish it was.

But I’m going to finish the draft and defer to the advise of Dean Wesley Smith. “Writers are the worst judges of their own work.” I’m going to shove my fear down into my shoes and create an epub file of it for my husband to read on his kindle app. And I’ll leave its fate in his hands.

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