As a newbie in this world of writing, I find myself stepping into unexpected opportunities.
- Like reconnecting with a favorite high school English teacher then thanking her for offering to read and critique my WIP. Brings back memories.
- Or creating a website to connect lovers of literature, albeit newbies with other writers or readers with authors.
- Or researching Collaborative Divorce (the main premise of my WIP) via an email and then a long phone conversation with Marietta Shipley, a well-respected Nashville lawyer-turned-judge-turned-mediator who I discovered via Google back in September. Not only was her advice invaluable, but she “happens” to be married to Dr. David McMillan, a respected and established psychologist as well as a fellow novel writer from Middle Tennessee. Dr. McMillan is also a Mental Health Coach. The MHC is a pivotal part of the Collaborative Divorce process, especially for my main character, Jason.
Last week, Dr. McMillan and I made plans to meet for dinner since he graciously read my WIP, ”Broken”, and desired to share his opinions. Since I was too nervous to go alone, my amazing husband, Brian, re-arranged his schedule to be by my side.
I have to be honest, though. For several days before our meeting, anxiety pummeled me. I played the comparison game, worried about my appearance, questioned my intelligence, and went through a thousand “what if” scenarios.
To keep from backing out of the meeting, I talked to my counselor, Monica. I heard my family’s excitement about this new step. I reminded myself of Dr. McMillan’s own words: “a happy reader” of my first draft who would be “pleased” to meet with me to answer my questions and share his comments. Thankfully, listening to those voices calmed me.
Despite all my initial fears, the discussion rocked and I quickly saw the nonsense in all those “what ifs”. David’s detailed notes about Jason and his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Nina, encouraged me. I caught the excitement he expressed as we conversed about the plot. The advice he and Marietta gave — as well as the relaxed and non-judgmental way they delivered it — inspired me. By the time we left, I wanted to rush home to re-write entire chapters. But I didn’t… only because I have Beta Readers waiting for THE END, which is not yet written.
Although I walked into that meeting full of fears, I walked out more confident that I am headed in the right direction with this story and these characters. I am thankful for the opportunity to have met Marietta and David. I look forward to collaborating with David again, since there is more for him to read and more for us to discuss.
I also mentioned to Brian that since that meeting went so well, I ought to get myself into a local writer’s group. We have one in Murfreesboro. It’s called — what else? — the Murfreesboro Writer’s Group (MWG).
The thought of taking another new step on this road to publication is scary, but the memory of steps already taken lessens that fear and enables me to do it again.
What new steps have you taken lately, either in the world of writing or in another aspect of your life? Is there something or someone who gave you courage?
Or are you headed towards a new direction, but reluctant to go? What, if any, fears hold you back and how could you overcome them?