Here ends one of the least-sleep weeks of my life.  No complaints, though.  I cycled through my Conceding Grace manuscript four times, one of which was a substantial revision of the first 100 pages.  Many thanks to beta readers but most especially to the friend who got on the phone with me and told me what it is, like it is.

And that’s where the feeling behind the title of this post comes in.

I’ve written three full-length novels, filled reams of paper with business writing, and killed a forest with narrative non-fiction.  But, especially with the fiction, it’s been entirely a “faking it” journey.  I wrote because I had to write, because in my core  I am a writer.  I don’t pretend I am a good one.  I’m trying to “become”… whatever it is I have the potential to be.

Somewhere along the way, excerpts of my writing started attracting some notice — in contests and from agents.  Only excerpts, though.  On full read-throughs, it was always a big Manuscript Fail.

I kept writing.

Three years after first dipping my toe into fiction, I don’t know whether I am a decent fledgling novelist yet or not.  I do know this.  I am 50 bajillion times better than I was when I started.  And I won’t fulfill my potential — however modest — unless I keep writing.  I may write ten novels before the potential gells.  I dunno.  I only know that if I stop, “it” will stagnate.

I have to write to be a writer.

I took a giant step this week.  I reached an understanding of how to rewrite my way out of a problem whose solution has eluded me for three years.  As a result, the book is better. Tighter.  Tenser.  Faster.  It’s the best I have done so far.  It’s the best I am capable of as of yesterday.

It is not the best I will ever do.

Because three years and three books from now, I will have grown.  Every single time I feel like quitting because it isn’t happening fast enough for me, I will have a cry and try again.   On days when I have to work my day job, I will rise at 3:00 a.m. , make coffee, and write.

Practice makes perfect.  Or, in my case, fake it ’til ya make it.

Now, I am done tooting my own horn.  Here’s the unvarnished truth:  I have no idea whether sending this book to agents is a waste of time and invitation for more heartbreak.  It may still suck.  It may always suck.  C’est la vie.

It was worth every second I invested in it, this far.  It is forevermore a part of my “becoming.”

Have a good week, you guys — and thank you to my friend for flipping on the light switch.  I’ve already outlined my next two books with your words in mind.

Pamelot

p.s. I have so many things stored up to write about for the blog, but they’ll just have to wait until my current work on the novels is done.  Funny things.  But they will just have to wait.

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33 Responses to Fake it ’til ya make it

  1. Galit Breen says:

    Eeek! Excited ro you! BOG step, IMPORTANT post! XO
    Galit Breen recently posted..The Red Dress Club- Gluttony

  2. So happy and excited for you, friend! You have to admire a hard-worker, but more so when that hard-worker has a passion for her work. You also gave the rest of us some damned good advice. Practice. Practice. Practice. I started daily writing practice, but have skipped already two days this week, using various excuses. Your post reminds me why I write.
    Hugs friend!

    • Pamela says:

      Thank you. I think that the focus on work/effort/practice as the behavior to praise/congratulate on is a good one, because that’s what is going to get us “there.” When we reach the destination, we can celebrate together! I ain’t there yet 🙂

  3. A friend of mine once told me he was going to the golf driving range to hit some balls. He wasn’t a very good golfer, so I asked him why he was going to do that. He said he needed the practice. I said, “But you’ll be practicing doing it wrong.”

    My point is, we all need help and instruction to get better, whether, as in your recent instance, it’s from a friend or a professional. And once we have that input, we do as you say in this article; we practice.

    I’ve been writing for 16 years, and I write every day; I write a LOT every day! Like you, I know I’m not as good as I can be, but I know I get better with each attempt.

    Another thing we agree on is quitting will not make it better. I write because I love to do it; it is my passion. I actually don’t think I’m capable of stopping. And, in any case, I have a motto about life in general: You only lose if you quit.

    Your advice and help with my blog was invaluable to me. I’m still trying to figure it out, but I’m going to have my first 1000 visit week this week, and unless something unforeseen happens, I will surpass 4000 visits for the month of May. I think it was about ten weeks ago that I sought some pointers from you, and things have been improving steadily since. THANK YOU!

    Jeez! I can get to prattling on, can’t I? Sorry! I think you get my drift. Head down and keep peddling, my friend. When it comes to writing, it’s not how fast you get to the finish line, it’s merely the fact you DO get there.

    • Pamela says:

      I’m ELATED that your blog is taking off! More people who will read your words and take joy and inspiration from them. Thank you for the encouragement, and for letting me know.

  4. Eric Hutchins says:

    What I have learned most of all from watching Pamela take on this challenge is the level of effort, energy, and strength of will that it takes to keep going. There are awesome highs when good things happen like winning contests, but there are many discouraging lows, and she keeps going. I know she is good at this, I know she will make it. And I respect how incredibly hard it is.

  5. You can never go wrong when you follow your passion. Life is way too short not to get out there and do what you love….and love what you do. I know my man, Eric will back you in whatever path you follow….and it’s very evident that your fans feel the same way. Keep on being exactly the person you are, Pamela.

    Darryl
    Loving the Bike recently posted..Cycling Hydration

  6. Alexandra says:

    I need your discipline.

    Nothing lands in anyone’s lap.

    I need your discipline.
    Alexandra recently posted..Just What I Needed

  7. “Your” Eric said it…I know how good she is, I know she will make it.
    Pamela, you are an inspiration to me with word you write- remember this, as I know for a fact I do not stand alone 😉 Besides, you look great, even when you’re faking it… a loyal fan
    ridgely johnson recently posted..Over the First Hurdle- Savor the Ride Year 1

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks, and thanks for being a reader. I am continuing to edit madly on the last 200 pages. I’m having fun making the story tighter and more suspenseful and Katie more kick ass!

  8. Lisa Baer says:

    Love this Pamela! So proud of you – your perseverance, tenacity and especially your willingness to share your efforts! For all of us pursuing our passion, you are an inspiration! xoxoxox
    Lisa Baer recently posted..Decorating with Books

  9. Ally says:

    The dedication you have to keep on writing – I admire you! Very impressive. And it sounds like it has been a very productive editing session.
    Ally recently posted..A Big Hurry To Go Nowhere

  10. Sandy says:

    You will never know how far you could have gone if you don’t try. Keep at it my friend….I do miss you on twitter though 🙁 I am looking forward to more funny stories about Eric when you have the time!
    Sandy recently posted..Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop

    • Pamela says:

      Ha! I know Eric will love to hear the call for more funny stories about him!!
      Remind me to tell you about him doing an engineering presentation to a Maltese.

  11. Sandy says:

    Oh, we can’t wait to hear those funny things…that’s for sure! I love the attitude that you have about it all, Pamela. Keep your chin up and hang in there. As long as you learn something from each submission, it’s not a waste of time!

  12. Irene says:

    YOU? Quit? NEVER!

    You know your work is great! Keep that attitude!

  13. JennyBean says:

    Me thinks there are great things in your future, Pamela Hutchins.

    • Pamela says:

      Then color me lucky b/c there have already been great things in my past and present…but I hope some of the future great things are related to writing. 🙂

  14. aya says:

    I like your blog. I am excited for you Pamela… :)I admire you for your hard worker… Don’t lost hope 🙂

  15. LBDDiaries says:

    Since I have Annalise on my mind and hear island music in my sleep, I have to say IT IS NOT A WASTE OF TIME. Never give up. Never surrender. Keep writing and writing and writing until “they” hear your voice!
    LBDDiaries recently posted..The It Girl Redux

  16. Congratulations! This blog is inspiring, what i needed to hear, powerful. Motivational. Especially when you said, “I wrote because I had to write, because in my core I am a writer. I don’t pretend I am a good one. I’m trying to “become”… whatever it is I have the potential to be.” *Sigh* and *sigh* again. I’m going to write this down and post it wherever I can in my house. Thank you for this. It is all about becoming!! YAYAYAYAYAY!! And Yay some more. Congrats to you. And thank you.
    Wild Child Mama recently posted..Tree Hugger

  17. […] the last three weeks I have squeezed in a sprinted marathon to whip Conceding Grace into shape for submission to two agents.  With a lot of help from talented friends who provided feedback to […]

  18. […] say anything nice, would you please join my critique group? By Pamela, on May 24th, 2011 As I mature (slowly) as a writer, the most important qualification I look for in a critiquer/reader is the courage to be honest.  […]

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