My anthology, The Unscheduled Stops, is complete. I’ve proofread, edited, formatted and prepared the manuscript. The copyright has been granted and an ISBN number and cover are in process. Sitting on the edge of self-publication feels a bit like my experiences with sledding as a child.
I’m excited and scared half to death. The sled is safe…I think. I really don’t know anything about the structural composition of toboggans, but I’ve checked to make sure it’s sturdy. The hill is safe…I think. There are lots of tracks, proof of the others who’ve made it down the hill before me. Even though I’ve lugged my sled all the way up the hill, there’s no way I could have spotted every possible glitch in the path I’ll take. I have no idea how I’m going to steer this thing or stay the course. There’s only one thing I am sure of; sooner or later, I have to decide whether to throw caution to the wind and push off.
The analogy may be a little off. As a child, I still had some sense of near-invincibility. When I was young I didn’t worry about swerving off the trail and slamming into a tree. I was gloriously unconcerned at the possibility of flipping over, or crashing into something. The idea of wrecking my sled or breaking a bone never occurred to me.
Now I’m old enough to know I’m far from invincible. Just publishing my work does not make me a successful author. The pitfalls loom before me. Readers may not find my writing appealing. Bad reviews could send me spinning out of control. My marketing plan may not be sound. There are so many things that could bring my potential writing career to a tragic end. I’ll never know if I don’t try.
My novel manuscript sits on my desktop; complete and ready for beta-reading. It waits, on queue, for the same plunge into the world of publication. It’s a bit like the kid who hangs back on the toboggan hill, waiting to see if everyone else makes it down in one piece.
I’m still nervous, but I know I’m holding up the line. So many people have supported me, encouraged me and assisted me in my projects. If I don’t go for it, I’m letting them all down. Worse, I’d be letting myself down. Can I really come this far and then let all these little fears stop me from finishing the journey?
It’s time to make the decision: either push off, or turn around and run away. Hang on tight. It’s going to be a hell of a ride. One, two…two and a half…two and three quarters…GO!
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