Writing a manuscript about my efforts to become healthy, happy and fit was a big deal to me. Even though I loved to write, there were still many days when the words just got stuck and wouldn’t flow through my fingers onto the computer screen. There were many more days when I knew what I wanted to say, but saying it made me feel exposed. Vulnerable. I was determined to be honest and transparent, to call my monsters by their real names, in spite of my introversion and need for privacy. Greater than that need was the compulsion to help others who had walked my path of ill health and obesity, and didn’t yet know how to turn a different way.
So yes, for all those reasons, writing the manuscript was a big deal. I have one and a half chapters left. I am finishing up my perspective on maintaining my healthy lifestyle. I thought that could potentially be more than one chapter, depending on how difficult maintenance was. I have found, however, that it is not hard to continue the journey I started almost three years ago. I am confident that I will not regain my weight and I am equally confident I will continue my exercise plan. The last chapter will be about the game-changers—things I did or experienced that monumentally accelerated my efforts.
I have to ask myself, though, to face my monsters again and be honest. Again. Because if it was such a big deal to write my manuscript, why have I not sent it to a single literary agent? If I think it can really help others, what am I waiting for?
I will give you all the reasons I have given myself. I’ve read and been told that literary agents don’t want to talk with you until you have a significant social following—a minimum of 20,000 (but 100,000 is much better.) They want to know not just that you already have an audience, but that you are willing to put in the herculean time and effort needed to make a book a success.
It also helps to have been published before. I have several short stories that could potentially be published. I say potentially because I have sent them to only two magazines.
All of this background is accurate, but I never looked underneath the superficial, to see if there was something more stopping me. I finally did this weekend, and I realized there was a lot of emotion underneath that superficial. These weren’t positive emotions either; they had the smell and taste of my fat monsters.
I am afraid. I am afraid I’m not good enough. I am afraid it is impossible for me to get published. I am afraid of the constant but expected rejection. I am afraid that if I don’t get published it will mean that I am not worthy, that I have been deluding myself. That I am a failure after all.
I honestly didn’t know this was inside me until I had to ask myself the tough questions. It made me realize once again that the emotions that helped sculpt my “fatness” were still hanging around and doing their damnedest to push me away from where I want to go. If I don’t acknowledge and face up to them, they have every chance of winning.
I am not going to let them win. I am going to be positive in my thinking that I will be able to see my manuscript published, and I am going to start traveling the rejection highway. I am going to believe that there is a stop somewhere up ahead on this journey where someone looks at what I did and the story I told and says “yes.” Starting today.