I began writing my book The Playlist over 4 years ago. I loved the creative process but had NO idea how cathartic it would be. As my fictional characters moved through grief, guilt and anger, I did too. I was never in a place of peace like the day that I wrote the last line. I wrote the book for me, to cross off of my bucket list and prove to myself that I could do it.
When I finished, I wanted to share my story, touch people, help people. But in seeking publication for my book, all of that has changed. With each new critique from my fellow writers, my book has changed more and more. I spent months cutting over 33,000 words so it fit within the guidelines of a debut novel. I've changed the beginning, middle and end, added parts, deleted parts, changed parts, over and over and over again. I know the book is better for it, but at what cost?
In trying to create the "perfect" book, I've lost the joy. The catharsis is gone, the peace is gone. So I find myself at a crossroads. What do I do now? What direction do I take?
My fellow writers would say work on something else, but I don't know if I have another book in me. That should say something. When agents consider offering representation, one of their first questions is what other book ideas do you have. I can understand why agents don't want a "one hit wonder", but I am a teacher first and foremost. I have no hopes of striking it rich, quitting my job and becoming a full-time writer.
The only thing I know for sure is that I need The Playlist to be MY book, however good or bad it may be to others. My husband says it's like an artist asking a bunch of art critics for their opinions ... and then changing his painting with each critique. At what point does it stop being his original piece of art?
I wrote my book with no real hopes of publishing, so what am I doing all of this for? I could self-publish tomorrow, but is that quitting? I'm just not sure, so I'm going to hang out at the crossroads for a while until the answer becomes clear.