My biggest accomplishment in my avocational life is completing my first novel, A Story About Self-Confidence: What’s In A Name?, a month~long story at Eville Medical in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.” Professionally, I’ve got a degree, 11+ years of experience, but that’s all easy. All you have to do is study enough, be persuasive enough in interviews, and not offend people. I have very real insecurities over this novel because it’s more than that.
I have this weird 60,000-word novel of my own fruition.
When you go through the education system, you study within their frameworks, learn their tricks, perform their tricks, and you get their rewards. Depending on how studious you were, you’ll leave with their prestigious degree and no skills in socializing, networking, or professional aptitudes to enable you to succeed in getting work in their field. You might have to get optional certifications or studies just to get in. Then once you’re in, it’s all a matter of staying in line, being obedient, and working harder than your peers.
This novel stands outside of all of that framework.
I created something outside of even traditional literature and that’s scary. I didn’t get many people reading it while I was writing or when I was done writing it, so I don’t have the external validations that might help me feel reassured that I did a good job. All I have is my internal validations. Daily, I think about how this novel is not quite fantastic, but it’s my gold standard. I now have something I can shop around.
This novel is my new elevator pitch.
My nervousness exists from realizing that this is a complete change from my current lifestyle. Currently, all I need to do is go into work, do the work, then go home. It’s easy to work professionally and I’m paid a lot of money to do not a whole lot. This structure is all by my design. I could be doing many more significantly more complex jobs, all of which I’ve declined, and that’s because I have to come to terms with this new lifestyle I’ve created for myself.
I can be fired from jobs, but no one can steal this novel from me.
Over the next few months, before I start writing the second novel, I will figure out ways to protect my writing legally so that I won’t have my novels stolen away from me, but I’m confident enough in their legal status now to publish the first one. Without this first novel – no matter how weird its third act, no matter how many typos there may be, and no matter how non-traditional it might be from a grammatical or societal perspective – I would just be some career goonie working until I’m laid off or fired or get fed up and want a better job. That would have been my life and it would have been terrible for me. The ennui would have consumed me.
Now, I have my opportunity to escape and excel.
My insecurity over this accomplishment is because my previous “biggest” accomplishment was either some of the essays I published for a nonprofit, the short stories I wrote, or this website. Each of those were a step toward this direction. For a self-referential example, you wouldn’t be reading this sentence without every sentence leading up to here or without the infrastructure I built to host this essay that includes my aforementioned career lifestyle.
I’m insecure because I feel like I’m actually making it.
Being a successful writer has been a dream of mine for over three years now. Telling John and Trishna’s story in “The Story” has been a dream of mine for nearly twenty years. Having written the first novel has helped me improve my writing, so writing the second, third, fourth, …, …, novels will help me improve my writing. Writing novels isn’t achieved at the snap of your fingers. Writing novels isn’t gifted to you for completing a minimum number of credits, studying then passing exams, sending in your resume to have the right person read it, making it on time to the interview, dressing well, answering the questions, pretending not to be scared, and sending thank-you letters. Writing novels takes real, quantifiable work.
I might feel insecure about this first novel because it’s my biggest accomplishment yet.
I want the second novel to be bigger and better than the first. That doesn’t mean I want to erase or replace the first novel, but rather, improve on it. Just like I won’t delete my first essay or short story [that I’ve published here], my first one hundred essays or short stories, or my first one thousand essays, I improve with each iteration, no matter how subtly. I value each publication because it’s one more attempt of mine to practice and refine my writing.
This novel is the equivalent of publishing my first post.
I don’t recall feeling nervous posting that essay, but in hindsight, I’m not overly proud of it like I might be one of my more recent essays. It’s sloppy and inefficient, if I want to be rude to myself, but if I want to be proud of myself, it’s earnest and shows an attempt at wanting to do something cool and different. I’m sure I’ll similarly be able to put my finger on what makes me feel insecure about my first novel there, but until then, I’ve published something that I can now advertise. It’s the full product of me.
I guess I’m insecure because I’m not sure how to advertise it.
I don’t know how to get people to read it and to solicit their feedback before I start writing the second novel. Am I worried I’ll make the same mistakes in the second novel…? Everything I had a problem with, well, I can fix before writing the second novel: novel structure, writing timeframe, and planning themes.
If others have problems with my accomplishment, it’s like being envious over someone else’s trophy: don’t.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium, my personal experiences, and my professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: This isn’t a Sober Living essay although it explores some of the same insecurities. Writing about insecurities like this is the easiest way to figure out why you’re insecure and address those insecurities.|
|Related: Other 2019 Novel writings.|
|Picture: I’m not overly proud of this picture.|
|Written On: December 26, 2019 [35 minutes, from 10:43pm to 11:18pm, while listening to DRAINO, WordPress.]|
|Last Edited: December 26, 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|