I feel the edges of a new threshold pressing around me. It’s the Cave of Revision, and it’s dark.
I take comfort in the knowledge that many other writers have passed this way, some famous, some not so much. Some of these writers are my friends, who have given me advice, or written books or blogs about how to keep going. How to keep pushing yourself into a better writer. How to push yourself toward being published, past the level of the hobby writer.
I do note, however, the few who wistfully warn me away from going any farther down this road. Their forlorn words are weathered signposts, encouraging me to stay on the path of the blissful hobbyist. Keep Away! Turn Back Before It’s Too Late! Don’t Go This Way!
But it is too late. I need to tell the story that burns too brightly in me. Not for fame; I see how it ruins so many lives. Those it touches contort into impossible shapes to keep that limelight on themselves. And not for riches; that is its own kind of hair shirt. I have no need to get-rich-quick. I simply want to be spoken of with affection by those that know me, and make a comfortable living doing something I love.
Writing is my second chance, my “do-over”, but only because I am already doing it. I have other choices, and some of them could earn me a living if I focused on them. Art is in my hands, and in my head, and in my heart. I will still do other arts; I’ll never give up my anarchistic hobbies, and the soothing rhythm of needle and thread can free your mind to pull apart plots and characters, then stitch them back together, better.
My beta readers have given me enough to see my way, at least the first steps. I have some hard work ahead, and even harder decisions to make. I’ll hone the edge of my skill against the words of my bookish mentors, and hopefully kill my darlings mercifully. They won’t stop the story burning its way out. (Hey, maybe I should get a Doctor to check that.)
So, like the archetypical Hero, I ignore the warnings, tighten my belt, gird my loins, and check my weapons. Looking back down the path, I see the lessons I’ve learned. Some were painful, some were fun, all were necessary. I glance at my companions, those I’ve gathered along the way, and step forward, into the Cave of Revision.
Damn, anybody got a light?