I’ve been playing with a manuscript idea for some time now. How long you ask? About eight years now. Eight years. During that same amount of time I lived in the Deep South and on the West Coast. I started a career as an investigative intelligence analyst and data analyst. I got back into martial arts and am now on the verge of obtaining a black belt. I’ve had kids, lost my mom and my grandfather, built up and then sold a sweet MTG collection, and then built a pretty cool figure collection. I even built up and then tore down a social media platform.
I also read a lot of books. Several of them by Brandon Sanderson. And was introduced to a ton of great shows like Suits, BBC Sherlock, Leverage, The Office, Parks and Rec, Downton Abbey, and The Crown. I self-published a novel, it hit #12 on Amazon, and then I put it out of print. I then wrote a new manuscript for a manga and accepted a publishing deal. I even learned to play guitar and bake bread over the last eight years.
That’s a long time. Yet, here I am. Finally on the verge of finishing a manuscript that appeared destined to be shelved. I’ve re-written and re-written the outline and threw out so many pages and ideas, I’ve lost count. But I believe the story is better for it. True, it’s taken way longer than I thought it would. Kind of like waiting for Elder Scrolls 6 or info on Godzilla vs King Kong. However, I knew a rushed product was not a product worth making.
In other words, don’t be afraid to start over. I’ve done it with manuscripts, articles, essays and manga scripts. I’ve done it in life, having lived in multiple states, working various jobs. I’ve been well off, poor, and even homeless. New beginnings involve risk. But if you’re too afraid to take chances, you’ll find yourself missing out on life. Or as William Wallace said, “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”
A story idea is a lot like clay. Sometimes it can be transformed easily and quickly into the sculptor you want. Other times, the pieces may be a bit broken or jagged. It takes some work to make it look right. But when it’s done, it’s a masterpiece you can be proud of.
In my years of walking with Jesus, I am so thankful he is the God of new beginnings, of second chances, someone who restores the years the locusts have eaten. It says in the word that we are his poema, his poem, his masterpiece. And he will finish what he starts, he will make perfect, he will make it his finest work.
So, above all else, have hope. You’re struggling, you’re starting over (again), you’re plodding along, looking lost, don’t lose heart. You keep pressing, onward and upward. You, as Winston Churchill once stated, “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” And the story will be done when it’s good and ready. The reader will be better for it and so will you.