It suddenly occurred to me a couple of months ago that the manuscript I have been working on for the past two years might actually be ready for publication before the end of the year. Which seems pretty daunting, especially since two years is NOTHING compared to the time I've spent on previous manuscripts and even after years of writing and editing those, they still kind of sucked. But I guess everyone's first novels kind of suck, which is why they rarely get published. So if I do get this novel published it will be my first published novel, but not my first novel.
And I still don't quite know if it's ready for publication or if I'll even be ready to query agents soon, but I think that might just be self doubt. Reading over it I actually think it's pretty good, but I'm just one person, and a very biased person at that. So for now I'm looking for beta readers *coughcough hinthint winkwink nudgenudge* to get other people's perspectives. Best case scenario, people will like it but offer suggestions for improvement, I'll polish it up a bit more and start querying agents. Worst case scenario, I'll end up having a lot of changes to make. I don't want to query agents before I'm ready, but a.) I don't know if or when I'll ever be ready and b.) I'm probably going to make mistakes throughout the process, so shouldn't I not be afraid to make them, as long as I'm trying my hardest?
I've got all 192 pages (almost 58,000 words) in a 1 1/2 inch binder with lots of handwritten notes scrawled throughout the pages. I've got one co-worker interested in reading it and I'm going to pass it on to her this afternoon. I just wonder if this process will take a year, or five years or even ten. It's going to be a crazy journey (and it already has been so far), and I don't know if I'm ready. But the only thing worse than trying is not trying. Even if I'm a terrible writer and my dreams are crushed by the time this process is over, I have to know.