Progress to the tune of small nervous breakdowns

Short version of an update from yesterday: I saw a cover band named Velveeta last night, indulged in a fair bit of alcohol consumption, and didn’t go to bed until an ungodly hour. Let’s not talk of this again.

My new novel-project is coming along nicely, which is good. I can’t turn that into a negative. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s getting positive feedback so far from my beta-reader(s). There could be some level of bias there, but I also accept that these are people who I can trust because they would cautiously and kindly let me know if my writing is turning into garbage.

There may have also been mention at some point from someone–someone who happens to be me–about eventually wanting to send something to HarperCollins for publication consideration. I would have to research it, find out what all goes into such a challenge, and then make it happen. The goal wasn’t publication, but an attempt. Even a rejection would be fantastic, as it would indicate I’ve met a goal. I can also say, completely devoid of any doubts, that if I did get accepted (that if is so big that there are now billboards along major highways advertising it as a tourist attraction) I would probably have a multi-week meltdown as I processed the greatest success of my adult life. Let’s also not dwell on that.

Short version: HarperCollins does not accept any unsolicited anythings. Ever. That much I guessed even going into this, but I figured I would look into it anyway because sometimes my delusions of grandeur take on a life of their own and go crazy. This was one such time. They do, however, also have a link to a web site called Authonomy. Curiosity got the better of me, as it should in this situation, and I clicked the link.

The idea, for those of you who weren’t as curious or just wanted to finish reading, is that it’s a web site for writers to post partial or complete manuscripts for judgement. The less-oversimplified version is that you can post your manuscript there, and it can receive both criticism and support/backing from others. At the end of each month, five manuscripts selected by editors at HarperCollins will have a chance to be selected for publication consideration. That’s a chance to be picked to be considered for something. That, too, is a whole lot of ifs, but it’s the kind of ifs that look very nice in just the right lighting because it could mean achieving a goal that would, I imagine, have the same effects on my brain as winning the lottery one hundred times in the same week while also getting phone calls from all of my student loan providers saying they’ve forgiven my hilarious and crippling debt.

I considered it, weighing the pros and cons as I should when presented with such an opportunity. That’s when my hilarious capacity for self-doubt and fear immediately left me incapacitated with the belief any manuscript I upload will be met with such gems as “This is terrible”, “You’re a bad writer and you should feel bad”, and “STOP WRITING YOU SUCK”.

This was about the point I presented the information at hand to Brianne. I explained the information I’d figured out about HarperCollins. I explained the information pertaining to Authonomy. I tried to explain why I’m terrified to give it a try. Tried. Brianne, of course, shut down those efforts swiftly and with minimal effort. And she had many valid points, all of which my self-doubt and fear did a good job tucking away in some dark corner of my brain where ideas typically go to die.

Whatever reservations I had were smashed, and so I’ve signed up. I’m still terrified, but that’s a natural, perpetual state for me.

And now my damn novel-project needs a name before I feel okay posting anything.

Ninety-two days remaining.

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