An Email Letter I Just Wrote to [Redacted]

OK, friend, I am going to tell you everything I know, with the knowledge that I know very little, and hoping it helps.

1)  I panic all the time.  I make my living by tearing my heart open after heavy historical research and showing strangers my guts, because there is a strong dose of me in all of my narrators.  It's uncomfortable.  When it feels uncomfortable, that means it's good.  Strangers like to identify me with Mercy Underhill, Mary Ann Monk, etc, because they are female, when really I'm Val Wilde.  There is a lot of constant panic.

2)  There is more than one way of working.  Writing words in a row is working.  Staring at the computer in bafflement over how you ever got to this place is also working.  The part that trips people up is the second one.  They don't finish books and allow the blank period to defeat them.  You do finish books, and now know that being confused is part of the journey.

3)  Naturally it's more comfortable to show people something you're uncertain about, because at the end of the day we like the collaborative process.  However much we might like that, though, and use our connections for our own good, ultimately writing is a different animal and one that is genuinely frightening.  You don't get to hide behind lines.  You don't get to Be Someone Else.  That is why you're panicking.  But guess what?

4)  You're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you.  ;)  Now, you seem to be at an impasse.  You should feel free to talk to me about that--on any level you like.  But you should also know that no one is going to email you a magic bullet that makes you feel good about your manuscript.  Far more likely, your manuscript is going to be finished and then undergo revisions and then ultimately become what you meant to say, but you will still be conflicted about it, a bit.  Because this is You On A Page, and we are all a little conflicted about ourselves, aren't we?

Hugs to your face,