In my quest to finish SERA, my wip, I have decided to fully reread everything I've written for it to date. This includes my handwritten notes and chapters, each chapter on my laptop, and all the outlines I've drawn up to date.
When I started writing SERA, I decided to create each chapter as a separate word doc, so that when I want to navigate through the story I'm not dealing with 300 pages to sift through. This has been extremely helpful, not only in the drafting stage, because placement of each of the plot points is much easier to visualize for me; but also will hopefully be helpful in the revising stage, as I will be able to look at each chapter individually, moving them around within the full text as needed with no more effort than a change in the table of contents.
As I began my first real read-through of all the chapters in order (which is a totally different experience than reading them piecemeal - an effort for which I'm generally rewarded with hours of self-doubt and insecurity), I fell in love all over again. The places came back to me with such intensity, I felt as if I had been travelling away from home for far too long. The characters struck me with their different personalities; some I hadn't really though of in months were there on the page and in my mind's eye: beautiful, weak, hateful, disgusting, powerful.
I read and felt a sense of both wonder and pride that, although I am faced with mountains of revision and I am nowhere near ready for the much-needed edit, I created this world and these people. It amazed and saddened me that these characters don't yet exist for anyone but me. The pride lasted precisely three seconds (ok, maybe I'm ballparking it, but still it wasn't very long) before the fear took over. I felt a knot in the pit of my stomach and my hands started sweating.
That old familiar fear, the paralyzing, creativity-sapping fear that no one will ever read my story, or love my characters or feel about this as much as I do took over. I went from euphoric creator to doubt-riddled writer in three seconds.
Do you ever feel that old, familiar fear?