What does a writer do when they are more than halfway done writing their novel, and they come across a novel that is almost exactly the same? And already published?
This is a dilemma that some writers, if not a good chunk of them, have to face on their journey to publication. I used to wonder, personally, how someone like Philippa Gregory can write a book about Anne Boleyn and have its popularity swell and grow while other authors, with plenty of talent, write about the same woman and don’t even make it onto the shelf. No, I don’t use to wonder that; I still do wonder that. I know in part it is because Gregory has to have an agent that turns things to gold with a magic touch, but still. What about the others?
I recently have found out that there is a novel that is similar to my own. There are some fundamental differences that keep my hopes and aspirations alive, but still, there’s a tiny pit of self-doubting that has started to form deep within my gut. Will I be good enough to stand on my own? Do I need to do more? Should I just stop? Did I just waste two years of my time? Did I not give enough time?
Perhaps these feelings are normal. An author friend of mine worked years on her novel, only to have someone publish a novel of the same name just recently. My heart broke for her. Hell, it broke for me. I’m sure any writer would understand that sort of pain. I am beyond scared to feel it myself. Especially as I am writing my first novel, and I went through so much to get this far – I could not imagine feeling that way.
And yet, I already sort of do feel that way. Next to me, set on top of my dormant printer, is that blasted, damned book that I ordered just so I could see what was up for it. I spent nearly forty dollars on it, since it was an international order, and there it sits. Staring at me. Mocking me. Laughing at me. Daring me to keep going, but at the same time trying to persuade me to stop.
I have 28,000 words left until reach my goal word count. For each one of those words, I have to keep encouraging myself that it doesn’t matter if I ever become the next Gregory or not. I’d be happy just to be on a shelf somewhere. I’ll be happy if I can just finish up this book and say I wrote a novel.
Maybe one day I will look back at this blog and take pride in my perseverance. But until then, I press on.