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Sometimes the process of refining my own work feels like a chore, other times it can be exciting. It’s this valuable process where I go back and reflect on the whole insanity of a novel that I’ve written and make the changes needed to make my vision come to life. It’s frustrating sometimes, like I said. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the first four or five chapters of this book now, but then again, I feel good about them at this point and don’t want to see much changed in them.

At this point I’m rounding out the whole feedback phase and just working on tightening things up and taking all of my feedback into account. If you are reading this and I gave you a copy and you haven’t said anything to me yet, well, shame on you, although, I probably accounted for it. I do appreciate the sentiment, though. Anyway, like I said, I’m at the point of taking into consideration the feedback that I’ve received and comparing them with my own notes and making changes as I see fit.

It’s difficult to sometimes let go that not everyone is going to like my work and that I’ll never be able to make enough changes to my book to make it universally appealing. It sucks, but it’s the truth. I want people to enjoy it, but not everyone is going to enjoy it and not everyone is going to “get” or agree with what I’m saying. I still look at the feedback that I’ve received and go from there, though. It’s also a skin-thickening exercise, kind of like getting back into shape for the long haul, which will be people being critical of my work in public.
I do understand that I should be used to that by now and that I publish my “work” on a daily basis still for thousands of readers to scoff at and take shots at, but it’s different. While that stuff is still important in its own way, it has never been my passion like fiction is. So if someone wants to be rude to me over some silly article that I wrote, that’s their thing, it bothers me less and less with each passing day, but to dislike something that I put this much work into? Yikes.

There are always going to be roadblocks that get in the way of this stuff, as well. I’ve been putting a lot of work into things over the last few weeks and it has been stressful, so much so that it has begun to affect me. Lori says it is probably too much, but I just explain that it’s a sign that I’m serious. I had equated a nagging toothache with stress as well, but it turned out to be a cavity in a wisdom tooth which was unceremoniously yanked the other day. They also told me that my blood pressure was high and asked if I was stressed, which was kind of funny.

The mixture of my tooth having a giant, gaping hole in it and this whole “I want this book to be truly great and what if the world hates it/me?” stuff pretty much led to me feeling awful over the past few weeks. I’ve been combating it with taking the dogs for longer and longer walks and trying to eat better. Trying is the key phrase here. I still forget to eat because I need to work, then later on start to feel it, but that’s nothing new with me.

This is a strange coincidence, but I’ve seen a lot of talk over the last few weeks of “chase your dreams and live without regrets” and I’m pretty sure that I’m not looking this stuff up, it’s just the usual rabble that pops up on Facebook. It is true, though, you do have to pursue your passions. When I wasn’t writing and being creative I was a truly miserable person and when things started to go downhill it all went very quickly. Writing again was one of the few things that made me feel like myself again and it’s not something that I ever plan on letting go of again.

I’m writing this at 3:40 in the morning and my mouth is starting to ache and bleed again. I’m reminded of the 2004 Takashi Miike film Izo, for some reason. “Pain is Proof of Your Existence.”

“Did I ever exist?”