Since publishers can cancel a writer's book right up to the point of production, the writers of such work remind me that so many world athletes don't win in the Olympics. Dreams are dashed and hearts are broken, but these athletes still made it to the Olympics. That's worth something. I know I would feel devastated with such late and final judgment, but such athletes inspire me to write with Olympic confidence.
I'm currently working on a manuscript that I hope will go the distance. I think of all the hours I've spent writing my first draft and then revising the second, third and fourth. My plot is solid, but as my manuscript ages so do my characters. I find myself reworking much of my prose in order to best capture character essence and arc as well as craft a language that is best suited for my scenes. With every draft, I feel that my story matures. Like wine, my storytelling (to me) improves with time. I'm fairly certain that I can finalize my manuscript with one more revision, but will my story be Olympic quality? For as much as I hope so, that's for the judges to decide. Writers can't be afraid. I accept the challenge.
In the same way I encourage my students to focus on the power of journalism, I have to take my own advice and focus on the power of story. Publishers want the strongest stories possible, and I don't want to produce anything less. Readers deserve the best. I write to win the gold, and even if I go home with nothing, I still have written. That's worth something.
NOTE: This post is based on my 7:31 PM comment for Rachelle Gardner at cba-ramblings.blogspot.com in response to her 7/20/10 post "The Learning Curve that Never Ends."