I have been doing mental somersaults for months, trying to decide on a name for my novel. The title I originally chose, the “working title,” just doesn’t suit the work. I’ve known this for a while, and both of my editors and my writing group members have said pretty much (or very much) the same thing. The current title just falls flat for me, when I think of the story, but I haven’t been able to come up with any other solid options.
It seems like it should be relatively easy. Not. I pick titles for my blog posts three times a week, and frankly I think I do a good job. Blog titles pop into my head every day. Some nights as I’m drifting off to sleep, titles pop into my head and help me decide what I’m going to write about. While most of the time the topic drives the title, some days the title is just waiting for the post. It’s pretty easy. Yet, I have been spinning this damned book title around and around for months… and months! I’ve tried things out on my writing posse, but nothing has made it’s way to the title page. It’s got me chasing my tale (yes, I spelled it that way on purpose) in crazy circles.
Yesterday I spent several hours at a writer’s workshop, with several different topics and focuses. One of the authors talked about making your book a true priority—making your writing a true priority. Blogging has become such a big part of my writing world, but it definitely distracts me from moving forward with my novel, and I need to start being more mindful of that, and working on my book priorities… If I really want to be published. And I do. I really do.
In two days I turn 50. Man, when I turned 40 I was so determined to write a novel and get it published! But here I am a decade later and I’m still wishing and hoping and planning… I did write the book, but I need to take that next step. I do not want to see the next decade and still be stuck in this spot.
The title is critical. It’s a few words, linked together, that announce my work. People will notice my novel based on how well I string those words together, and that is feels huge. Blog titles are easy, but this has me totally stumped. I think of title that I think works, and then do some research and it’s already out there. Or, a title that sounds right on Monday, isn’t good by Friday. Something that I think might work, is a thumbs down with the people who have read the manuscript. It’s crazy making. And all of this title stuff feels like more delays in taking the next step for publishing.
Is that it? Am I making the title an unconscious barrier to publishing… and ultimately, avoiding finding out if my novel is good? Some days I feel like I might just toss the whole thing on a big bonfire, and just be done with it. Other days I’m so ready to grab the prize. Keeping my eye on the prize is a constant, personal challenge… convincing myself that I have something of value to put out there, convincing myself that I can do this, taking in the positive feedback I’ve gotten (and it has been mostly positive) and really embracing it… These are things that I don’t do easily. As many of you have noticed and commented on, I am quick to find my flaws, or create ones that no one else sees. I throw my self-doubts out there like they are facts, when they are more often mirages that only I see. Thank you friends (cyber and “real”) for that reminder, especially on some key posts, and on some harder days.
I do not believe in resolutions; they don’t work for me. I embrace intentions. I aspire to meet those. Some are easier than others; some are bigger and grander. I really hope to clean that office. I would like to work out more and get my knee back to a healthy place. I want to work on relationships that deserve my nurturing, and let go of ones that don’t. And I want to see my novel published, whether I self-publish or go the traditional route. These intentions are all biggies on some level, but that last one represents so many things for me. Back to picking a title… ’cause, it’s all in the name.
Are you a writer? Did you jump into publishing, or did anything hold you back? Was the title a tough thing, or easy. If you’re not a writer, what attracts you to a book?
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