What is truly frustrating is that I cannot decide between the two version of my manuscript. Just when I think I have made a decision, I reconsider the other one. Both have strengths, both have weaknesses. Neither is what I would consider to be mainstream literature. I don't know, I just don't know. I hate that I keep second-guessing myself.
When I consider it, yes, one is more of what I originally intended, and the other I have made great changes to make it more literature than satire, more serious than entertaining, more thoughtful than vulgar. What is better? What is worse?
Just when I think I have answered this question, I have another answer to the question, and then more questions... What is better, what is worse? Can I release both, somehow? Should I? Should I combine the two? Do I have the time?
Then I reason with myself. The one I have spent more time on over the last three years, the more serious, more literature, but still not enough mainstream to be considered publishable by a mainstream publisher, has corrected the problems that I was having with the 2010 version, which I have based the other version, The Millennial, off of.
Do I want over-the-top or thoughtful? What is better and what is worse? Does anybody care other than me? Does it really matter on the grand scope of my life? Will anyone read it, either way? Do I just give it up and move on? What is the right thing to do? Is there a right thing to do? Am I just some mutt chasing his tail?
What does it matter? Does it matter? Don't I have more important things to think about, to work on, to make sure turn out well? Shouldn't I see this through, for once and for all, to show that I can? Why can't this be more clear-cut? Why do I make things more difficult than they have to be? Why am I so indecisive? Does Mark Wahlberg really have a third nipple? Which is the best fantasy world, Narnia, Oz, or Never Never Land? Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?
Maybe this is all really me second-guessing publishing Out in the Garage, and that I care way too much about what other people think. This is, after all, my novel. Some people are going to like it, some people aren't, and most people aren't ever going to read it.
I guess a part of it, too, is... What version makes me happier? When I set out to make changes, it wasn't merely to please others, but there were some real problems I had with the story that I was looking for advice to help with, and I got that advice, and followed the advice that I liked, and ignored the rest. It was still me making the decisions based on my own criteria.
It seems like I know what I want to do -- but am I brave enough, can I find the confidence, to do it? Why do I start second-guessing myself again now? Isn't this what has prevented me from publishing it before now? Am I just afraid to let myself be vulnerable and to open myself up to criticism from the world? Is it because I have spent so much time on it that it has become such a part of my life that I am hesitant to give it up, and now I am trying to give myself reasons to not give it up? Don't I just need to keep pushing forward and not forsake the work that I have done and trust the advice that I have taken, and put out what I know to be the better version -- even if it is different from what I originally intended, because, to be honest, I had no idea what the Hell I was doing in the beginning, and now I have learned a great deal?
This is such a trivial concern in a world that has so many bigger problems that more people should be taking the time to think about and attempting to do something about -- even if it is just writing books that more directly confront those problems than this first book of mine, which is really rather juvenile when compared to the books that I am planning on writing. It is time to move on, and I can't do that until I get this one finished, and I am too far into it, too close to being finished, to change my mind out of fear and nervousness.
Sometimes I just need to pep-talk myself and think out-loud and help myself realize when I am being foolish.