The Dead Lines Crossed Off

Yeah, confidence is buried in there somewhere. Just has to be unearthed from the pile of insecurities. 2013 is about capitalizing on that.

Oh what a year 2012 was. In November 2011 I wrote the best thing I’d ever written and I intended to get it edited and submit it for consideration to publishers.

I did that.

I’m not talking about resolutions, I’m talking about what resolving to do that did to me.

There’s this theory that I have talked about in the past in other places about how everything is built on the simple concept of The Line: a connector between points A and B or S and T or whatever you want them to be. Once humans started connecting things we were fated to do things like write with pictures then letters or numbers. To build things with branches and stones, to connect one corner to another with a line of materials and then to keep building on those lines.

A Wandering Line is a connection that’s not made or that veers off away from point E to points unknown or undefined. A Dead Line is one that terminates before it reaches the intended connecting point.

Prior to 2012 there were a number of Dead Lines in my writing career. I have to acknowledge that some of those missed connections (aw, jeez, who’d’a thought I’d make THAT reference?) were simply from the fear of making that connection. Those Lines might, indeed, have died but at least they would have been natural deaths instead of just sort of falling off a cliff, dragged by a huge hairy wolf made of fear.

I’m talking about rejection.

No one wants to hear that their work isn’t ready or good or anything that isn’t positive.

But I’m not afraid of that rejection any more. Not at all. I’ve gotten several “thank you but no” emails after submitting short stories and I got one very nice “I like it but it’s not ready” note.

But I made those connections. Those points were joined and now they have to be built upon.

I got there by having the time to spend on the novel, making the effort to revise the thing and make it better.

So how have I changed as a writer this year? Quite simply I’ve identified some glaringly obvious (now they’re obvious) problems with my work and made myself better. Hopefully I’m good, but I’m definitely better than I was when I wrote that novel that I’m so proud of.

That “I like it but it’s not ready” note wasn’t at all troublesome. In fact it increased my resolve to continue the Line that would take me from enthusiastic amateur writer to published author.

2013 is the year of having the confidence to build on those Lines, make the connections, and get to the next point. It’s time and I know it. So improved writing skills and the confidence to keep after it are the major changes for the year.

I’m looking forward to making the connections that will allow me to garner readers. Then building on them to define a universe that pulls you in.

And crossing off those Dead Lines and not worrying about them any more.

Jason Arnett is a storyteller living in Kansas and writing in the plains of the fantastic. Some of his work can be found at

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