One of the benefits of being the writer of a story is that it is yours. It is the product of your perseverance and imagination. You can do whatever you want with it.
You get to decide if it will be published or not. You might face challenges getting a publisher or agent to feel the same way about your story, but it is always your story. And these days, you don’t necessarily need a publisher. If you listen to people like Hugh Howey, it may be in your best interest to self-publish, where you get the lion’s share of profits and all of the control.
But before you get to the publishing phase, you get to decide if it is even done or not. It’s your story, full of your characters and your plots. You can change your mind about the direction of a subplot, and make it something different. Or you can choose to keep your work exactly as you’ve written, in spite of advice given by editors or critique groups. Your story is your story.
With that last point, just remember that you own your mistakes. You have the power to listen to advice just as you have the power to ignore it. Imagine how much better the Star Wars prequels could have been if George Lucas been given some advice about the stories. While it is unlikely the prequels could have lived up to the expectations, they could have been better.
But I digress.
It’s your story, every step of the way. Once you’ve finished the first draft, you can choose how much editing it needs. Maybe it needs a 3rd or 4th draft before it’s done. Perhaps it leaped from your mind onto the page wholly formed in the first draft, as Athena was born from Zeus’s breast (unlikely). You get to decide.
But even before that, you get to decide how your first draft is written. It’s up to you how many acts will be in your story, and what emotions you will trigger. You get to decide who lives and who dies, which loves are acknowledged, and which ones go unrequited. It’s on your shoulders to find the words that express the story and world that lives in your imagination.
It’s up to you to start your story. Perhaps you’re like me, standing just a couple of days away from starting something new and scary. The ideas have been dancing in your head for some time. Perhaps days, perhaps years. It’s on you to build the world, bit by bit. It’s your rocket ship designs or magic formula that will be expressed in the pages of your story.
No one else can write the story that’s in your head. Only you can see it and hear it and express it. And no one can stop you from writing it. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what color your skin is, or what genitals you possess, or wish to possess. You are the only one that can write your story, as long as you are willing to write it.
And somewhere out there, someone is waiting to read it.