How I became an author

I was always a writer. Always. But I ignored all of the telltale signs. For decades. Because it wasn’t practical. I wasn’t talented enough. And lots of other terrible reasons that I believed without awareness.

I turned 30 and realized that the only one who was keeping me from writing–was me.

Nearly two years ago, I participated in my first ever NaNoWriMo (November 2013). It was an exhilarating experience and I came away from it with my first draft of my novel. (I may have exclaimed to my husband that it was the single most personally satisfying and happy moment in my life. He said, “Besides me and the kids, right?” I said, pretty unconvincingly, “Uh huh.”)

Then the hard work started.

Nearly a third of what I wrote was pure disaster. Like, if I die before I finish this and someone reads it, I’ll be mortified.

I got to work on my second draft. And when I was done, I had a 50,000 word novel.

So the hard work started.

I added a new storyline by developing a few secondary characters. It was miraculous what happened when I did that. But then the plot holes became something I had to deal with.

I had several beta readers give me feedback. I made changes upon changes, a total of four drafts. I wrote my basic query letter and synopsis. And I started submitting my manuscript to agents.

And now I’m at the new hard part.

I’ve had some full manuscript requests. I’ve had some very glowing rejections (there is such a thing!). I’ve gone through phases, where I’ve taken breaks and then taken a deep breath and plunged under again.

I became an author when I decided I was an author. No book deal. No accolades. Just me writing books, honoring my place in the world.

I’ve finally started my second novel. I had a bunch of false starts. I spent two years trying to get around the messiness of writing the first book, to avoid the painstaking process. I tried to conceive ideas, create characters, plug in a plot, anything to avoid the discomfort of writing and rewriting.

And then I listened to what all of the masters have said in one way or another:

The only way to write–is to write.

So true. So simple. So hard.

But glorious. Sublime.

The only way to write–is to write.


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