I started writing 10 years ago. I’d written a bit in high school, but only a few pages of a story, and back then (20-some years ago, gasp!) there weren’t resources like there are today for writers. So I put the pages away (I still have them…it’s actually not a bad idea germ) and never did anything with them. Never finished the story.
Then, in April of 2003, I woke up with a story (The Siren) that would have consumed me if I didn’t write it down. Seven pages in I decided to figure out how to become a “real” writer. At the time, I was working as an assistant to a financial advisor, and found out his cousin (aunt? sister?) was Lynn Kurland (yes, THE Lynn Kurland!). She was gracious enough to take my call and encouraged me to keep writing. The next month, I attended my first conference, the national Romance Writers of America convention in NYC. I came home with a renewed vigor and finished my story.
Fast forward ten years, four books, one divorce, two dozen conferences, one marriage, two babies.
I’ve been crazed and frantic working up to this launch. The 51 site, month-long blog tour has taken an amazing amount of time (and I’m so grateful for everyone who hosted, commented, entered, put up with my posts–and who will continue to through the end of the tour). In normal fashion, I’ve taken the entire launch party over the top instead of a quiet signing at a bookstore somewhere. It would be very easy for me to miss out on the entire point and collapse on Saturday not realizing the blip of a milestone all the chaos was supposed to be about.
This morning I forced myself to acknowledge the moment, and got all choked up thinking about what this really means to me. This book has been my arch-nemesis. Because of this book I’ve thrown it across the room, quit writing, started writing again, grafitiied my office wall with writing quotes, burned the manuscript, started 4 other books to get it out of my head, cried, screamed, laughed, acknowledged the good parts, sent it off to a billion agents and publishers, annoyed my friends and critique partners with it….Oooh! This book!!
Writing –for me– is hard work. I’m not a natural story-teller (just ask anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of one of my reenactments) but I don’t know how to give up. And I’ve tried. Oh, god, have I tried. So I write and edit and edit and edit and edit until the story makes sense to someone other than me.
I’m lucky to have a lot of amazing mentors, writers who’ve been around for centuries (jk, guys), who’ve published millions of books, who’ve been on every bestselling list there is. According to them, I shouldn’t be making such a big deal about my book. “You don’t have a party when you finish a report at work, do you?” But I can’t help it…I’m so amazed that this milestone is actually here. AND people (other than my mom!) really seem to like the book.
After all the editing and yelling and fit throwing and fixing, I tried to let go of my emotional attachment to the book and these characters. I didn’t call it my baby, I tried to think of it as a commodity, something I’d created and was now sending into the world. But books don’t work quite like widgets. I’m boxing up people I’ve spent a LOT of time with…like more time than my children and husband. I know their fears, their secrets, their innermost thoughts. How do I just forget all that and think of them as words on a page? How do I not care what others think about them? Maybe after I have 20 books under my belt I’ll figure it out, but until then, I’m going to stress over ever review, every sale, every milestone.
All in all, this journey to publication has been a wild one, fraught with rejection (including, “Maybe you should take up poetry”), and challenges, and successes. I wouldn’t change a single one. I’m proud of this moment.
I started the book that that launched this adventure on May 30, 2003. Today, May 30, 2013, my very first published book hits the shelves.
The universe is amazing.