I haven’t properly celebrated yet, but I accomplished something this week that no one can ever take away from me. It’s not something entirely unique, but it’s special to me.
I finished writing a book. I have to say that again for my own benefit (forgive my self-indulgence): I wrote a book. I wrote a freakin’ book.
Now, I know it’s only the first draft and, given this, it probably reeks of bad writing and storytelling. I know that there will be much editing and rewriting and more editing to go.
There will also be the moment I hand my work to others that are going to tear it apart. I will probably go home and cry after my workshops, but hopefully I will get over it fairly quickly so I can begin paste the pieces back together.
This is why I am even in California. I am a writer, but a writer needs a writing community – a select few that will be honest with you. People who, unlike the parents who have told their kids lies their whole lives, telling them that they are good singers, and then the kids audition for American Idol and humiliate themselves, (that was a really long supplemental phrase [followed by this aside]) will break me down and build me back up.
But even harder than handing my work to my colleagues, I will be letting Jami (my wife) read my work. She is my best reader, but she is also the harshest. Well, she might not be the harshest, but it always seems unbearable to hear her questions and critiques. I mean, she’s supposed to love and support me, and cheer me on, etc. but, on many of these occasions when we discuss my work, we end up in an argument because I become so defensive. I mean, it’s my precious work that I have labored over for hours and days and weeks and months, and she just guts it open. She might as well be gutting me open.
But there eventually comes a point where I stop guarding my writing with my life and realize she is doing what she is supposed to do: love me. Love me enough to not coddle me.
So what next? I’m going to tuck this bad boy away for a few weeks and forget about it. Then I’m going to break out the red pen (I actually prefer a pencil, but you get the point) and get to work again. Then I’ll hand it off to my friends. Then I’ll take their critiques into consideration as I work on further edits and polishing the crap out of it before querying some agents, who will undoubtedly queue up at my door and fight to represent me. You know how it is when you know you’re great.
Anyway, thanks for reading this post, and thanks to everyone who has taken this journey with me, dragging me along at times. My bi-polar writing self (if you don’t know what this means, ask) couldn’t have done it without your support.