Isn't that the best writerly Christmas present ever? Someone who loves me--and who GETS this writing thing, even though she's not a writer--gave it to me this year. It pretty much sums up the past 11 years of my life.
That's right. Eleven.
My writing goes back farther than that, really. I self-published a non-fiction book in 2002 for a niche market, and believed myself to be an essayist, not a novelist. A couple years after doing the non-fic thing, though, I wrote my first (terrible terrible terrible) novel. And I haven't stopped since.
To date, I have written eleven novels. (There's that number again.) I don't intend to stop.
It took me five years to land an agent. I spent five years with him, and we parted agreeably when I expressed that I thought it would be a better fit for me to move to his assistant Danielle, if she would have me (fortunately this made her smile and dance a little). And I've just spent an amazing first year with her. I'm so excited about what we're currently working on that I can barely breathe.
Yes. After eleven years, I'M THAT EXCITED.
In the past couple of weeks, both as "Authoress" and as "Real Me", I've had folks online express that it's because of my blog/facebook posts/words/life that they haven't given up on their writing.
This means the world to me.
When I launched this blog in 2008, I never dreamed it would be a place people would come because THEY NEEDED TO HEAR MORE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THAT GAL WHO IS STILL WAITING FOR HER SHIP TO COME IN. In fact, had I known that, I may have thrown my computer out the third-story window and never written another word.
I mean, who wants to be THAT girl? THAT story? Who wants to be the one with the long, painful journey that others can derive hope/strength/encouragement from?
Yet that's my story. And I'm thankful for it.
I'm thankful for every person who says, "You haven't given up, so I'm not going to give up, either."
I'm thankful for every person who thinks
that, even if I never hear the words.
That's why I'm here. I'm convinced.
BUT. My journey isn't over. And I think 2017 is going to be a Very Good Year!
So, why am I so excited?
First of all, I have an incredibly talented, incredibly enthusiastic, incredibly incredible agent who SHARES MY BRAIN SPACE. I swear she does. It's like she's inside my stories with me, and her insight and editorial suggestions are downright spiffing. I adore working with her. For my latest work, she actually offered to read my outline before I even began the first draft. I took her up on it, of course, and her suggestions led me to write an EVEN BETTER STORY once I sat down to do it. She's been 100% on board with both of my current projects EVEN BEFORE THEIR FIRST DRAFTS WERE COMPLETE. And now that they're both finished works, she continues to be completely invested. She's my champion, my advocate, my cheerleader. I'm more thankful for her than I can express without sounding like a chattering ninny, so I'll stop here.
Secondly, the work that we've been subbing this year has come back with glowing words of praise and excellent insight that's helping me take a fresh look at it to see what needs to be done as we continue to move forward. I'm VERY EXCITED to continue to explore this story's possibilities, because I love it and believe in it and WANT TO SEE IT FLY. (Danielle believes it will, so on my doubtful days, I just remember the amazing gal to whom I've entrusted my work.)
Thirdly, my newest work is standing on the starting line, and my entire body is twitching as I wait for that gun to go off. I'm so excited about this one that my stomach goes hollow every time I think about it. Four of my beta readers -- four! -- told me that they were in tears. Not that I like making people cry, but when it comes to writing stories, I LIKE MAKING PEOPLE CRY. (Actually, the whole thing blows me away. For my words to evoke that depth of emotion is almost beyond comprehension. It's as humbling as it is exhilarating.)
Look at this wonderful, handcrafted mug--another beloved Christmas present, this one from a fellow writer. She ordered it for me because the dragon is wingless, like the ones in my current story. It's not easy to find wingless dragons depicted on much of anything (unless you're looking at Chinese New Year decorations), so she was thrilled when she found this for me. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. (On a side note, she's one of the beta readers who cried, apparently through the entire last 14 pages of my novel.)
This mug is the EMBODIMENT of my passion for writing. It's handmade (like a story), it's a gift from a fellow writer/adoring
reader, and it's A REFLECTION OF MY LATEST NOVEL. How can I feel anything but satisfied, energized, and absolutely geeked out when I curl my hands around it?
All this--ALL ALL ALL THIS--to say that ELEVEN YEARS AND I'M STILL PRESSING ON. I love what I do--the writing AND the encouraging. I don't plan on stopping either.
I'd like to thank each one of you for being part of my journey (and I'd also like to invite you to continue along for the ride).
I'd also like to thank the following (because it really does take a village to raise an author):
- Josh Getzler, for believing in me enough to take the plunge (with a novel we both still love)
- Gabrielle Harbowy, for interviewing me on her blog even before I was agented, and for being a bigger source of encouragement than she may realize
- Jodi Meadows, for taking me under her wing and pouring into me in ways no one else ever had
- Alison Weiss, for being an undying support of my blog, the now-defunct teen writer blog, aspiring authors at large, and me personally
- Peter Salomon, for being utterly solid and terribly supportive
- Adam Heine, for teaching me more about worldbuilding than should be humanly possible, and for making me laugh (a lot)
- Maggie Skye, for being my Biggest Supporter Ever, and an undying voice of encouragement
- Rena Rossner, for GETTING IT, and for spurring me on...and, truth be told, for loving my stuff enough to say she'd offer representation if she'd been reading as an agent
- Danielle Burby, whose praises I've already sung
- Mr. A, who won't let me quit, and who loves me in the midst of both angst and euphoria
I'm ready for the year. I'm ready to dig in, press on, inch forward. I'm ready to fully embrace the joy of writing, in all its ugliness and grit and constipated moments. I'm ready to fly.
Get ready to unfurl your wings and fly with me. We're in this together!