Last week – 9 years after starting the damn thing – I finally shared the first six chapters of my novel with 3 people. And it was one of the hardest damn things I have ever done.
Pressing send on that email did not come easy. I closed out of the draft several times before finally doing it. And this was sharing it with my mother and two best friends…my god…can you imagine the stress when I first have to share it with an agent or editor.
Or gasp…send it out blindly just hoping someone will like it! Okay…baby steps here…that’s a long way off.
I started this book when my oldest daughter was only a few months old. I was still dealing with the drama around her early arrival and my experiences as a first-time mother of a NICU baby.
I took a fiction writing course and started working on the book – a women’s fiction (chick lit) book about an aspiring broadcast journalist whose journey to achieve her career goals are derailed by a boy and then a preemie baby. I wrote 6 chapters in that class and loved the whole process.
Then the class ended, I filed away my pages and life got in the way of my dreams of making my novel a reality. Last summer I found the file, re-read my not so well written prose – and decided to resurrect it. I found the motivation to really dive head first into it by joining NaNoWriMo – where I managed to write 50,000 words in one month to make it into an almost book.
No one – other than the people in my fiction class all those years ago – had ever read a word of it. Until now. Now it’s out there. Now it’s real because I have readers.
And the best part is – they like it. They really really like it. And not just because they are being nice to me and telling me they do – because we don’t have that kind of relationship. They would tell me – in a very kind way – if the writing was crap. Because I would want them to and they know that.
This morning I was chatting to one of my friends about her thoughts on the characters. And every single thing she said about them was what I had wanted. She was experiencing my characters, my creations exactly the way I wanted my readers to. She was questioning the right things, feeling the right feelings and it was – not gonna lie – one of the coolest things I have ever experienced.
“It’s so cool,” she said to me. “Getting to talk to the author like this.”
That’s me she was talking to…the author. Because…I’m an author now. And I like that feeling…
And even if it never gets published. Even if this first novel of mine never hits bookshelves or gets downloaded from Amazon I now have all the motivation I need to finish it.
Because my readers – all 3 of them – want to know how the story ends. And I can’t just leave ’em hanging.