On the days that I write

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Over the past fourteen months, I have worked extremely hard to achieve the rite of passage from wearing the badge of a ‘would-be novelist’ to being able to proudly give myself the moniker of a self-published author of four novels. The road I followed on this journey was certainly not the one I sought, and it was undoubtedly fraught with peril, but it is a road I would travel one hundred times over to regain the confidence in myself I never had, but I now exude.

On the days that I write, I go to a different place. I am not me sitting in my tiny living room, enjoying the sparkling white lights that should have been put away after Christmas. I am a conduit for ideas that come from places I have never seen, and voices I have never heard. I knew writing a book would be an interesting journey, but I never knew how many hours could pass while I was basically in a fugue state, writing words that came from the far reaches of my mind, and from people I have never met, but merely created in the depths of my imagination.

On the days that I write, these characters slowly become a part of my family. Their back stories may not be fully written into my books, but I know these people. I know what makes them tick, and I listen the words they want to say as I let their stories flow from my brain, through my keyboard, and onto the page. When people read my books, they get to experience the same introduction to these characters I had as I wrote about them. They were not outlines on a page before I began the story. They introduced themselves to me the same way they introduce themselves to anyone who takes the time to read my work.

On most of the days that I write, I am blessed to continually hear those voices. I have had days when the voices are silent, and I try to fill the words on the page anticipating where they would want to go, but inevitably, I end up deleting many paragraphs when the characters finally voice their opinion and tell me what I had written was wrong. We come to an agreement, I delete the words I had written in their absence, and the story continues according to their vision.

My stories are their stories. I have learned to listen and not plan. I have heeded their wisdom, and I am bound to tell the tales they want to tell. I am restrained by an unwritten agreement to not put words in their mouths or share stories that are not true to their characters. On the days that I write, I am happy those characters keep coming back so we can continue our journey together.

Weaving a new reality

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I am on an epic journey and it is one I have been on before. Writing a book is a daunting task and one I have come to welcome with open arms. This creative expedition is unlike anything else I have experienced. It is an opening of the soul and a willingness to bleed words until the well runs dry.

The moments I doubt my talent far outweigh the times I feel I have captured lightning in a bottle. For each new paragraph I type, thinking these words will be the ones agents will fall over each other to represent, there is a glaring reminder of how many people are writing books and how few agents are looking for new talent. And yet, for some reason, I am compelled to ignore the obvious and dive head-first into the murky waters of becoming an author.

Call it a misguided faith in my ability or a simple obsession, I want to be known as a writer. I want people to read my books and I want to keep writing for many years to come. I have the ideas, I have the passion to write and I have the tenacity to follow my dream. Deep down, I have always known about this part of myself but I have swept it under the rug called reality. Thankfully, the threads of this rug are decisively coming undone and the definition of my reality is being woven in a new way.

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I am part dreamer, part writer and part spider, weaving the threads of my dreams into a possible reality and hoping to snag an agent in the silk of my creativity.

 

 

Crouching Author, Hidden Fear

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When you give yourself so fully to something you are committed to, anything you are committed to, there is always the hidden fear that your efforts may not be received as well as you would have hoped.  From the moment you send that something into the great unknown, the fear is multiplied exponentially and your hope for a good outcome is sabotaged by the nagging apprehension that continually plagues you.  Self-doubt is a vicious curse.

But then you begin to receive feedback, really positive feedback, and your doubts slowly abate.  You gradually allow yourself a few moments to revel in the glory of the true affirmation of your talent and you think that your lack of conviction stems from your inability to believe that your commitment to your craft is worthy of praise.

I am that crouching author.  I have the hidden fear and the regrettable ability to doubt myself when it comes to my writing.  Only recently have I begun to believe more in my talent because people have responded so well to my writing and have been very encouraging.  It is one thing to write.  It is truly another to have people enjoy what  you write.

I can honestly say, putting myself out there has been a lesson in gaining confidence.  Somewhere under the veil of hesitation lay a willingness to expose the most natural part of myself, the writer in me, and I have been truly overwhelmed by the affirmations I have received as well as the encouragement to keep writing.  There is much less fear now and so much more belief that I can do this.  I can be a writer.  Wait.  Forget that.  There is no more fear.   I am a writer.