I’ve been closing in on the final chapters of my novel. Sticking to a rigorous writing and editing schedule. My kids have gotten used to seeing my face illuminated by the glow of my laptop screen. Behind the writing though, there’s been a constant agonizing over the story and if people will enjoy it–connect with the characters and their journey– as much as I have. I wonder if I will be able to go through the process of self-publishing successfully. Long story short…I drive myself crazy.
But one night last week, as my I was yet again hunched over my laptop, my husband ushered my daughter in to say goodnight to me. It was bedtime. I typically write in bed, so she jumped up and crawled her way over to me. She wrapped her little arms around my neck and gazed down at my screen.
“What are you doing?” She asked me.
“Writing a book,” I told her. She thought for a beat, tossing the idea around her four-year-old head.
“Wow. That’s a lot of words.” She said definitively. I looked at her.
“Yeah. It is.” She kissed me good night and hopped down and was off to bed. But her words sat with me. For all the worrying that I was doing–agonizing over details and what may be or not. I forgot that I had been sitting here, for months, hammering away at a story. Writing a lot of words.
I often wonder why most people don’t write. Writing always came easy to me. It seemed natural to form my ideas in cohesive words and paragraphs that invoked feelings and wonder and empathy.
On the other hand, everyone writes. No one made it out of school without having to write a report, a short narrative, or even take notes. Writing was nothing special. Or so I thought.
With so much access to quick publishing, why doesn’t everyone take this up? Why isn’t EVERYONE writing novels? There is still only a small portion of us who designate ourselves as writers. As people who sit down at a computer with a goal of writing words, a lot of them, that tell a story based in fantasy or real life. There’s something special and honorable about having that level of dedication to put thousands of words on a page out of pure enjoyment and hope.
I’m trying to revel in the journey of things. I get hyper-focused on the end goal and forget to experience everything that got me there. Stopping to smell the roses, or count the words, is such an important part of the process because…well, let me put this a different way.
When I got married, I spent over a year planning every little detail of the ceremony and reception. The place settings, the candles, venue, menus, keepsakes, food, even the font on the programs. I mulled over everything. And then the event came. And then it went and when my husband got back home after the honeymoon, I sat in our bedroom, and I cried.
I cried because I couldn’t believe that something I planned, something that was my project for so long, was over in just a few short hours. It went by in a total blur. At the end of the night, I watched everything be swept into large garbage bags. I realized then that the joy didn’t only come from the thing. It came from everything before it.
All the work and time put into it. I can remember vividly all the trips to the venues. My husband and I talking excitedly on the train about which place we liked best. The food we tasted. Picking out items for our centerpieces. THAT was where the joy lived. In the labor and in the time.
I have to remember this. For all my books. I have to simply enjoy the act of writing all these words. All 80,613 of them. I want to enjoy exploring the what-ifs of life through script. Mostly, so that when the event of publishing my work comes and goes, I’m still left with the memories of the joy.
Read my first novel today on Wattpad: “Say When”. It the urban chick lit you’ve been missing in your life.