Okay I finally did it. Yesterday I sent out four query letters and I hope to get some more out this weekend. It's funny how each milestone makes me feel more and more like I am a writer. First it was joining a writing group. Having deadlines placed before me, doing daily writing exercises. It made me feel like I was a writer.
But after awhile I knew I had to do more. I wrote, but was I really a writer? So my friend Aly pushed me to do more. "Write a book," she said. Until that point I had started several stories, never finishing one. So I took her challenge and I wrote 85,000 words. And I felt like a writer.
But I couldn't do anything with it. The grammar was sloppy, the story had flaws, and who else, besides its creator could love it? So I went to workshops and I read books and I edited that baby until it was 110,000 words of polished perfection. And I thought I am a writer.
And then I put my book on a shelf and went on with life. I took the National Writer's Month challenge and wrote 50,000 words of a new story in a month. It made me remember why I loved to write, the joy of creating a new world, where anything was possible. It was a power trip and I liked it. I got a little certificate and I thought to myself, I am a writer.
But my book, the one I slaved over and put my heart into, still sat on a shelf waiting for me to do something. I kept telling myself, I write because I love it. I write because it is a way for me to relax, to do something for myself. I don't care if no one else likes it. But a strange thing happened, I let my book off its shelf and some people read it. Sure they were family and friends, but they liked it. And I was glad. Not because I want to win prizes and be famous (although come on, how cool would it be to walk into Barnes and Noble and see your book on a shelf?), but because after a while your characters become part of you. And I thought, I am a writer.
Now, I'm not delusional. I don't think this first book is Pulitzer winning material. All it is, is a fun action adventure story. It probably won't change anyone's life, but it might make them smile and laugh and remember their first loves. And after all, isn't that why we write? To give hope, and happiness to those who read our writings? So yesterday, after weeks of ho-humming, I finally made the next step in my writing adventure. Now my story is out there, or at least a one page letter telling as much about it as possible, on its way across the country to the people in NY who decide its fate. Maybe it will make it, maybe it won't. One thing is for sure though, I can officially say...I am a writer.
So thank you Alyson and Heidi for pushing me and editing and listening to my ideas. Thanks D and kids for living with a messy house and extra TV time on days when mom got the writing bug and had to get the idea out on paper. Thanks to Savy and my Mom who were my other official readers. There is only one thing left to do.
It is time to start the next story!