It’s 6:01 pm EST. The sun is setting. And my world has changed, if ever so slightly.
An hour ago I finished the first draft on my second publication. Granted, it’s a short story. But right now, I’ll take all the credit in the world. This damn thing took me three months to structure, draft, clean, revise, and clean again. I just sent it out to my three amazing friends who are my editors. (An aside: thank god for friends that are smart, literate, and great writers/editors.)
Two months back, I read the advice of a Big 5 editor. She recommended authors write short stories in between novels. She explained that it helped them clean their craft, to focus only on the writing with less pressure of plotting a full-length novel. As luck would have it, I found myself on that path inadvertently, organically. With a lemon twist of sour frustration.
My second novel – part of a series – is about 50% complete. I’ve got the structure, and the plot. And it has a really inspiring and thought-provoking theme. I’m digging it. A lot. But I just felt I could improve my ‘voice.’ You know, as an artist. (How corny does that sound?!?) But in all honesty, I didn’t want to spend more time on what is going to be a super cool story until I’d at least tried to raise my game as a writer.
Somewhat unwittingly, I allowed myself to ask, ‘What would happen if your novel’s protagonist ended up in a very unique, one-off dilemma? How would you unfold + unpack that story?” Very Stephen King, to be fair. So I just started down that path. And three months later I had a short story I’m really, truly proud of.
Tonight, about a minute after saving the Scrivener file, I realized, crap, I’m on the road to publish my second work. This is no longer a fluke. Maybe I should just admit I’m a writer.
About a minute after that thought trumpeted its way across my brain, I poured a celebratory drink. My writing is not a one-off fluke: I’m officially a writer. Exclamation point.
The best bit? The thought settled down around me like the comfortable, ugly, winter blanket on the sofa that has gone slightly too long without a wash. It’s the blanket that gets folded up and shoved in the closet when company comes. It’s also the first thing that gets pulled out when it’s just me, the hubby, and the dog on a cold night.
Maybe on the third novel, I’ll wear my author blanket more publicly. Or not. Either way, I’m really proud tonight.