I Wrote a Book. Now What?
I wrote a book. I did it. A year ago I was sitting in Aspen, brainstorming ideas for short stories or maybe a novel. Fresh off some writing workshops, I was itching to find my story. I wrote a few pieces or rather, started a few. Nothing came of those. In fact, I never finished any of those. I don’t think. I moved on as the year progressed.
I poured my heart and soul into a short story that I’m still actively sending to publications. I had to dig though some deep shit in my own life to write that story and at times it was painful and raw, but I did it. I revised it so much that it doesn’t quite look or read the same as the first draft. Such is writing life. It’s better.
June came around, the warm sun and beauty of summer in Chicago filled my life. In that early haze of warmer winds and sunblock and endless days, I got an idea for a novel.
A real novel. I’ve always wanted to write one but I guess my story wasn’t ready until I was 33 and it was 2018. I wrote and wrote. I managed to juggle a few side gigs, and two kids home for the summer, and volunteering, and yet somehow, this story found its own little burrow in my heart and burst from my chest like sunbeams.
On December 23rd, 2018, around 10p.m. GMT, maybe a little after, I’m not sure of the exact minute. I typed the last period of that novel. I finished it. I closed my laptop and left it on a large wooden dining table, connected to the world through the cord in the wall, silently sitting there behind the silver and glass, waiting for the world to discover it one day.
I set a goal in summer to be done by the close of the year. As fall and leaves and temperatures dropped around Chicago, I resigned myself to the notion that it would wrap up in early 2019. I just wasn’t getting as much writing time in as I’d hoped. Life and responsibilities dashed in and out of my set writing times, Mondays and Fridays. Somehow, a new obligation landed on my shoulders and my brain excused myself from actively sticking to those writing days. And extending the self-imposed deadline.
When you’re the only person you answer to, you can do that. So I did.
Then the magic of the 23rd happened in Aspen, Colorado. And I finished the book.
As I typed the words Epilogue, I couldn’t quite believe it. I took a moment to just stare at that word and the blinking cursor after it. I’d really done it. Then the Epilogue poured out of me in about thirty minutes. And just like that, I was done. For now.
It left me feeling much like I do when I finish reading a good book. Not sure what to do with my life now. What am I now that I’m done with this story? I’m in draft phase, of course, but really, I just keep thinking, what happens now? Do I have another story? Do I send my people, I created them, into the world? I will try.
On that note, if you know a good publisher looking for a new novel…..I know a gal…..
Happy Christmas and New Year. Sometimes we give ourselves gifts, and 2018 was the year I gave myself the gift of writing a complete story. I hope one day you get the chance to read it and fall in love with my people the way I have.