I have no idea why I want to talk about this. Maybe it’s because I’m close to finishing a manuscript. Maybe it’s the news I received that I can’t share yet. Maybe it’s helping my mentee (Hi, D!) this week with her manuscript. I can’t pinpoint why but I’ve been looking back on my writing journey and how far I’ve come in five years.

When I decided to write, (yep, that’s what I did, just one day said hey, I love to read why not write). My naive self thought it was that simple. Don’t laugh. I told you it was naive.

I sat down and wrote my first chapter, POSTIVE I would get raving reviews. Oh, Esme you have so much talent. The editors will be lining up at your door.

Then I received my first crit. Hello, rude awakening. I knew NOTHING. What is this POV thing? What was the difference between that and deep POV? It seemed really unfair that there were two versions of the same dang thing.

Show verses Tell? Huh? What was wrong with the overuse of dialogue tags? A reader has to know who’s talking!

I’ll never forget that first crit. I knew I had a lot of work to do. The question was did I want to pursue this? I don’t really know why I decided to bite the bullet and move ahead. I wasn’t one who’d written all my life, I didn’t have a passion for it, I didn’t feel like I had to write. Maybe it was the challenge. I was a stay at home mom to infant twins. My day was filled with crying, feeding, burping and changing. A huge change from a woman who’d worked in an office and had always been busy. Writing became what I did to keep me busy. Brain exercise.

I started off buying a writing book. Yeah, mistake. I’m sooooo not one of these people who can read a book about writing and actually have the information sink into my head. It was a complete snoozefest for me. So I pushed the book aside and have never picked up another one. I learned to write by writing. Probably the long way to take, but I’ve always learned by doing. I took every crit to heart, worked hard to correct my mistakes, grew that thick skin.

Now I’m sitting here five years later, looking back at where I started and I smile. It’s been a long journey, one that is far from over, but I’ve come a long way from the woman who thought, hey I’ll write a book and they will come. I know it’s not that simple. I know you have to put every bit of yourself into each book. I’ve experienced the hardships, the rejections, writer’s block. I can’t say that it’s gotten easier, because in truth it hasn’t. I still feel the butterflies as I press send, the sting of rejection, the doubt. It’s still all there, but with one major difference.

I have the passion to write. I have the need. It’s become a part of who I am and I can’t imagine it not being a part of my life.

It’s funny the direction life takes you, but I’ve ended exactly where I’m supposed to be.

So what do you look back on? What makes that small smile come to your lips? Or have you shaking your head at how naïve you were?

Thanks for letting me share that.


Cameo Brown said...

Was thinking about this recently while trying to decide whether to continue or not. Funny looking back at how it all began. Bittersweet. :)

Rebecca Royce said...

For those of us who have been lucky enough to read your work there is no doubt that you are hugely talented with a tremendous writing future ahead. Bravo on your success Esme!

Abby Niles said...

Cameo--It is bittersweet. Ups and downs and everything in between. I was just thinking earlier that authors really don't get the credit they deserve. Unless you write, no one understands what a writer goes through. The hard knocks we take, but we have to get right back up and keep going. It does take an emotional toll.

Rebecca--Thank you, hon! That made me smile.

Carol Ericson said...

Esme, yes, I was very naive at the beginning. I guess what I didn't realize more than anything about this process is how sloooowwww it all is. Editors and agents can take so long to respond to your submissions. Even once you're published, editors can take a long time. Then it takes a long time to get paid! I still have the goal of quitting the day job, but now I realize it's going to take longer than I first anticipated.