When I was a senior in college, a fire ignited inside me. It was a love for the written word that I didn’t really know was in me. It was lit by a few professors who saw something I didn’t and urged me to think bigger. It was fanned by a fiancee who made me believe the sky was the limit and had bigger dreams for me than I ever dared to dream for myself. It burst into flame when a man I barely knew took me under his wing and made me his co-author.
The fire dulled a bit when I had my first real taste of the publishing world and the challenges that come with pursuing publication. I had a big break, and I will forever be grateful for it, but there were some roadblocks along the way that made me question whether or not I really had any talent as a writer. Comments were made that caused me to wonder if, perhaps, I had set too lofty a goal in my endeavors toward authorship.
Then I had a baby. And another one. And another one. And I just figured the dream of being a writer was over for me. Until I discovered blogging and met other fabulous writers and wondered if maybe, juuuust maybe, I should give the whole writer thing a second chance.
The end of last year brought some big encouragements my way. I met people who, despite the fact that they barely knew me, believed in me. Strangers urged me to write more.* And I began to wonder and think and ponder and pray. Still those doubts nagged in the back of my mind. What if I fail? What if I’m no good? What if I’ve set up this expectation that I’m some kind of spectacular communicator of the written word when really I stink?
If any of you read the Christmas letter I sent out that was fraught with typos, you know idea of me being a stellar communicator is laughable…
But I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe it was time for me to give my own writing a second chance. So I made a goal for 2011. I decided that this would be the year I finish my novel. The same novel that took birth my senior year of college. The same novel that I spent a month in Ukraine researching when I was pregnant with Sloan. The same novel that is so stuck in my head it’s difficult for me to even think about writing another story.
I revisited my novel last night. I liked some of what I read and some of it made me want to roll on broken glass. But the characters were there waiting for me. They are still fresh in my mind and their stories are primed for completion. The trip Lee and I took overseas last fall gave me mighty inspiration for the novel. Pictures formed in my head that weren’t there before and storylines that once seemed lifeless took breath.
It’s in there. And I have to get it out. Do you think I can convince Lee to take me on another European vacation to further my inspiration?
I don’t know if this book will be any good. I hope I at least do the characters and the story justice. The truth is, I know full well I’m not the greatest writer out there. But I also know that I have a story to tell and if I don’t get it out of my head, I might well explode. And think of the mess that would make!
Yes, the story is there. And today? Today I picked it back up again. Wish me luck. I really, really do want to finish it.
*To those who have encouraged me over the years, both past and present, I can’t thank you enough. Most of you have no idea how well timed your words of encouragement were to me. I am exceedingly grateful to all who have offered words of affirmation when my heart needed it most.
(Incidentally, I do not in any way, shape or form write this post to garner more praise or encouragement or to try and toot my own horn. I am simply processing the emotions that are swirling inside. Just wanted to make that clear!)