I spent over twenty years trying to finish my first novel. Now, as of yesterday, I’ve published eight books. Sometimes it doesn’t seem real to me.
I’ve learned so much. The most important lesson of all, of course, has been to trust that I can do this. That when the ideas come, some will be worth pursuing. That when the page is blank, words will fill it. That when the rewrites start, much will be worth saving and those parts can be fit into a coherent plot. Finally, when I put that final product out there in front of the world, many people will enjoy it.
(Some won’t of course, and a few will take their pleasure saying so in unnecessarily snotty ways, but I’ve also learned that intentional hurtfulness is their problem, not mine. That’s a different sort of lesson.)
Besides all that, there is my killer knowledge of formatting text, my growing abilities to manipulate graphics, and my always increasing presence on social media. If you are looking for a hobby that will force you to stay technologically savvy, I highly recommend self-publishing.
And guess what? I now know what fruits and vegetables were native to Eurasia, when tea and coffee became popular in Europe, what a crossbow is and how to feint in fencing. Seriously, if you are looking for a hobby that will leave you more knowledgeable, may I suggest writing historical novels?
The truth is, I love what I do. I love writing books and I can’t imagine my life without it.
Which novel is my favorite? It’s always the one I’m working on. I spent the last month and a half putting the final polish on Coral’s book, so of course I’m in love with her and her story.
Tomorrow I will turn to the sketchy notes and two chapters that constitute the beginning of Celestine’s book. By Tuesday, I’m sure Celestine will have become the best main character I’ve ever created. It seems to be how I function.
Today, I’m just talking a breath, looking back at the road I’ve traveled and being glad that I function at all.