So. I am a Capital-W-Writer. Awesome! The moment in which I made that declaration and changed my fate forever came and went. And I wrote.
What did I write? Oh, bits here, pieces there. I started a few things … heck, I started a LOT of things. But did I finish anything? Oh no. No, no, no, no, no! There wasn’t time to finish anything. Well, I’ll use that as my excuse. In fact, there wasn’t inspiration to finish anything. Funny word, inspiration. It’s from the Latin for drawing things in, like air into the lungs. So yes, technically I had plenty of inspiration. It was the expiration where I had problems. I claimed that it was impossible to write without being moved by a deeper force to get things out on the page.
And so I wrote in fits and starts. Lots of fan fiction too. I never finished anything. Years and years later, a decade even, after declaring myself a Capital-W-Writer with a loud YAWP I still hadn’t finished a single novel. And don’t get me started on short stories or poetry. They’re a thousand times harder for me than novels. But I sit here now having finished seven novels and, inshallah*, within a week or so of finishing an eighth, submitting to agents with a book I’ve slated to indie publish at the end of September. What happened?
I’ll tell you what happened. I had my heart broken. BADLY.
I dated Brent for six months. Well, no, technically I dated Brent for three months but he forgot to tell me he broke up with me for another three months until I called him on it. It was bad. I was devastated. I thought I was going to marry him. I was 33 at the time and I considered myself an old maid. My Mom was married at 32, so…. And guess what. He started dating someone else less than a month later. And guess what again. They were engaged by Christmas. [insert profane diatribe here]
Just when I had gotten over my heartbreak salt was rubbed into my wounds. *cough*bastard*cough* I had a good cry and went to church the next morning feeling like the last dusty, dented can of cat food pushed way back into a corner of the shelf, unwanted. Now, I like to go to church early because there is a period of quiet time with special music before the service starts. I sat down, miserable, lonely, and just let my mind relax. I wasn’t praying, I had no agenda, I just wanted to sit there and crumble in peace.
And then, I kid you not, a question popped into my head. Not from me either. The question was, “If you had to choose between having a perfect, loving relationship with a man but never being able to write another word ever, which would you choose?” And before the question was finished being asked I knew my answer. “I would choose WRITING!” And the reply echoed back as clear as my cousin’s words on that brisk October afternoon. “THEN WRITE”.
I kid you not. I went home after church that morning and started writing what eventually became my first novel, The Loyal Heart. I wrote every day, three hours in the evening when I got home from work and at least five hours each day on the weekend. Granted, it was the dead of winter and I had no social life to speak of, but within a month and a half I had written 250,000 words of awesome. Okay, not awesome, but good. And then I found out that romance novels are generally no longer than 100,000 words long. Oops. (I have since cut The Loyal Heart down to 119,000 words.) And what did I do after I finished that one? I wrote the second book in the trilogy, The Faithful Heart. Yeah, it was (and unfortunately still is) 200,000 words long. Talk about inspiration expiring all over the place!
I also snapped out of a deep, dark funk that had lasted for eight months. And I thawed my heart. And I found my soul. I remembered that I am a Capital-W-Writer.
Now I’m 37 and still single (dammit!). But I am happier than I have ever been. I’m in love, in love with an imagination full of lives and stories. So what do I do now? Well, when you’re brimming with this much love there’s only one thing you can do. Share it.
But how ….
(to be continued)
*The term “inshallah” means “God willing”. It’s a Muslim phrase which I’ve picked up from some of the guys on my cricket team. It has a beautiful ring to it.