No one was more surprised than me when a publisher took my novel.
I’m lazy. Not to mention, shiftless. I’ve had real jobs most of my adult life. I liked coming in late, taking long lunches, leaving early. And that’s when I worked from home. Writing anything other than a check, grocery or to do list (for someone else to do) didn’t cross my underused mind until just about the time I started getting AARP stuff in the mail.
For no good reason, I wrote. I’d had some prodding. My friend told me I had some good stories. She kept telling me, because I’m slow on the uptake and didn’t get it. Then, exasperated, she told me she’d steal them if I didn’t start writing them down. She’s a writer too. Then another friend got published, well into his seventies and didn’t seem the writer type. He encouraged me, too. So, with a “if they can do it, so can I,” chip on my shoulder, I started. My husband told me he thought I had a lot of talent. That sealed it. Yep, I’m that kinda girl. My heart skips a beat when my husband likes what I do, so I do more of it. I wrote a pretty bad book and felt too embarrassed to submit it anywhere. Then I wrote another, better one. I hung around other writers, met an agent through them, and here I am. Writing novels.
It was hard - it still is.
Since I started, I’ve read up a bit on the writing craft. Some say they were born writers, never thought of doing anything else. Not me. In fact, since I’ve got a book just recently launched, I can say with truth – I’m a writer. But I think of doing something else...anything else. I often wonder if J Crew is hiring. I usually think this when staring at a blank screen - in my pajamas, cold coffee on the nightstand with bed hair, where I’ve been for days, blinking at the white space in front of me.
Did I say writing is hard?
But there’s something about getting a good sentence on the page. You know the one. You’ve wracked your brain, consulted the thesaurus, tried plagiarizing, rearranged words like so many Legos. And then it comes. That one perfect sentence. And then another one after it. Before you know it, you’re writing. And, that’s not all. Is there anything more gratifying than hearing someone laugh at your jokes? Or, cry at your sentiment? Someone that isn’t your mother? That’s what I’m talkin’ about.
There’s also something really special about acceptance into the tribe of writers. As a group, we’re pretty weird. We belong together, not acting out what we write. I get teary thinking of all those who taught me how to tell a story through the written word, with no remuneration other than the odd roast chicken or hot dog dinner. They encouraged me, criticized me, cheered me on, hurt my feelings, thinned my ego, and thickened my skin. I’ve never been part of a more generous group.
And that’s the greatest gift of all.
I hope you read my book and my blog. That would make me the luckiest, lazy, shiftless writer ever.