September 15, 2011

Happiness is a kind word and a baseball bat

In the past year I've learned that the life of a writer, or at least the life of this writer, is one of constant insecurity. What I'm writing isn't good enough.  My ideas are cliche. I'm unoriginal. I'm boring.

Seriously. These thoughts plague me! They drive me nuts!  Even Charles says I've been more emotional since I began working on my book last November.

However, I've persevered, despite all my fear and uncertainty, because I am a writer. I am! It's what I do, every night, from now till forever.  At least until I can quit my job and write during the day instead...when I'm all rich and famous....HA!!

Anyway, it's hard, and I do get frustrated and sad sometimes. I worry that I'm the only writer who's ever felt like it's all so overwhelming, this quest to write and publish a book. I know it's silly, but I worry that no one has faith in me, and sometimes I just want someone to be proud of me.

But this week has been so exciting! Want to hear why? Good, because I was going to tell you anyway.

Earlier this week, an agent I follow on the Internets recommended a writing/publishing class that's being offered this month in Manhattan.  Taught by a bona fide, published suspense author, it sounded so great I wished really hard that I could take it.  However, living in South Carolina, I realized the commute was too long.

But in the comments section of the blog post, I noticed another non-local had asked about online courses, and the teacher had already responded and said, "email me if you have any suggestions."  Well, I work for a global software company, right? We do all sorts of online meetings and teleconferences! I wondered if I could help, even a little.

So I emailed the teacher and told her how much I wished I could take her class, and that if she did something online I'd love to participate.  I mentioned in passing that I missed living in tri-state area, particularly now that I know I'm a writer.

And would you believe, she emailed me back within about 20 minutes.  And in addition to asking about what ideas I had for online classes, she said something so simple and profound.  "Congratulations," she said, "On that transition into being a real writer."  I'm paraphrasing, but wow. No one ever congratulated me for calling myself a writer.

We emailed back and forth, and I couldn't believe how nice she was, how supportive, how generous with advice and anecdotes.  So then of course I had to google her, not quite believing a "real writer" could be this nice.  I found out...she is!  Her blog is partially devoted to posting mystery writers' "made it moments," when they realized they were finally "real writers".  I've read a few already, and they're amazing.  Turns out, I'm not alone in feeling overwhelmed. I'm not alone in wondering if I'm good enough, and feeling intoxicated by the idea of someday succeeding at this crazy scheme.  I'm not alone in being scared.

It is damn inspirational, realizing I'm not alone.

So. In case you need a pick-me-up, I suggest you check out the web site of this fabulous woman, Jenny Milchman. And Jenny, if you read this, thank you SO much for your kind words this week!

*************

And in case that wasn't enough to cheer me up, there was icing on the cake!  

Yesterday, I was in the backyard working out while Zoe played on her swings. I saw the UPS truck stop at my house, and I wondered what they were delivering; usually I know what Charles has ordered.  

Moments later, the back door opened, and Charles told me to close my eyes. He sounded giddy. I closed my eyes, held out my hands, and into them he placed....a Louisville Slugger! It was gorgeous! I squealed! I bounced and hugged him and showed it off to Zoe.

Sort of random? Not really.  You see, the main character in my book happens to be a super-cool zombie killer, and her weapon of choice? A Louisville Slugger!!  

It felt soooooo good in my hands, even when it gave me a splinter.  So solid! So heavy! So...deadly!! It made me feel like I'd made a great decision.

And by buying that for me, Charles let me know he gets it. He supports me and my crazy writing. He might...even be a little bit proud.  

And I love that.  Thank you, honey. You're awesome.


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