Tonight, one year ago, on December 21, 2008, my world changed dramatically. I started writing my first novel. I didn't want to write a novel. I didn't know how to write a novel. It just sort of happened.
Today I went to the grocery store to pick up ingredients to bake chocolate chip cookies. Why? Because that's what I was doing this time last year when the story of The Kindrily crashed into my life at breakneck speed. I was baking cookies and listening to an old Ella Fitzgerald song. One line from Someone to Watch Over Me, created an image in my head of a green-eyed girl who had an amazing, tragic, and magical story to tell. So I started telling it. With no idea what I was doing, or how to write a chapter, much less a whole novel. I got so consumed by it that I burnt the cookies. I've decided to make the event an annual tradition, except tonight I may set a timer.
A year later and my story has been beta read by a beloved few, edited over and over, hacked and slashed, had action and conflict added to it. My MS has been worked and reworked and improving every step of the way.
So have I. Becoming a great writer is a long process. I'm not even close to being great yet, but my goodness, I have come a long way in 365 days.
I finished a novel. I attended the Pikes Peak Writers conference. I met talented writers, agents, and editors. I've developed near and dear friendships with my betas--and at times I wonder what I ever did without those gals in my life. I have read more books than usual and appreciated them in a new way. I have fallen in love with my characters; cried for them, laughed at them, cheered them on, killed them off, and gave them life again.
The most amazing part of all of this is even though I know how much work was required to "finish" a novel, and how slim the odds are of my story getting published, I am writing my second one. The reward isn't in getting the book deal (though that would be fantastic) the reward is creating. Falling in love--and hate--and being a part of a new world of people, places, and things. I'm doing it all over again, and I didn't even need cookies to inspire this new tale.
One year and so much has happened. Many writers are way ahead of me. They've been at this for years. They have written volumes upon volumes. They are better, stronger, more knowledgeable. Some are agented, published, or been on book tours. Good for them. Good for all of us. It doesn't matter where we are on our path, it's nice to know the others who are walking it with us. Even those who are miles ahead, or a few steps behind.
Do you have a writing anniversary? How long have you been at it? I guess I should count my creative writing school days as writing time, but the world of novels is so much more fun. Wherever you are on your journey, I hope you enjoy it every step of the way. And if you're in my neighborhood tonight and want to stop by for milk and warm cookies, my door is always open.
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