I write almost every single weekday. It’s the way I keep the ongoing story in mind and keep my focus. But writing’s more than that. It grounds me. If I go too many days in a row, where life happens, and I don’t write, I start going into withdrawal. I miss it. Need it. I love to write.
That said, I should clarify that I love the actual writing process–making character wheels, plotting, writing and rewriting–putting words on paper, rearranging them, then adding more words since I usually write too lean–taking care where my scenes are too skimpy with descriptions or I made the action too fast. Then I love sending my polished draft to the friends I trust, who tell me what I missed, where I went wrong, and how to fix it. And their comments lead me to my final, finished product. But eventually, the day comes, when I’ve made every change I’m going to make and it’s time to send my spiffy manuscript into the cold, cruel world…and wait.
Waiting’s a part of writing. A part I’m not fond of. Sometimes, the wait’s short. My agent gets back to me in two or three weeks. Sometimes she’s swamped, and the wait’s longer–maybe two or three months, maybe more. But long or short, it’s always miserable. My mind can’t stop wondering, Will she like it? Did it work? Even when I push those thoughts away and start a new project, the ugly head of doubt squirms out of its hiding place late at night when I’m brushing my teeth for bed, or in the morning while I sip my coffee. Not that Lauren has ever been anything but supportive and wonderful, but still….maybe this is the time I blew it. Silly? Maybe. The truth? Unfortunately, yes.
And then, when I hear back, and Lauren says the story’s ready to go, that it’s time to load it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and smashwords and more…. then I wait to see if anyone wants to read it and if they like it when they do. And I think about how I can make the next book or story better. And I love that story, the new one, the one I’m working on…until it’s time to send it out into the world.
I’m glad kids aren’t like stories. I loved them when I raised them, and I loved them when they spread their wings and flew away. I wish I could think of my writing that way. Maybe someday… if I made the New York Times top ten list…if I sold a kazillion copies all over the globe…but I doubt it. I’d still know the things I could have done better. If I’d had more action, faster pacing, a stronger theme…. But there aren’t too many perfect books. And I’m pretty sure mine will never qualify. Still, I’m awfully happy with my favorite authors, imperfections and all. So maybe I need to cut myself some slack. Besides, the story I’m working on right now is going really well…it’s one of my best…until it’s time to send it.