That sounds like the beginning of a first date, doesn’t it? But it’s true; I am a first timer in so many things. I can also say that it’s my first time getting published – my first book is just releasing (and maybe have it even go into print if it does well!)
I have so many emotions about it. One is excitement – my story is going out to the public! Another is fear – my story is going out to the public! Another is being proud – my story is going out to the public! That one fact gives me so many mixed emotions that you could ask me that question several times a day and maybe get a different answer each time depending on my mood at the moment. 🙂
Writing is a long road. I started on my story when my son was in Kindergarten, and revised it relentlessly. It wasn’t until he was in 3rd grade that, after submitting my manuscript to the contest Madeline had, made my story see the light of day. Now my son is halfway through 4th grade, and after much heavy editing, Prisoners of the Keep (The Mist Gate Crossings), my Young Adult action adventure fantasy novel, is going live.
Writing is also a harder road than you might think. Your mileage may vary, but it takes a lot of time (no, really, a LOT of time), inspiration, and energy to write. For me to make my writings coherent I need all three in equal measure. Sometimes, that’s hard to obtain. A fourth, silence, also helps me. But writing also takes the willingness to dramatically cut down, or cut out, words you’ve poured your heart and soul into when – notice I say when, not if – they end up taking you into a dead end. Or if someone you trust reads them and tells you they don’t really work. Which then means the words need to go. I’ve ‘killed my darlings’ repeatedly, to paraphrase a quote that William Faulkner helped make famous. The ‘darlings’ referred to in the quote are not necessarily characters, but words. When you have too many words, or not the right ones, out they must go. And sometimes that hurts.
Writing is a journey of self-discovery. You will never know if you can, or can’t, write unless you try. To paraphrase a writer friend of mine, Erica Allarie: “Writing is like walking around without your skin on – it leaves you inherently vulnerable.” I know I am feeling vulnerable about putting Mist Gate out there – I’ve put my heart and soul into it. But vulnerableness is what lets artists of all stripes connect with the people of the world, and show what is important to them. We need more writers, story-tellers, singers, painters, etc. in the world, so if you have a story somewhere inside you, embrace the vulnerable and let it out!