I wrote a novel. The fact that I can even type that out and have it be true is kind of mind boggling. For any of you that have completed this momentous task...congratulations. No, really. It's amazing! I don't stop and give myself enough credit for just finishing one. It was a pretty big tick off the old bucket list. Even if it goes off into the world someday and everyone hates it, I still accomplished the monumental task of completing a novel. I'll take that win.
I finished my novel at 3 am. My husband was sleeping beside me when I typed the last words. My fingers stopped and I sat in bed next to him just staring at the screen. I had done it. Finished. A novel. It didn't feel real that there were no more words to write. I have to admit, since it was so late at night it was fairly non-climactic. I wanted to jump around and call everyone and tell them I had done it. Realizing waking everyone at 3 am would be quite inconsiderate I sat there in stunned silence all alone.
My husband and my dogs lay quietly curled up beside me. I glanced over, debating on waking him up to tell him that I had done it. I had finished my book. Long nights of typing while he slept and ignoring him while he tried to talk to me because I was writing a new scene had come to an end. He had to work at 7 am, a mere four hours away, but I decided this was an occasion worthy of a few bags under his eyes the next day. He would certainly share my pride and enthusiasm. Right?
"Honey, wake up," I whispered.
His eyes cracked opened and I lay there staring at him with a goofy grin and what I'm sure was a bit of a crazed look in my eyes.
"I did it. I finished my novel."
He blinked. He grunted. He rolled over and went back to bed.
I'll admit it. I was pissed at first. How dare he not jump out of bed, sweeping me up in his arms and twirling me around with excitement. I scowled and then looked back at the blinking cursor. A cursor that no longer had a goal. It's job was done. No more words needed to be typed. I smiled and closed my computer and sat quietly in the dark just celebrating with myself at 3 am.
The next day I waited for the congratulatory text from my husband. For the flowers or a note. He leaves me love notes all the time and today not even a scribble. I didn't tell anyone that I had finished a book. I just kept opening my computer and looking at the finished page and then closing it again. Finally, my husband texted around noon to tell me about a tourist who had stepped in his path and he had almost run him over. I waited for him to congratulate me but still... nothing. I called him, and in a bit of a typical passive aggressive wife tone said "Well? Aren't you going to congratulate me?"
"My book! I finished! I told you last night!"
"Was I awake?"
"Yes. I woke you up."
"Did I respond?"
"Well, I guess not unless you consider a grunt a response."
"So I was still sleeping."
"Apparently, yes. You were still sleeping so you have no idea what I'm talking about do you?" I laughed.
I proceeded to tell him how I had finished my novel. Saying it out loud and hearing a congratulations finally made it seem real. I had really done it. I texted my sister and my best friend to share the news. I was instantly met with congratulations and excitement. I had done it and I knew I wouldn't be stopping writing anytime soon.
More book ideas poured into my head as I scrambled to jot them down in my iPhone notes and rattled them off to Siri to ensure I didn't forget them. I started my second novel almost immediately. I couldn't stop writing. I was like an addict now that I had discovered you actually could finish a book. I wanted more of that feeling I had when I typed those last words. I wanted to follow more characters around on wild adventures and transcribe everything I was seeing. I was hooked.
I sent my book off to several beta readers and friends and was met with very enthusiastic responses. Not being one to leave things to chance, I decided to hire an editor to give me an honest critique of my first novel. If she thought it was good enough to publish perhaps I would pursue it. If she thought it was total crap, then perhaps I would just continue to write for myself. She wrote back just eighteen hours after I sent her my manuscript. Eighteen hours? She had told me it would be several weeks. I stared at the email from her almost too scared to open it. It felt like this woman was holding the keys to the car that was going to drive me off to my dreams... and I wasn't sure if she was going to give them to me. I swallowed hard and clicked to open.
She loved it. She loved it so much in fact she couldn't put it down and had finished all in one day. "You've got the chops for traditional publishing. Go for it!" Those were the words that resonated the hardest. I cried. Just a few tears, but I'll admit it. I cried. Someone who works in the publishing world had read my work and thought I had what it takes. I'm doing this, I said to myself. I'm going to publish.
So this my friends is where our journey begins. Now I strike out into the world and work on finding a publisher. I'll be updating my progress and keeping you all posted on my publishing quest. I saw a quote that I am using as my motivation now. "Someday, you're going to be someone's favorite author." I'm adding that to the top of my bucket list. Hold on tight kids...we're going on an adventure!
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