*I have read this over, bunches of times, and it is SO ALL OVER THE PLACE. Bear with me. I AM GIDDY.*
This all started with a letter. Last year, in August 2009, I wrote a letter to my future self. It was to be read in August 2010. I look at years academically, not... calendar...ically.
Let's look at it together, shall we?
How did the year match up to expectations? What happened this year, you ask? Did you raft the scary Gauley River? Sure did! Had a great time not dying, too. Did I run a marathon? Yep! Barely. But I finished. Whoo!
Was it a hard year? Yes. Bad year. Maybe the worst ever. By saying I was going to have a bad year... was that just a self-fulfilling prophecy? NOTE TO SELF: Never predict a bad year. This is not at all what I want to talk about today. Onward!
Did you make it to New York? Nope. Not yet. Dang it. I'll keep working on that one.
And grad school? Well, yes! Er, no. Yes and No: Yo.
I started, but had to take a semester off because I am broke and busy. The Better-Half works a thousand jobs every fall, and I started teaching my classes this week, and we are drowning in debt and DO NOT WANT student loans. Do those sound like excuses? I hope not. They feel like very valid reasons that make sense for this family. I hope to start up grad school again in January.
You know, Bethany... You've been talking about writing a book ever since you started this blog. I see you mentioned it in the letter. You didn't actually finish it, did you?
That's right, campers.
I FINISHED A BOOK. I WROTE AN ENTIRE 45,000 WORD NOVEL!!!!!!
You may be saying to yourself, "Uh... yeah? You're a writer. Writers write things."
Well, yes. I write things. I write lots of things. The problem is, I never get around to finishing things.
My biggest struggle, (aside from everyone's problem of slogging through the long, boring middles), is that I teach writing. I read constantly. I wanted to give up because I was never happy with what I was doing. I know bad writing when I see it.
(HONESTY PARAGRAPH: This is some bad writing. This book is a mess. The timeline is all wonky. The main character jumps from age thirteen to sixteen halfway through, simply because I changed my mind and needed an older protagonist. I AM good at dialogue, so I've got pages and pages AND PAGES of conversations. Editing this bad boy might take another year.)
So. It is not great. Not yet. It will be. =)
Hey, scoot a little closer. I want to tell you a secret. This one took me way too long to learn. I want you to learn it faster than I did. Here it is: The only difference between a published author and an unpublished author? The published author finished something.
You know what else? I WILL NEVER MAKE FUN OF ANOTHER WRITER. Ever. I have tons of respect for anybody that puts themselves through this.
One more important thing. I almost don't care if it is published. I mean, I CARE, and I will cry if it's not. But every Young Adult (YA... you'll be hearing "YA" a lot on this blog in the near future), author I respect didn't get their first novel published. In fact, some of these writers were first published with their FOURTH NOVEL. I hope that's not what it takes, but I'm willing to do the work if that's what is necessary.
I just needed a novel in a drawer. And I have it. And that is a good feeling.
I don't feel as calm and cool as this sounds. I am actually squealing and jumping and dancing right now. Sorry you can't see this. That's a lie. I do not actually want you to see this.
In the next few days, I will write a new letter to myself to be read in September of 2011. (Hey, you should too!) But first, I need to catch up on some very much missed sleep.
I have been waiting to say this my entire life: I wrote a book.
Have Questions? I'll answer them in a blog post later this week...
Want to write a letter to your future self?