It is still hard for me to believe it has been four years since I boarded a plane at LaGuardia and travel to Whitefish, Montana alone. Not knowing a soul, relying on a stranger to meet me at a hotel, and drive into the mountains to a writing retreat.
Haven writing retreat, what was I doing there? Could I truly make a dream, a wish, a fantasy of becoming a writer a reality? That was a life-changing journey, in more ways than building confidence as a writer. It opened up possibilities at a time when everything was shut, locked and chained. But it also showed me the path was not going to be easy, and if I was going to do this, I had to do the work. And there lies the answers.
If you cannot help but put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard – you are a writer. If you journal, scribble, enjoy the feel of creating sentences that extend to paragraphs and ultimately fill up a page or two or three hundred – you are a writer. If you sculpt stories, laugh as you write memories, or dampen the parchment with tears – yet you keep at it, keep pouring words in script, print or New Times Roman – you are a writer. You may not be a published author – but you are a writer.
Embrace that fact – because some days that may be all you can hold on to, as you work to become the best writer you can be – and then, the learning begins.
You see I am still climbing, learning, falling, correcting, and reaching the next plateau. Right along side a million others who are also climbing, struggling, collapsing with exhaustion only to get up and start ascending again, and again. The art of writing is a solitary journey in and of itself, but you are definitely not alone.
If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for – and learning to write well is work. But let me say this – if you are happy when you write, if you get a chill when you see what you’ve created, if others enjoy reading your work, or if you keep every word private – that’s just fine. Do not feel you must follow everyone else to be fulfilled. You are enough. In this four-year personal decision, I’ve learned a lot, from a lot of people, and the most important thing is there is a lot more left to learn. Practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice does. As anyone who is trying to learn the proper form to shoot a free throw.
If you’ve walked with me on any part of this journey of mine to become a writer – you know I was accepted by Writers Relief. After all the work I have done, the reading the practice and drafts of query letters, synopsis and bio’s – seeing a professional carve the details – understand the process to publication and know after all is said and done, there are still no guarantees, but you keep at it, because you can’t stop – that is where I am. I can’t stop. I’ve come too far to let it float away into what could have been. I’ve watched this story grow and unfold, and I know there is something special there. I have had Beta-readers of all different ages, nationalities, and cultures read my novel, Northeast of 80 from cover to cover. Two readers immediately asked me for the next book! You can’t get a better compliment than that. I know it’s a small slice of humanity, but I could not have come this far without their support and encouragement. They all want to see these separate pages bound into a book, something to hold and dive into and share and put on a shelf with pride because they know they each had a part in making this come true.
This September Writers Relief is working hard, they are an extraordinary group of amazing people who are there whenever I have a problem or question. They are supportive, honest and make me feel I am in exactly the place I am supposed to be. Soon the query letters will be sent – and the hardest part of the process begins. Waiting. Yet I know this is all part of the journey too. Anyone who has gone hiking or simply went for a walk know, the best part is stopping to sit and enjoy the view.
I can’t wait to see it!
I can’t wait for YOU to read it!!