I’ve been working on my manuscript since September 2013, when I sat down with a pen and a green composition notebook and started pouring my thoughts onto the page. I loved the freedom I found through creating a group of imaginary characters in a life-like world and learning about them and their stories as I wrote.
I knew nothing about writing a book when I opened that spiral notebook in 2013, but I’ve always loved creating stories. I dreamed up all kinds of stories as a kid. Barbie and Ken went to far-off places in Barbie’s pink convertible. My baby dolls learned all kinds of things in playschool, and so did my cats, at least when they sat still instead of trying to squirm out of the doll clothes that made them look just adorable. And my journal was also full of juicy stories, just not of the made-up kind.
So while I’ve always enjoyed creating stories, I never dreamed I would grow up and pursue writing as a career. That goal wasn’t even on my radar.
Begin – to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of some action; commence; start.
That is, until one day over lunch when I shared my story-in-the-making idea with one of my friends. She was curious and asked if I would share some of my pages with her. I was terrified. I wasn’t A Real Writer. Writing was just a hobby … a hobby that had become an obsession now that these imaginary people had become living, breathing, fully formed characters working out their hopes and fears inside my mind.
Somehow, my friend convinced me to share a small taste of these characters and their fictional world with her. I sent her the opening paragraph of what would become my first draft, which was about a guy with eyes as blue as the Caribbean Sea. Evidently, that was all it took. My friend raved over the small blurb I shared with her and begged me for more.
I finished that first draft within a year. And with my friend’s glowing praise, I decided I wanted to publish my book. A little bit of research into the writing and publication process later, I created a group of beta readers who reviewed my book. The feedback was mixed but had glimmers of hopeful potential.
The logical next step was to share my book with an editor, whom I paid to review the first 50 pages. Her feedback was brutally honest. Okay, spirit-crushingly honest would be a more realistic descriptor. Her suggestion: start by learning more about the writing craft.
Start – to begin or set out, as on a journey or activity.
For the last seven years, I’ve taken writing classes, read numerous craft books, and worked with book coaches to find my story, my voice, what I want to share with my readers, and how I want them to feel when they close my book.
I’ve learned about more than just my story through this process; I’ve also learned a lot about myself. If you’ve read any of my blog posts over the years or follow me on social media, you’ve witnessed my transformation of becoming a writer taking place as I wrestled with what I was trying to say, found the confidence to speak my truth, and learned to just say it.
Just like any transformation, this process of becoming is hard. You need to give yourself grace for what you didn’t know and find the grit to always strive to learn more. You must learn that your worth is not tied to someone’s feedback, but your growth damn sure is. And most of all, there is a lot of this painful becoming.
To be—objective existence. Reality or actuality. To have, maintain, or occupy a place, situation, or position.
I now proudly proclaim it: I am a writer.
I am a writer with the goal to become a published author who confidently shares her book with the world.
I also proudly proclaim that I want Alexandria’s story to bring hope and power into my readers’ lives in such a way that when they close my book, they’ll have arrived on the other side of a journey that left them in a different place from where they started.
Maybe what I’m really proclaiming is this: I want my readers to share in experiencing the excitement, struggle, and satisfaction of becoming. That is exactly the journey we will experience together on my Grace & Grit blog. Won’t you join me? Sign up for email notifications and walk with me towards who we are meant to be.