Tuesday, July 11th marked TWO milestones. I turned 46 AND I completed the first draft of my first novel. I gave myself a deadline of my birthday to finish because I figured it was the only one I would stick to. And so I did. The first draft is done, finished. For now, I will let it rest or cool down, much like you would after baking something or cooking something.
Creative works are like birthing something, or so I've been told because I don't know much about birthing, never having had a child. I do know that it has taken me nearly four years to get it done. But, better finished than never done. Now I move into the first of more than one revision stage. I will go through, make sure the story is consistent, delete things that don't make sense to me, add things to areas that need to be fleshed out. The cool thing is it is my story, so I only answer to myself on this. Once I read through my novel and make those changes, then I will look at passing it on to first readers or an editor or something like that. I haven't decided any of those things yet, so I don't know how all that will play out. What I do know is I can see the book finished in my mind, so it will be done.
I have written in various forms over the years, songs and poetry, short stories, papers for school, blogs, letters, notes, projects for work. On and on it goes. The one thing I never tire of or never have a lack of is things to write about and so I spend about 30 minutes every morning writing three pages. If there is one non-negotiable in my life, those morning pages are it. If I don't do them, I feel off. I learned this practice from Julia Cameron, author of "The Artist's Way". If I had to name one book that changed my life, that would be the single one that comes to mind. It set me on an artistic path I have not veered from to-date. I have notebooks and notebooks filled with morning pages and I've been doing them consistently for about 3 and 1/2 years. Each day represents about 500-600 handwritten words, so I'll let you do the math.
I love writing and I don't see that ever changing. I completely believe we all have gifts to bring to this world. For me, one of my strongest gifts is writing. The seeds have been there all along. I loved libraries as a child, I took Honors English in high school, loved mythology and fantasy always. I was reading books like "Clan of the Cave Bear" at 10 and 11 years old. Things I probably shouldn't have been reading but nevertheless did. One of my greatest possessions is an autographed copy of "Plains of Passage" by Jean M. Auel that my dad got for me many, many years ago and I still treasure it to this day. Turns out he is a writer too.
I have no idea where my writing will take me, but I do know it is the work of my heart. My brother paints pictures with brushes and I paint pictures with words. The scenes unfold in my mind and my job is to write them down. So simple, but so very hard. If it was easy, everyone would have written that book they keep talking about. Me, I hope I'm writing novels until I'm 89.