I've been having a blogging block about how to write this post.
The phenomenon writers know as "the call" arrived to me in the form of an email two months ago from London. A small press wanted to publish my book.
Granted, I dashed off an update on my book website and posted on my Facebook page for my small world to know, but I haven't blogged about that day or my feelings because nothing clever or creative seemed to float to the surface.
It just happened. It took one Yes. I crossed over from unpublished to published.
This blog has chronicled my journey, started months before I finished the book that should come out next year. I didn't know what I was doing when I started writing my book a month before my 42nd birthday, four years ago. I just had a feeling that I wanted to write down and a vague notion of a story to go with it.
Many writers are asked: "What's your process?" I'd have to say, "I just had a feeling." I write from my emotional center. I know how I feel and what I want to convey when I feel it. The story is the vehicle. Is this heady? Better described as gut-centered. Will it win me any readers? Well, I'm about to find out.
My book will be published by Thames River Press sometime next year. Each step now to publication is a new experience, just as every step up to "the email" had been new. I'd never written a lick of fiction prior to writing my first novel. I remind myself that I'm one of the fortunate few who'll see a first novel published. Or see any novel published. I know that persistence and luck played a part in this event. Skill is important, too, but unless a writer is a genius at writing (can't claim to be) then the next best tool is stubbornness. If you don't give up, you have a greater chance of succeeding.
But what happens is -- writers put the book in the drawer, they refuse to listen to criticism, they take everything personally, they blowup the negative, they nail their coffin with every rejection, they defeat themselves with writer jealousy, they complain the system is f'ing screwy, they stop writing.
Every miserable one of those things happened to me. Temporarily. Then I started back up again. And one day, in early fall, while I was having coffee with a writer friend and my daughter, I opened my email on my phone. I had an offer. I couldn't read the email. I made my friend read it out loud in Stumptown Coffee. I thought it was bogus. But then I didn't. I raced my daughter home by bike. Somewhere, pedalling down the center of 46th Street in Portland, I yelled: "Someone wants my book!"
That was my call.