If you’ve been a writer for any amount of time, and you’d like a go at the professional aspect of it, you know writers sometimes write under pressure. You write when you don’t feel like it, when it seems like your characters have gone on strike or the ‘muse’ has abandoned you. You write after rejections or critiques. You write.
Once you obtain that holy grail of publishing: the contract. You learn to write under the pressure of a deadline. This means through sickness and unruly children, demanding family and neglected housework. You concentrate and you write.
Every once in a while, something happens that is so big, so life changing, you can’t compartmentalize it. It steals your breath and any creativity you may possess.
Recently, this happened to me.
For me, writing has always been an escape. I can slip into another world, a world in which—more or less— I have control.
But when I looked at the words, at a manuscript that needed to be revised and turned into an editor within a week in the typical wait, wait, run, method of publishing: nothing. The words might have well been Spanish. I could read them but re-crafting a sentence was beyond my ability. I asked for another week. My editor graciously gave it to me.
You know that saying, whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger? Yeah, I hate that saying, but it has some truth to it.
So I wrote. One. Word. At. A. Time. And sometimes it felt like I’d never get to the end of the manuscript. I focused on one comment, one suggestion and addressed it to the best of my ability before going on to the next. In a few days, I could address three or four.
When I sent the manuscript to my editor, one day early, for the first time in my career, I didn’t feel like someone who is trying to be writer. I felt like a writer. I am a writer.
A diamond? No. But it’s a pretty damn good feeling all the same.
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