Today I am a writer and I am an author. There is a difference. From Google:
According to the dictionary, a writer is ‘one who expresses ideas in writing’ or ‘one engaged in literary work.’ An author is ‘a person who writes a novel, poem, essay etc, the composer of a literary work.’
I am a writer because I write this blog. And NOW I am an author because I finished my book today! Yes I did!! It is hard to explain or express what I’ve been going through with this book. Since June I’ve been working on making Finally Florida a book. Granted I didn’t take as long as some people that take years to write a book. But my book is not their book and we all have a different style and/or different subject. Well anyway, for me, for 5 months getting this book written, edited, and out to an agent has been at the forefront of my thoughts, in every fiber of my being, around the clock. You may think, well those that know me and know my employment situation, that perhaps a job should be at the forefront of my thoughts but I will tell you that is not the case. As a matter of fact it is because I never want an office job again that the book was even MORE at the forefront of my being. An office job is something that I have done all my life because I have to. It has never been anything that I have aspired to. I have just done it and I’ve been good at my jobs. I’ve always been good at my jobs. But today “I” did something. Today it’s all about me. I have no one to thank but myself. Well I have a lot to people to thank but I mean I am the only one that has believed in this project as much as I have, I have believed in myself. Although Stephanie now runs a close second. As soon as I mention the book there is a tendency for everyone to dismiss the book as nothing other than something to do in my spare time. To me it has been my job. Interviewing for an office job is what I’ve been doing in my “spare” time.
When I lived in the apartment at the beach this past summer I started the book. I had at least two false starts before finding my groove. Thanks to Emily and Sandy who got me on the start that I finally went with, and then I just took off and kept going. I would freeze when my future living accommodations were at stake. Like end of July and in August there was some time that I just froze not knowing what was going to happen. I think people falsely believe that in desperation you are motivated, but certain stages of desperation are also overwhelming to the point where you just freeze. I was at that freezing stage a couple times. However, I did tell my landlord that I “finished” the book while I was at his place, which was the goal. Finish the book at the beach.
All writers and authors will agree that writing the content is only ½ the battle. Since then I have been formatting and editing. The month at my mom’s was mostly formatting. Actually while there I got it all formatted. I remember telling her that I was done with the formatting and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Because of the way I was writing it, there was A LOT of formatting to be done. Looking back as I’m writing this post I am realizing that at each place (the apartment and my mom’s) I accomplished a piece of the puzzle at each place.
So now, here at Stephanie’s, I’ve been printing it out. 50 pages at a time. Then I read it and manually edit it, then make the edits in the document , then give the handwritten edits to Stephanie and she’s been reading it to see if she “likes” it and how it flows. I was prepared at every step along the way for her to say “this is stupid” “this is boring” “yea this drones on and on” but what did she say ALL the time? She said “I’m done, where’s the next section?” Since her boss would not know to read this blog I will share that she was buried in my book instead of working, which is bad since she is supporting both Tim and I now. But very encouraging for me. She gave me suggestions to make corrections for clarity and her suggestions have been great. She also apologized to me today, which made me cry, and said she didn’t realize how much my past life meant to me (she understands after reading the book) and she’s sorry. I guess she got sucked into the story. It was validating both that my writing is good and that my sadness is justified. Oh and she wants to meet Zenah. LOL. Everybody wants to meet Zenah.
I told my mom recently (when she asks what I’m doing with myself) that I just want to finish this book. I have felt so compelled, so driven, so focused on getting this part of the process done that I couldn’t think of anything else. I’ve stayed up many nights past 2:00 am both here and my mom’s just focused. I felt like I was on a deadline. Some self-imposed deadline, but deadline none the less. I felt like I needed to get it done before I leave Stephanie’s and since I never know when that is going to be, or had to get it done before I start a full time job, which I also don’t know when that is going to be so I’ve worked like a mad woman. But today, I declared it finished and then I sent out three queries to three different agents. And then I had this overwhelming feeling of relief and accomplishment. I need to send to 300 more agents but still the next phase has begun and I can let out a heavy sigh.
I am not naïve enough to think that I have written the next best seller and that I’ll make my first million before the end of next year, but of course wouldn’t that be nice? But here is what I have done in my lifetime. I’ve created something. I have done something that is all me. Something that I’ve wanted to do for longer than I can remember. That I talked about doing openly on a blog for 2 years, that I worked hard at and if I can be so bold to say that I think I’m good at. I used the same work ethic that I’ve always had to get it done. I worked hard, was dedicated and focused. It felt good. It feels good.
Of course now I need a job to support myself but this accomplishment is bigger than that, to me, whether or not I ever earn a dime from it. And even earning money for your hard work is subjective. Look at my brother. A genius talented musician and well you haven’t heard him on the radio now have you? Some people create masterpieces every day and are used to the creation (and rejection) process. This is my first one. Kinda like having your “first” baby. It’s the start of something new.
I was sitting on the bay today on a park bench, rewarding myself with a well-deserved break from my hard work, watching the water and the sky, birds and boats and I even saw some dolphins. I think I sat there for 2 hours. There was a strong breeze that felt so good. The temperature these days is perfect. Not too hot this time of year. I plugged in my headphones, opened Spotify on my phone, turned the music up and looked at the sky. Usually I only have one earphone in so I can hear what’s going on around me but today, both earplugs in, volume up. It’s no wonder I’m slightly deaf. BUT it was wonderful. I felt like I was in a movie, like “in” the movie. The music was the score of the movie I was in. The birds in the sky were part of the movie. They flew in rhythm to the music. It was beautiful. It is my life. My life is beautiful.