There is no recipe for success in writing. I’d like to channel whoever claims they have it and apply it to myself. On the NaNoWriMo message boards there is an almost weekly question asked and it usually goes something to the effect of “When are you a writer/author?” As if there is some finish line or milestone you need to pass in order to get to that level.
From my own experience I can tell you there is not any defining moment. It’s a process that you might compare to being pregnant. There is a moment where conception takes place and from there life is created and grows into a person who is then born and flourishes and lives a life. The individual becomes a child and then an adult and the way in which you shape the person determines what they will one day be like.
Writing is very similar to that, you get this idea and it develops and you decide that you want to write about it so you put pen to paper or switch on your computer and start. That is the conception of writing, your baby is conceived. You have to nourish it, let it grow and develop. When it is complete you have to cultivate it and make it into the sort of individual you want it to be. It will scarcely be exactly what you envision, but others will react to it and give you praise or blame for its successes or short comings.
Twenty-Five at the Lip was originally going to be several story lines that overlapped, but as expected I decided to cut ninety percent of what I put into it. This was early in the process, like a twin in utero that never fully developed and was later consumed, filed away for reference or maybe something down the line. What did develop was a story about three paramedics, the framework of which took much longer than expected. It was a painful parenting raising that first born and learning to do it was not only frustrating but heartbreaking. I had to know when to say “No” to a specific part of the story and when to indulge it. Cutting story when you know that something had promise but would detract from the ultimate goal is painful as well.
Tuesday’s Gone has a Facebook Page now – what you might consider the baby registry. People can get a glimpse of her, but the overall text of it is limited to a very few people. She is the middle child; easier to raise, but hopefully won’t be overshadowed by her older and what will be her younger siblings. The construction was quick, only about a month, but the raising of her is proving harder than I anticipated. I had a rough idea for the ending and that has changed significantly because it felt flat and sort of anti-climactic. It is nearly ready now and even better than when my first beta-readers picked it up.
Suffice it to say, there is no more a defining moment for when you become a writer. You are a writer when you decide that is what you want to do and put things into motion to achieve that status. Many people write and never publish, thinking their work isn’t worthy, which is their choice. In that sense they are denying the rest of us their gifts and talents, however what they are really doing is deciding to not bring the beauty into the world. Regardless of whether or not you decide to shut your work away like Boo Radley, you are a writer because you created something from the bowels of your soul. It is yours and that makes you a writer.