No, I wasn’t mentioned, though I do have an acknowledgment credit under my belt, but that’s another story. Sally Green’s opening paragraphs resonated with me, but I’ll let you read them first. Don’t worry, it’s just a few paras. I didn’t type out the whole thing!
I started writing rather late in my life, not very long ago in 2010, and did my best to hide this new obsession (as it quickly became) from my friends and relatives. I certainly had no intention of making myself the object of ridicule when the most I’d ever written was a note to the milkman. However, it didn’t take long before my husband noticed that I was up to something in our little office room until 2 a.m. every night. I decided to be brave and come clean.
“I’m writing a novel.”
I waited. Would he laugh? Tell me I was being ridiculous?
“Oh! Okay. Sounds good.”
Not the reaction I expected, but just what I needed. I could not have written Half Bad without his support and quiet encouragement.
After that I became a little bolder and confided in a couple of friends, who then had to bear the brunt of my tedious conversations about writing.
Don’t you love those moments when you read something that sounds like it came from your own head. For a moment, you are connected to that writer. “She gets me! We are one!”
Pic borrowed from Wikia Scratchpad
I too started my writing career later in life, so I can relate, though I started in 2006 and I had written a lot more than a note to the milkman. But I’d never been serious about it before. To start writing wasn’t difficult. I had an idea and I started researching (actually, way too much researching – it was a form of procrastination.) Admitting to others what I was doing, that was the hard part. Like Green, I was prepared for some negative responses. Not from my husband. He’s always been supportive of the things I want to do, and he has more confidence in me than I have in myself. But to tell friends and family that I was writing a novel created so much pressure. What if I never completed my novel? Or worse, what if I did, but it’s absolute rubbish? If I’m never published will people think I wasted my time and our money?
To my surprise, most people were very excited for me. Maybe in the back of their minds they were thinking, “Yeah, probably not going to happen, but props to her for trying,” but that didn’t matter, because they didn’t say that. They said, “Wow! Really? That’s awesome?” and “What are you writing about?” and “How do you go about writing a novel and getting it published?” and “That must be so difficult. I don’t think I could ever do that.” They took me seriously. They had serious questions and offered to read for me. And they showed me how amazing it is that I am a writer. Not everyone can do it. And it’s not because I’m some genius who knows how to turn a phrase, but because I had the fortitude to finish it!
Getting over the hurdle of self-doubt was probably the hardest part of my career so far. It took not only the bravery to tell people I was attempting to write a book, but also the bravery to accept in my heart that I was a writer. To wear that mantle no matter what the outcome. Yes, I needed the support and encouragement of my husband, my kids, my family and my friends, but I needed to believe that what I was doing was not a hobby. It was not a waste of time. And I would achieve my dream of being published, sharing my stories with others and creating a career for myself that I could be proud of.
To be honest, I use to skip the acknowledgment pages in books and rarely even glanced at the credits in a movie. Now that I’m a writer, I know that any work I create will not be the sole effort of myself. It will take my support group, my beta readers and editors, an agent who believes in my work and many others along the way. And they deserve to be noticed and praised. I’ve been reading those final pages in a book for a couple of years now with more interest and understanding, and I can’t wait to thank all the wonderful people in my life who have helped me along the way to being published!
Do you read book dedications or acknowledgments? Who would you include in your own thank you page?
Look for Newbie Post #5 where I talk about learning to let go and not hanging your career on one manuscript . . .