Back in 2008 I remember my husband and I sitting at a table in a very, very small restaurant in Scotland with three other couples. It probably had no more than ten tables and you could see the very intimate kitchen that would prepare each dish. It was dark and romantic and the food was fabulous, but the table conversation was even better. One of men that was joining us always starts great conversations by asking a thought provoking or challenging question. That night he asked, “What’s the one personal thing you would like to accomplish this year?” He’s very good at making sure each person gives an answer just as thoughtful as he had asked the question. When it came my turn, I had my answer ready to go, “I want to start writing my book”.
From that trip on, I did just that. I had no clue what I was doing. I just picked up the pen and began writing. I thought the first sentence would be hard, but it came to me easily. The middle parts came harder. Keeping the story going, keeping it interesting, making sure the characters stay alive, those were things that would make me feel like I was going crazy. My real life would be going on, and yet inside my head I was writing my book. There would be months that would go by and I felt like I couldn’t keep it going, but I would stay persistent and eventually it would come together. Sometimes stepping back and letting the characters come to me was the best way to get the story told, versus forces them somewhere they didn’t want to go. Getting past a writer’s block from hell, was and still is, the best feeling.
While in Rome I knew I wanted to race to the finish line, but when I saw the end of the book coming, the anxiety was overwhelming. How in the world do you write the last sentence of a book? How do you make sure the reader is satisfied? All I could do was listen to Amelia and let her tell the ending. It was amazing once I sat down, cleared my head, and went for it, the ending flew through my fingertips. On our last day in Rome, I was sitting in the lobby of the St. Regis, head phone on, and I was on a mission. When I hit the last “.”, I felt emotional. I felt elated. I felt like standing up and screaming, “I’m finished!!! I did it!!!”, but I doubt the people enjoying their quiet cup of coffee and tea would have appreciated that too much. Instead, I picked up my phone and called my husband who was in the room getting ready for last, fun-filled day, and I said “It’s done”. That was the best, amazing, and gratifying feeling. I will never forget that moment, and I look forward to the day I can go back to that hotel and point to the small table in the lobby and say, “That’s where I finished writing my first book”.
So this part of my journey started in Scotland and ended in Rome. Now, another journey begins. I have to edit and begin the process of self-publishing. I have no clue what to expect, but I look forward to learning. I know that it’s inevitable that I will take a wrong turn or two, but this long and writing road is all about growing as a writer, and becoming better all along the way. Let the next trip begin. I’m ready.
“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” ~ Winston Churchill
Until next time…