My fingers fly across the keys. Words spring up on the page, black against stark white. I can hear the dialogue in my brain–the characters’ voices clearer than my own. I type and type, the story unfolding before me in a way I’ve never experienced before.
I don’t just feel like a writer. I am a writer.
The scene comes to an end, and like a sprinter, I stop and breathe and try to regain my center. The story I’m telling lives within me — I am just a conduit. The cursor blinks at me, awaiting my command. I instinctively check my word count. Thirty-three thousand, eight hundred and twenty nine words. The number delights me, and I sit back in amazement, momentarily stupefied.
Where did this come from? Is this the feeling that’s been trapped inside of me for so many years, begging to be released? The high that comes with a 75-page-and-counting manuscript is more than addictive.
My mind wanders. I begin thinking about the steps I will take once my novel is finished. I should start doing research on local publishing houses, I think. I already have two friends who have offered to read my book, another to edit it. I’ll need to print out a few copies to keep on hand. I wonder if I know anyone who can help me break into the business.
I imagine myself as a Published Author. My heart begins to pound in my chest, my mouth goes dry.
Trying to regain some focus, I scroll up, read the passage I’ve just finished. I strike words from the page, second-guessing what came so naturally only a few minutes before. Doubt creeps in. The voice inside my head speaks over those of my characters.
“No one else in the world would be interested in this subject matter.”
“Do you know how many people dream of being an author and never make it?”
“Don’t expect to win a Pulitzer with this stuff. You are no Toni Morrison!”
The cursor continues to blink at me, although now I feel as if it’s staring at me judgmentally, waiting for the next bit of garbage I’ll instruct it to include. The confidence I felt a few minutes ago has been totally derailed by my self-doubt.
My husband peeks over my shoulder, notes the page number, and beams. “Seventy-five whole pages? Babe, that’s so awesome! I’m so proud of you!”
The clouds of uncertainty begin to part, and I wonder what this all looks like from his point of view. I realize that he sees me reaching for my dream, doing what I love, following my passion. I think to myself, “published or not, you’re WRITING. And you’re HAPPY.”
The cursor winks at me again. I close out the sound of my inner-doubter and tune in to my characters’ voices again. I take a deep breath, place my fingers on the keys, and let the words come. I’ll second guess myself tomorrow. Today, I am a writer.
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