“Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
GUESS WHO WROTE THE FIRST CHAPTER OF HER NEW BOOK THIS MORNING?
If your answer involves someone who is so seriously overjoyed about this new beginning that she feels the need to shout about it in all capital letters, then you’d be correct. I am so, so, sooooo excited, y’all. After spending the better part of the past two weeks researching, brainstorming, and plotting out plans for the new manuscript – which will be the third and (likely) final story about Sofie’s journey – today was finally the day I’ve been looking forward to for forever. Okay, actually it’s been more like six months, but when writing is akin to a heartbeat for you, half a year feels so very much longer.
So sitting down at the computer this morning? Skimming the last pages of this manuscript’s prequel, shuffling through my writing journal, mulling over the (tentative) ending I decided on for the new book yesterday? It made me want to dance a jig. And opening up a new Word document, staring at the blank page and letting myself be inspired by all the possibilities that can fill it? It may or may not have made me actually clap in glee. After almost a year and a half with these characters – spanning two novels, over six hundred pages, and countless moments in their lives – they have become like friends to me. They’ve become, in a way, my family. I am so excited to go along on this next journey of theirs, to be part of their ups and downs, their setbacks and successes, their tears and triumphs. It honestly fills me up in a way words cannot describe.
This is why I write. Sure, it will always be my dream and my active goal to have my books published, and to that end, I’m still on the query trail and still adding to my agent database all the time. But when it comes down to it, this is why I fell in love with the craft. It’s feeling so energized, so invigorated, that you jump out of bed while the morning air is still quiet, unable to wait even a few minutes longer to dive back into your characters’ world. It’s feeling pride in your heart as you watch them grow. It’s feeling that constant pull towards them, even when you’re technically not supposed to be working anymore. It’s feeling so lucky because that work … well, it’s not really work at all. It’s a work of heart. It’s magic.
Will the love affair ever fade as the days and weeks go by? Will the whimsy I’m swept up in now spin in a different direction? I think it’s impossible to feel that unadulterated joy all the time – writing is a challenging craft for everyone, and that’s a good thing, because it keeps us pushing ourselves further, higher, deeper. Sure, there’ll be days when the words don’t flow easily. There’ll be roadblocks that seem to throw the story off-course and questions along the way. Mine for today: which format should the new manuscript take? My first two were written in first-person, present tense. My third was written in a combination of first and second person, past tense (aka: diary style). And while the game plan for the new novel was to return to present tense, I found myself slipping back into past as I was writing this morning. It may be force of habit or maybe something is telling me that this is the way the story should be told. I’m still not certain, but I’m excited to see what happens. Fellow writers: do you have a format preference?
Going back to that love affair – yes, the light will dim every now and then. That’s only natural. But more often that not – and, as was the case with the first two books in Sofie’s story – that glimmer will be there, shimmering with a bold, bright glow. For me, that’s what writing is. It’s filling those blank pages with part of my heart and soul, and, more importantly, parts of my characters’ hearts and souls. And to know I get to do that all over again now? To have this new beginning that’s so full of hope?
No wonder I feel like dancing.