I actually have no idea what I’m doing.
The only comforting response I can offer: Do any of us really know what we’re doing?
I began this blog because it’s a really good story. It’s entertaining and true. Maybe I’ll find the guy. But maybe I won’t. Now that I’ve had the blog for two years and am not any closer to finding Joe Wellington, I’m accepting that I probably won’t find him. That’s ok.
Because this blog has become something more for me.
It has awakened a calling that didn’t surface until I began this New Zealand journey. Writing was a secret passion. I loved doing it; wrote stories for friends in middle school, won a short story contest as a tween, and often it was the only way I could cope through my angsty teen years. But I never took it seriously. I never thought it was a realistic dream. Only a childhood fantasy.
But then I wrote a manuscript. A very awful, horribly written work of women’s fiction. But it was finished. I did it.
So now what?
I wait. I read. I learn. I research US literary agents. I buy books about the industry. I research ‘how to write a query’. I learn. I meet writer friends. Swap work. I query. I receive rejections. I enter contests. And get rejections. I read. I talk to a select few about the process. Swallow the fear. And borrow that ‘thick skin’ I developed performing on stage as a kid. I crumble into self-doubt and zone out on movies instead. Then I get more rejections. I learn more. I revise. I write a second manuscript while I wait. I breathe. I get a request. Another rejection. Repeat as needed. But I don’t give up. I won’t. I can’t. Because I believe in the no-longer-horrible story so much that I feel like I’d be betraying my characters if I quit now. That’s true love.
There’s this unwavering hope that writers must hold onto tightly. A hope that someday, someone will see the value in the words written and become your champion. A writer must carry that light of possibility at all times. Because with every rejection, the light can dim. But you don’t want just anyone to represent your career. You want that very special someone (an Edward and Elinor love story, maybe?) who truly connects with what’s produced and believes in you.
Sometimes there might be a tough critique and I think how far off I am from being a published author and that light becomes so clouded it dumps sheets of rain, leaving me to my chai tea and sweatpants (who am I kidding? I love sweatpants) for a while.
After some rejuvenation, revise. Work harder, use any spare second to get lost in my crazy writer mind. Try not to go insane from how fast those stories want to pour out. Neglect dishes. Praise dog for acting as the vacuum and eating the crumbs off the floor. Shower husband with kisses for taking the preschooler so I can write. Oh, and what’s a shower? Sleepless nights are inevitable because I’m dreaming of how to restructure a sentence or what adverbs to omit. I’m not a perfect writer but I hope to be better.
That’s what I’ve been doing the past year. Working my butt off.
While raising my son. And searching for Joe Wellington, who I MUST thank for this when I do find him. All this and trying not to exclude my friends from the process (I love you Bryony, Lacey, and Dan!) or ignore that life is happening outside my windows. Lovely, precious, occasionally cloudy life.
But I really have no idea what I’m doing…
…except living my dream.