This is part of a message I sent to my crit group today, but want to share it with the rest of you as well...
One year ago (well, a year plus a few days, as it was exactly one month after my Dad passed on July 7th, 2010) I sat down and wrote the first full chapter of Six Degrees of Lust. As many of you know, it was never my dream to be a writer, but I had this idea that, once outlined, looked pretty darn cool and me being me, I had to see it to completion. Plus I figured it'd be therapeutic; something to keep me from losing it at the time, because absolutely nothing was going right in my life.
I wouldn't say I am good at everything I do, because that would make me kind of delusional, but I am pretty confident in my abilities. I wasn't confident about writing in the slightest, though, so of course I had to succeed at it. That's how I'm built. I'm my worst critic. I compete against myself. I have to finish anything I start, and I have to do it in a way that's satisfactory to my own standards. So I finished Six Degrees of Lust, and even though I never wanted to be a published author, I found that I had to become one, because that's the next natural step. I'm like a mouse some times... Well, most of the time. If you give me cookies, I'm going to want milk. Submitting my manuscript to a press was something I had to do. But first I had to put my work out there.
Some people loved it; some others shredded it to pieces, and some of you here gave some excellent advice. I went from being happy to crying my eyeballs out to feeling frustrated because, you see, I don't fail. That's unacceptable to me. Those 120k words represented time away from my kids and friends and no way was it going to be in vain. Then again, like I said before, I hadn't been taking baby steps towards this moment from the time I could hold a pencil straight, so perhaps I was being a bit delusional after all. But I believed in what I as writing about and I have to say that, four chapters into the thing, I was a convert. I wanted to write for the rest of my life. I think I was a late bloomer, after all.
I was getting ready to do some serious revising when the opportunity to submit SDoL presented itself back in May. I jumped in, feet first. Sent the thing out as it was, and you all know the outcome: contract for the entire series at first try. A part of me couldn't believe it, while the other was like yeah, this is great. I wrote my hiney off, and this is how it's supposed to be.
From the moment SDoL was contracted two months ago I've had several Squee moments. Getting the contract, getting an invite to a loop where I got to talk to authors I've been reading, admiring and looking up to in some cases for years, realizing that, although nowhere near their league, I'm one of them now... the editing process, getting mock ups for my very first cover... everything both cemented my new status as an author and made it feel surreal at the same time. And I struggled with it all. I was afraid it was a fluke; that I'd never be able to write anything better than SDoL.
Then I wrote Heatstroke.
And today not only am I getting ready to attend my very first conference as an author, but I'm being included in a signing and reading event with my pub that I have no business being a part of. At least not for another five years and several successful books under my name. Still, it's coming and I can't wait.
Today I have no doubts whatsoever that I can do this. I have found my voice and am confident in what I can do. And others think I can do it too. My kids, my friends, readers and even publishers. They trust my talent so much I'm writing on proposal for one of them. And I feel blessed.