Once upon a time, there was an only child. Boredom was the enemy, so I learned to do lots of things to occupy myself.
I read. I played with my dolls. I learned to sew to make clothes for my dolls. I redecorated, then rebuilt, my doll house. I read some more. I made up stories, and acted them out with my dolls (it helped that, as an only child, I had a cast of thousands). I started writing down my stories.
Interesting that I never thought that real people couldn't write, when all I wanted as a kid was to be a ballerina but I had no idea at all that real people could take ballet lessons. No one ever told me, and I didn't figure it out for myself until I was about 10.
But writing fit. I could do it in my head, or after my mom went out and left me in peace, or after everyone went to bed. When I was bored at school, I could listen to the voices and run home and write down everything they said. When I started working, mindlessly typing for lawyers, I could plot and plan and scribble on bits of paper and then do my own typing at night.
All this is leading to the fact that I write. I have always written. Other than this blog, which I started when my regular life was getting in the way of my writing (and I wasn't facing how much that bothered me), I haven't said much about it in public. It was mine. It was something that kept me sane through a lot of unhappy teenage years and all the times when I just didn't feel like I fit into my life. The life in my head, well, that always fit. Because I made it up.
There was one particular project I started years ago. I wrote like a madwoman, researched, wrote some more. Put it down. Picked it up, got distracted, started dating, broke up, wrote my heart out, dealt with family stuff, changed jobs, more family stuff, changed another job, started dating again, got married - how did that happen? - and eventually came back to what had come before and in between all along.
And now, dear readers, I have what seems to be called a book. A novel, if you will. Tweaked and polished and pored over lo these many years. I've let a few close friends read it to offer criticism and suggestions - and nearly expired in the process of handing my baby over - and now it's ready to be released into a wider world.
I feel sick to my stomach. It's been mine for so long, but if it's done, isn't the whole point of a story to share it?
I recently finished a synopsis, because of course after you write an epic saga, you have to turn around and boil it back down to a couple of paragraphs, and I just started sending query letters to agents. All this makes me dizzy, but I've done it.
What's the worst that can happen - that it'll go back into a drawer (or a hard drive) for another life cycle? It's time to let go.