When I Knew?
Okay, true confession: I do not remember the precise moment I wanted to be a writer. In the seven years since my first book Still Life was published, I have paused, literally stopped to ask myself what exactly do I want to do with the rest of my life? My son is occupied by school and sports and pre-teen things. My husband works long hours in the office and on the road while embracing every possible moment at home. I have ample free hours and yet, the demands on my time are seemingly at their highest. My family requires my attention. I must be the flexible one. I am the go-to parent when my husband is out of town. I need to be here and there, wherever and whenever. Still, I often stop and think I should get a job. I should go back out there, be productive, find something more lucrative. There must be a position that would fit perfectly with the hours I have open.
But then, I remember. I have a job. I am out there. I am productive. Lucrative not so much, but that is a topic for another day. Writing is the position that fits perfectly with the hours I have open.
Seven years. Nine books in kindle and paperback. Three separate book series. Three titles (Still Life, The Oak Tree, The Country Wife) reaching #1 Best Seller status in Amazon Kindle Contemporary Fiction. This blog. A new book idea. And now thanks to Inspired ME, Joyful BE, I write every day of the week. I wake up excited because I have a deadline, a need to write. I am fortunate to do exactly what I love in this short life. I have the unbelievable privilege of creating with purpose every day. Every. Day. From childhood on, it has been a dream to do precisely what I am doing and by some strange miracle, life has aligned just right so I can.
I always wanted to be a writer. And I am.
The Moment It Mattered?
June 18, 2012. I had just finished my final round of major chemo (I would continue a milder version for another eight months) and was weeks away from a big, life-altering surgery. Four months earlier, I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. And as would be expected all thoughts of writing were immediately erased and replaced with self-preservation. I was officially on hiatus (read about that here). Unsure of what the future held for me and my family, I entertained the idea that I might never write again. It became a very real possibility as I weighed my options. I did not have any desire to write or market or even read. I was nauseous, lethargic, emotionally drained, and in pain all the time. The potent drugs and lack of sleep muddled my brain, leaving me incapable of anything but the most basic thoughts. I was prepared to let it go.
But on that long-ago Monday and in a fog, I grabbed a pen and jotted down notes. Emotions. Fears. Failures. Triumphs. I wrote them in my medical binder – an organized and informational packet logging blood tests, dosages, cell counts, scans, surgeries, side effects, symptoms and the like. I wrote two pages of one-liners: things I did not want to remember about the horrors of cancer but knew I should never forget. And once I finished, I had the moment. A story. Characters. They came to me and then abruptly left. More importantly, though, they came back. I had an idea and with that idea I had hope. A plan for what was to come next, after cancer. I would write again. I needed to write again. It was then I realized how important writing was to me, how necessary. From that moment, The Oak Tree was born and four books came to life since then.
On that day, writing had gone beyond the realm of dreams. It mattered. It became a part of me.