Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Author Shock

It seems as though I’ve been writing forever. I’ve always had a book under construction—for those who write, the ‘under construction’ makes perfect sense.

Friends encountered at PTA meetings or the occasional night-out gathering, folks met in the grocery store line, strangers in the bank line, and those considered ‘stranger still’ in the gas line would strike up conversations and ask the inevitable. “What do you do?”

My answer--three words, simple to say, impossible to explain—“I’m a writer.”

The responses, over my forever writing career, have been varied and entertaining—some of these unique individuals will certainly show up in one of my future manuscripts. As I started publishing articles, poems, and fillers to finally earn the crested title of author, my success was still viewed with the skepticism, ‘Oh, writing sounds easy. You just get to make stuff up.’ Or, ‘You haven’t really written anything. Like a whole book.’

As a matter of fact, I have written multiple ‘whole’ books. I just had not sold them yet.

Now, I have. I have signed the ‘whole’ book contract. I have a release date. I have a title. And now, I’ve seen it—Author Shock.

A few weeks ago, some of my critique partners shared a celebration lunch with me. After two hours in the restaurant, loads of laughter, and a lovely bottle of wine, the waiter finally asked what we were celebrating. “The release of my first book,” I said.

There it was—author shock.

Tangible, touchable admiration and recognition of accomplishment crossed this young man’s face. Even though he was a student at a local religious university, and not exactly in my reader target group, he was genuinely thrilled to know an AUTHOR was in the restaurant at one of his tables.

Since that day, I’ve observed the reaction, again and again, when I’ve delivered my publication news.

Writers and authors know they write because to leave the words in their head, to not capture the images on page, is unthinkable. We write because we can’t NOT write. Some would call it OCD. Maybe they’re right. Yet, the writing calls to us, demands our attention, our dedication to bottom planted firmly in the chair and hands on the keyboard. Our payoff is hitting completed page counts, reaching the end of a chapter, typing THE END to our book. It’s personal and most often celebrated privately.

BUT . . .

Author shock is great! Adrenaline heady and chocolate delicious. The forever writing time doesn’t seem so long anymore.

3 comments:

Shannon Canard said...

I can't wait to experience author shock! Congrats again on your first release. You know I'll be waiting for an autographed copy.

Regarding the word meter, you can go to: http://www.zokutou.co.uk/wordmeter/
and type in your stats and presto! you'll have the code to add to your webpage/blog. It's just a fun way to visualize how you're doing on the book.

Sherry Davis said...

Okay, you're making me weepy all over again. :) I'm so proud of you. You are a great writer! I can't wait to see your book in May, to actually hold it. (I feel like a god-parent or something.)

And, thanks Shannon. I'm stealing the meter, too!

Sherry

L.A. Mitchell said...

The "author shock" on you was beautiful. Not pretentious or smacking of having hurdled the high, sometimes barbed, fence to publication. Merely a quiet glow.

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