Summer has always been time to write on the novel, but most summers are spent teaching summer school or being otherwise preoccupied with responsibilities to my young family. After three summers of trudging along on my young adult novel, I have finally FINISHED it. Of course, to say it is finished is rather a relative term seeing how I have weeks and probably months of revisions to go through before I begin the arduous process of finding representation.
There is, however, a great sense of accomplishment to say and write that I have finished writing a novel. I have created characters, caused them joy and hardship, changed them, and made a world for them to live in. The process has also changed me as a writer and an individual. Though it took me a lot of time to do this task, I have in fact written a novel. A literal frickin’ novel!
As a kid, I was a struggling reader and writer. In fact, when I was in third grade and moved to a new state and new school (1979), I was placed in a special education reading class because I was behind where the other students were. Even though I think I was misdiagnosed, I nonetheless struggled with classwork and, to be honest, cheated a lot. My failings as a student (though I only earned one F and two D’s throughout my entire public education) stemmed from other outside influences. Partially, I was lazy and partially I longed for escape. I didn’t have that great of a home life and sought escapist activities as often as I could. Going to school and being with friends was one of those escapist activities, but schoolwork was not.
My first year (1989) of college was similar, but as I grew in years and experience I found that I actually enjoyed learning. I also found that I had a marginal talent as a writer. This grew as I began writing short stories. They weren’t that great, but it was a start.
It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I really started pursuing my writing and looking for markets for publication. I had a few success and even made a few bucks in the process. I had quite a few rejections along the way, as well.
When my third child was born, life grew a little too hectic to continue with my writing as devoutly as I had before. I had to make more money to support my family by teaching night classes, which in turn took a good deal of my time and energy. However, over the last couple years, my kids have grown and are able to entertain themselves to a large extent and this gave me time to sit back in the writer’s chair and do something I forgot I loved to do.
I don’t know if this book is any good let alone publishable. Nevertheless, I finished it. My kids know I’ve finished it, and it may be something they can look back on and say, “My dad wrote this. It’s kind of weird, but he wrote a full novel.”
My long-suffering wife, who has supported me throughout the process, is just as excited and proud of my accomplishment. She has often pushed me to go find a quiet corner and write. Sometimes her encouragement has bordered harassment, but it made me see that my accomplishments are just as important to her as they are to me.
Ultimately, I fulfilled a goal. I wrote a book. I made my family proud. That’s not a bad start to a potential writing career.