Thursday, June 21, 2012

I've written a novel!

It's done! I finished the clean up of the first draft of my novel yesterday!  So, regardless of whether I ever find fame and fortune, I am now a novelist!  I sent it off to my critique group last night, and they'll help find and fill the holes in late July.  I'm both excited and nervous as hell. It's the biggest thing I've ever written.

It's been a four-year journey.  I'm a mom of two wonderful girls and I work as a middle school teacher, so simply finding hours to write in was probably actually the hardest part. Well, that and learning how to write a novel while doing it. Luckily, I also have a very supportive husband.

When I look back on it, T gets a lot of credit for getting me here. He was the one who looked around at gather and craigslist and meetup for a critique group for me when I expressed a desire to get back into writing after our youngest was born.  That critique group has grown into one of the most important things in my life.  They keep me honest--in life and in work.

T was also the one who found a writing retreat for me when I said I needed a longer stretch of time to focus on the task.  As an eighth night gift, he bought me three days of writing time through a local organization called Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South, run by Jeannette Stokes. Periodically, they hold these weeks of quiet and writing for women at Pelican House at Trinity Center.

It was perfect for me.  The house is silent during work hours. You're within easy reach of the beach and some marshes if you need to walk.  They feed you (quite well), so you don't have to spend any time and energy on figuring out where your meals will come from.  There's even usually coffee that someone else made.  I've been able to go twice now, and I've never been so focused and productive as a writer as I was at Pelican House.

I did most of my writing in this room:

It's perfect for me. I can see and hear the sea. The room is tiny--that photo shows most of it right there.  It's in a cupola at the top of a little spiral staircase.  The only distractions are the ones I bring in with me. Next time, I'm bringing a little folding table and I may just live in that room the whole time.

So maybe this is the first draft of my acknowledgements page.  Thank you so much, T.