This is Day 1 of my book writing journey. To be honest, it’s yet another Day 1. An idea for a novel came to me in the fall of 2017. I thought about it for a few months, turning it this way and that in my mind, examining it like a child who isn’t sure how her new toy works. Fascinated, hypnotized, and unsure. The book idea was not a complete, from-the-beginning-to-the-end kind of inspiration. It was more like a partially formed shell of a story, with one or two compelling scenes thrown in as an incentive to lure me towards this book. In the spring of 2018, I started working on the book, trying to flesh out the story. What was the book about? What went in the beginning, middle, and the end? I have always been an avid reader and like many people, I believe I can write a book though I haven’t actually written fiction. In fact, my entire writing repertoire consists of a few poems, a short story of dubious quality when I was a teenager, and a decade of writing a personal blog. English is not my first language though it is the one I’m most comfortable in. I don’t have a degree in creative writing. But I want to tell this story.
By April’18, I was firmly in the grip of writing fever. The (still incomplete) story was all I could think about. It gave me a renewed sense of creative purpose and added magic to my daily routine. I’d also started a new exercise regimen. My energy levels were up, I loved my morning walks that I spent daydreaming of my characters, and I wrote a little at the end of each day. This early on I wasn’t keeping track of the word count. Instead I was practicing the art and discipline of showing up each day to write. My first few attempts at starting this story make me cringe when I read them now. But in spite of the quality of the writing, when I wrote, I felt a sense of being exactly where I needed to be, a rightness, which was one of the reasons I maintained a personal blog for 10 years. I feel the same way behind the lens of a camera but even there, the feeling can be fleeting. Have you ever been in jobs, places, or situations where you are dutifully going through the motions but you always wonder what’s happening outside the window of the room you are in? Life feels like it’s happening there, not here where you are. While writing is the only time I don’t wonder.
Back to the spring of 2018 and my discovery that writing a book is not simply a case of showing up and writing. There are many writing styles and techniques and a budding writer must educate herself and adopt the one that works for her. This took some trial and error. There are genres whose rules need to be obeyed. What if your book belonged to a mashup blend of genres? There were other such practical decisions to be made and being offered so many choices can be as paralyzing as not being offered any. But I was still excited with the newness and the potential of it all and I’d very little idea of the journey I’d embarked on.
In parallel news, the bookclub I’d started earlier in the year (2018) finally got off the ground with Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior: A Memoir.