Back in second grade when I was penning my first “books,” my vision of publishing went something like this: I’d awake full of creative energy and climb the stairs to my writing room — a high tower featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and magnificent views of a sunny shoreline or sparkling fields or majestic trees. Note the excessive use of adjectives in that sentence; at seven years old, “creative” meant using as many adjectives as possible. Ahem.
Once settled in my room with the inspirational view, I’d write feverishly until the story came to its happy ending. Then I’d send the manuscript to my editor, who’d not change a single word. And within a couple of months, I’d hold my bestselling novel in my hands.
The reality, of course, is far from childhood expectations. I never built that writing tower, though I do write in a room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of the tree tops. And, yes, the view does inspire. But it also distracts. I mean, how can you concentrate when someone is staring at you?
More reality: It takes years to write and re-write a quality novel, one that moves so seamlessly that readers tune out the world around them and become immersed in the story. At some point in this writing process, the author loses her perspective and must rely on trusted first readers and editors to point out areas that require smoothing. That mystical editor, the one who doesn’t change a single word, not only doesn’t exist; she’d be useless if she did.
But some childhood dreams really do come true. The joy of writing that last sentence, the one that ties the book together and makes the reader happy she spent valuable time immersed in the world I created, remains the same. Meeting and talking to readers always delights. And the friends I make along the way can never be replaced.
Friends like Leanne “when’s the next book” Githens, seen below helping me send manuscript forms of The Pirate’s Ruby to my first readers and editors.
And unnamed allies, like Mr. UPS Man:
Maybe, in the end, childhood dreams aren’t so unrealistic after all.
What about you? Did you have childhood dreams or expectations that turned out differently but pretty darn good? If so, please share them; I love to hear from you!