Saturday, April 16, 2016

Happy Writer

     Yesterday evening it was so golden and glorious outside and I was feeling so wonderfully restless that I had to do something, so I decided to take a bike ride. Last spring was when I developed my typical bike trail, and in those months of May and June I must have ridden it dozens of times, but I hadn't yet this spring. There is a beautiful freedom in riding your bike down cozy neighborhood roads, without a helmet (yes, I live in the country -- if the road don't have lines on it, ain't wearing no helmet), feeling like you can go anywhere in the world even if you're just a few miles from your house.

     (Oh yes...on this bike ride, it occurred to me that I haven't yet given my trusty bike, whom I have had for over a year now, a name. I thought about it for about five seconds and decided to call him Branson. It seems fitting, since my bike is my form of transportation. ANYWAY, there's your random bit of useless Emma-trivia for the day.)

     While I sped along on the peaceful city roads, and then out into the more rural countryside, I thought about things.

     I just finished my first whole novel a few days ago, and it left me so exhausted and my heart so full I almost didn't know how to respond. I typed the last few words -- "This is June" -- stared at the screen, wanted to burst into tears, and then went and made brownies. Then I emailed my best friend in all caps, wrote down my feelings as best I could put them in my journal, and sort of wandered around in a stupor wondering what normal authors do when they finish their books.

     ...That makes it sound like I wasn't happy. ;-P Oh, I was happy! Very, very happy. But I think I was so happy I didn't know how to be that happy. Even though I've been dreaming about finishing a book for years, to have it actually happen was catastrophic. Suddenly it's not a dream's REAL.

     So now, a few days later, I've calmed down a little and can be rationally pleased with myself. ;-) (Just kidding, I still have those ohmygoodness is this for real?! moments.) I really feel like a writer now. I feel legitimate. I feel accomplished. I feel...incredibly blessed.

     And finishing June Darling made me realize something. I'd heard Larry McMurtry say this before, but I doubted I'd ever feel the same way. Well, turns out, I do. Because here's what finishing a novel taught me:

     The finishing isn't the best part. It's the writing of it that's the best part.

     Honestly, finishing up something I've been working on is AWESOME IN THE FIRST DEGREE, but it's not any more awesome than that first spark of an idea, or all those afternoons pounding out chapter after chapter, or all those possible plot twists rolling around in my head to choose from. Finishing isn't everything. Everything is everything. The whole journey. From the first to the last, and especially all that comes in between. Finishing even has a bittersweet note, for me, because I've loved my characters so much for so long that I'm going to miss spending time with them. :-( (Oh right, but now I get to edit! YAY. *fist pump*)

     Once I realized this, it made me really happy.

     My favorite thing about being a writer? It's not sitting in front of a computer screen typing words like mad. It's not scribbling notes with a dull pencil late at night, or naming characters, or even killing off characters. (Actually I didn't kill anyone in June Darling -- unbelievable.) No, my favorite thing about being a writer is this: the possibilities.

     You write a book -- YAY. Now you can write another one. There are always more stories to tell, always new ideas to plot, always new characters to create. The journey never ends.

     That makes me a happy writer. :-)

     As I was riding my bike, I let my mind run free. I passed houses and wondered about the people who live there, and what stories they might have to tell. I heard noisy truck engines coming down long wooded driveways and it made me grin. I listened to the peepers rejoicing from muddy ditches (man, they were loud last night!) and imagined some of my characters a hundred years ago hearing the same thing of a spring evening. I watched the sun sink in the west. I ate up every sound, every flash of sunlight, and let it sink into my soul. I vowed to write really good stories that will sink into other people's souls and make them happy.

     I'm glad I finished June Darling. I'm also glad for the many many pages of drafts and notes stuffed in torn folders that are hanging around my desk -- old stories I've abandoned, and many just waiting for me to look their way again. I'm glad for the possibilities. (Especially those of a Certain Novel which has been dogging me for almost two years and is at this very moment calling me audibly...) I'm glad that no matter how many literary battlefields I conquer, there will always be others waiting for me.

    Basically, I love being a writer. ;-)

     P.S. Thank you all SO MUCH for all your comments on my last post!!! Seriously, it means SO much to me. The fact that you are all so excited for me is overwhelming, not to mention the fact that people actually want to read my book!!! You're all amazing and I love you.


  1. That's right. It's the possibilities--the possibilities for more and more and MORE stories--that's the best part. I love being a writer, too :-)

    (And I really do want to read your book, when you get it published. Just sayin'.)

  2. Oh my goodness! Such a lovely post, Emma! Absolutely gorgeous. Makes me want to write a book SO bad. I wish I could make myself do it. :P

    Yes, indeed. The possibilities! They are pretty much endless, aren't they?

    ~Miss March

    P.S. I approve of your bike's name. It's a good name for a bike. ;)

    1. Thanks, Miss March! Hey -- if you want to write a book, I say do it. Even if it takes years and years (I've been trying for something like a decade) it'll be worth it.

      Oh, and thanks. I think it's quite a fitting name for a bike. ;-)

  3. I want to read your book so badly! It sounds lovely and I'm so excited that you've finished it. Also, naming your bike Branson makes me happy. :D


    1. Thank you, Erin! That means so much to me. :-) I hope you can read it someday!

  4. This was just beautiful, Emma. And congratulations!!! I really want to read your book!!
    ( I liked your "random useless bit of Emma-trivia, by the way.;))

    ~Rilla Blythe

    1. Thank you so much, Rilla. :-D Hopefully you'll be able to someday!


    Emma, I am SO happy for you!! -throws confetti- Having also recently experienced finishing my first full length novel, I know exactly how you feel. And you wrote down those feelings all so beautifully!

    Yay for editing! I think it would be more sad than happy finishing a book if I didn't get that extra time with my characters-starting their story all over, and coming to understand them even more.

    Oh your previous post! I'm going to read that soon, I promise. :) It looked so good, but I didn't have time to read it when I first saw it.

    ps. I ride my bike without a helmet even when there are lines on the road. Don't tell anyone I said that. ;P

    1. YES!!!! THANK YOU!!!! :-D

      I know, I remember your post on when you finished your book, and how excited you were -- and now I know what that feels like! Yay for editing, indeed. It's been a week now since I finished the book and I actually haven't touched it since then, but I can't wait to jump back in and start making it beautiful. I love my characters so much.

      Oh, heehee. That's okay. I won't tell no one. ;-P

    2. Yay, again!! I'm just SO happy for you. I think I was walking on clouds for weeks after I finished my book. I hope you have the same experience! :D

      I took a long break before starting up editing, too. :) I hope you have lots of fun with it when you dive back in!

      Haha, thank you.

  6. Congratulations on finishing your novel! It sounds like a delightful book, and you've really got me wanting to read it! :D

    Aaannnndddd.... wanted to let you know that I tagged you for the Liebster award. If you're interested, you can check it out here:

    1. Thank you! Oh, I'm glad. I think it's quite delightful, personally.

      Neat! Thanks. I'll check that out!

  7. Delightful blog, Emma! Enjoyed puttering about in it. And the blog template is so sweet. I am a writer too--have written since I was 7 but haven't completed a novel yet. Lack of perseverance, I suppose. My story characters were my best friends as a child! One of these days I will have to take the time to root through my boxes of manuscripts and renovate my old stories!

    1. Hello, new friend! :-) Thank you so much! Oh, one of these days I hope you do finish one of your books -- it's totally amazing and it's totally worth every little bit.

  8. Enjoying your delightful blog! As a fellow writer, I can empathize with many of your writerly sentiments.
    Check out my blog,

  9. I read this post JUST before I went on holidays. It's so nice to come back to it. :)

    I wish I could hop on a plane and go to your place and ride a bike with you around your little country roads. (We have dirt roads just outside our driveway, too.) And I always love to 'think about things' when I'm riding my bike, too. I normally am thinking of something, though, at any given time. (Earlier this week I thought of a really good idea for a play I'm writing, while I was in the shower. (Not that that's unusual. You know how much I love my showers and all the good ideas I get out of them.) I have also got some good ideas while watching movies this past week. It's really been a very inspirational week, all around. :D

    By the way, your photos just get better and better, Emma. :)

    Wow, you didn't kill anybody off in June Darling? I can't even do that. ;P

    YASSS! The possibilities! Writers have the most awesome-est jobs ever. Just sayin'. :D

    Ah. I'm so happy. You're an inspiration, girl. You know that, right? ;)

    ~Miss Meg

  10. Late on this, but congratulations Emma!! Continued blessings on your writing.


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