I.Q. points? Not so much. Total scored on Ms. Pac-Man in the 80s? Nope. Words written in two years of dedicating myself to my writing? Yup.
Funny thing is, that’s not all the words written, just the first drafts and complete rewrites in which I didn’t copy from the previous versions (edits were excluded because the numbers are too difficult to calculate). It’s a little mind boggling, and what got me thinking about it is the date today. April 1st, 2010. I know it’s not the day to necessarily believe the above mentioned information (though true), but it was April 1st two years ago that I decided to get focused on the goal I’d possessed my entire life but had never given its due.
And I felt like a little “Happy Anniversary to Me.” As writers know (and one of my favs recently mentioned to me), writing can, at times, be a very lonely experience. Sure, we have legions of characters mucking up the synapses, so often we feel too crowded out to realize we’re alone, but on some level, we know. We can share word count goals, completion victories, querying nightmares, and the “ughs, I’ve been waiting for word on this full forEVER,” but even our nearest and dearest can only tread in the shadows of our footprints, never quite in them. Even amongst our writing support teams, the best we can offer is support and acceptance because all of our writing journeys are as unique as we are. Some of my writing friends have agents, books on submission, and book deals, and I can celebrate their triumphs with great fervor, but I can’t truly understand the new stresses involved, the heightened expectations, the fears of failure, and how much more potent the waiting would be when they are so close to the promised land. Even with those limitations, I know that the support I provide is valued, just as theirs is to me. And I guess I was thinking that this two-year milestone needed to be shared, because, to me, it is the celebration of how much I love writing and every minute I’ve spent in this writing journey. Sure, there are moments of sadness, hurt, and everything that comes from opening up to all that is beyond our control, and yet there have been more perfect moments in these two years than in all the others put together, because I followed through on what in my soul I know I’m meant to do.
And I have more than 1,247,692 words to show for that hard work.
But wait, there’s more...
Following through on my writing spurred me to follow through on other things as well. And though not all strictly writing related, I’d love to share them. In the past two years, I’ve lost more than 30 pounds; become an open-water swimmer (roughly three miles was my top distance); written everyday without a single day off; attended a writers’ conference; climbed out of anonymity and started a blog; networked with strangers/writers online who have become some of my dearest friends; become a bit of a fashionista; gotten involved in social groups and made some amazing friends; paid off my car about 9 months early; sent close to two hundred queries (combined total for more than one project); become a nutrition-nut/health conscious individual; quit my life-long addiction to caffeine; stopped swearing (mostly... but don’t vex me cause I know where those swear words are lurking); become a slightly obsessed fan of professional bull riding; read about a hundred books; and I guess I should add that I also work a full-time job.
There have been downs for every up (including a near panic attack on my first open-water swim wearing the corset-esque wetsuit), but, for me, it’s all about forward motion. Breaking out of my shell with my writing empowered me to break down many of the unhealthy patterns in my life, and each time I find a new one, I just move forward.
That’s what my more than a million words means to me, proof of forward motion. And honestly, I really can’t wait to finish writing this blog so I can dive into a story and start the next year of my living and writing journey. The tagline of my blog is “Where Literature and Life Meet,” and I don’t think I really understood how powerful that concept is until right now. The words we put on the page have a wealth of power, but I think, it is in the lives we live while writing that our true power as writers lies. It’s in the entirety of our connection with our readers, our friends, our communities, and ourselves that 1,247,692 words matter at all.
And here are the 20 words that matter the most to me right now:
I am grateful for every part of my writing life, and thank you so much for sharing it with me.