Mile Markers on the Writing Trail

In one week, a work I have put the last two years of my life into will finally be out of my hands. No more editing. No more non-writing details to fret over. No more questioning–well, alright, I’m almost certainly still going to be questioning myself. Too engrained in my nature. Even so, the whole affair’s a bit surreal, when I stop to think on it. One week until countless hours of body, mind, and soul are bound between two covers and slapped together for any eye to see–online, in print, close to home, or nations away. The mind whirls. Drifts.

What do I do, the mind asks. What do I do now?

Marketing demands a certain level of attention, to be sure, but it’s not the same. The writer swoons. Twitches. A moment of panic blossoms. Then comes the simple answer: I keep writing.

Next week will mark a culmination of one stage of my life – a part I dare dub the beginning.

Not the beginning of writing, certainly. Not the beginning of living – I’ve plenty of mountains out here that would attest I’ve been at that one for a goodly while. The soul of the individual remains as is. What this marks is completion. The end of the beginning, in proving the ability to commit. It’s an important stage for any writer, for it is the conquering of one’s fears, one’s uncertainties – but also the conquering of good facets of life as well: of hopes, of dreams. It is making writing not just a part of one’s spirit, but of one’s life.

“Finish. The difference between being a writer and being a person of talent is the discipline it takes to apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and finish. Don’t talk about doing it. Do it. Finish.”
~E. L. Konigsburg

Yet in spite of this culmination, one must always be wary of contentment. Something like this is not an end. Writing is…well, as E. L. Doctorow once said:

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
~E. L. Doctorow

And yes, I found two different people whose names begin with the same initials for today’s quotes. Want to fight about it? No? Good. Because that would have been silly.

But the point is this: publishing is an accomplishment. It is a moment in time a writer can sit back and smile at themselves (in spite of all the chaos of promotion and the like). Yet it is merely a step. For a writer, writing will always beckon. You never finish. You merely stop long enough to admire the scenery, and dive back in…