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THE MAKINGS OF AN AUTHOR

I’ve always been a writer but never thought of being one. 
 
Some people are born knowing their career. The ten-year-old with the precocious smile, announcing to the entire waiting room her plans to study marine law in New Zealand. The middle-schooler insisting on extra summer reading lists while his friends look on in horror. The high school senior already on her third internship and second college course.
 
Nope, not this girl.
 
I was born knowing what I loved and loving what I did, but not realizing it was something I could do. Like anyone, I had my passions, but it never occurred to me a passion could be a career. As my friends huddled around televisions in their parents’ finished basements, I fashioned worlds and people in notebooks. I wrote because there was nothing I would rather do, and in those stolen moments, felt at peace in that place where imagination meets expression.
 
But be an author? I wasn’t an author. Authors were mythical beings who had fairy godmothers in the form of agents and editors and publishers. Authors gave speeches at graduations and sat in front of fireplaces on documentaries. I wasn’t entirely sure how those books on my shelves came into existence, but I never considered being responsible for one. I was just a girl with a pen and a love of creating her own universe. I wrote because I’d rather immerse myself in a story I could control than be directed by someone else’s hand. I wrote because there was a fire in me that had to find its way to incarnation.
 
Over the years I traded my pencil and college-ruled notebook paper for a computer, but the stories continued. My characters, my friends, my enemies, my secret crushes. We all fantasize about life; I just recorded mine in prose. My stories were my diaries, buried deep in hidden folders never meant to be seen.
 
And then, something amazing happened: I finished one.
 
I stared at my labor of love for a long time. At that file that dwarfed the dozens of others in my “Revised Novel” folder. I didn’t know what to do with it at first. Do I create a new folder? “Finished Novels” maybe? But it seemed cruel to banish these incredible people to a forgotten bit of hard drive space for all of eternity. After all, we’d bonded for months; they expected more from our relationship.
 
I couldn’t bear to say goodbye, so with a deep breath and racing pulse, I did something I’d never done before. Opening an e-mail, I attached a file. A large one. My hand trembled, but somehow I managed to press send.
 
The first report came back positive. Then another, and another. Suddenly, I began to realize that maybe my passion had actually intersected with talent. Maybe there were others who would enjoy glimpses into the dark but compassionate rumblings of my head. I didn’t think about a book deal; I didn’t even know what that was. I still don’t, but I knew that I loved sharing my world. I knew there were others who wanted to be a part of it. After years of imaginary friends, I could talk about my characters with people who had befriended them as well. 
 
Full disclosure: that first finished work is now filed away for all of eternity in my “Finished Novels” folder. Along with the next. And the next. And the next. My hard drive continued to fill, until one day, I made new friends. Friends I just had to introduce to the world. Friends who are now on shelves and being shared in ways and places I never imagined.
 
At the time of this post, I still don’t have a giant leather armchair in front of a fire. I certainly don’t expect my name to ever be subtitled below my profile as I discuss current events in an awkwardly rehearsed improvisation. But I know what I love, and I love what I do, and wow… 
 
I’m an author.

 

 

 

Night Shifts Black
 
Published: 
October, 2016