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Journey-versary (yes, I just made that word up)

Every journey has a starting point. It’s no different with authors. Sometimes it’s hard to determine when your journey began. Writing has always been in our blood. The need to put pen to paper, to express the feelings and thoughts that constantly run through our minds. To get the stories out of our heads.

To get the characters to shut up…

ALL OF THAT! It’s hard to pinpoint the moment we gave into our need and started this journey. It kind of feels like we’ve always been on it. That writing has always been a part of our soul.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I decided to take this crazy adventure but I do celebrate it every year. Because I remember about the time I got suck in. I was desperately seeking something that would keep my mind occupied. Something that I could escape into.

Not because I was going through a rough time, but because I was bored.

My son started Kindergarten. I had copious amounts of free time suddenly. Yes, I still worked 50 hours a week. Yes, I was still exhausted on a daily basis. But during the afternoons, when the house was clean (or I didn’t want to clean it) and no one was home with me, I found myself wanting to do more than sit and stare at the television.

My first idea to solve my boredom was to Spring Clean (even though it was fall) the entire house. Which meant scrubbing walls and emptying out closets that had become jam-packed with crap over the years. (I’m a bit of a pack-rat when it comes to sentimental items. I kept every hand-folded note I ever passed in high school. Every corsage from dances. Stupid little gifts boys gave me from quarter machines, even if I no longer remembered who the ‘special’ boy was.)

I also kept a partially hand-written book I had started when I was sixteen years old. It was in the last box I pulled out of our guest bedroom closet. I sat on the floor of that room (which later served as my first office) and read the hundreds of pages I had poured my teenage heart into. When I was finished, I laughed.

No, it was not a romantic comedy. It was just that bad.

But the bones of a good story were there. The characters were real. Relatable. Realistic.

I sat on that floor for hours making notes on the pages with a purple pen. Attempting to fix the crap that I had written. Ignoring the mess around me that was (days later) shoved back in the closet in the most unorganized way.

I remember driving to school to pick my son up. The entire drive I was consumed with the need to fix that book. To give those characters the story they deserved. Because they deserved better than what I had originally written. And that’s exactly what I did over the next two months.

I scrapped 99% of what I had originally written and started over. I wrote their story for me. For them. For the simple fact that I’m (somewhere deep down) a little OCD and couldn’t leave their story unfinished. Because even though there were hundreds of pages in that box, there was no ending to their story. They at least deserved that.

What’s the point of me telling you any of this? I’ve shared parts of this story before. Anyone who asks me why I started writing, I joke about the book I wrote in high school. A book that never saw the light of day because it would have been an embarrassment to anyone claiming to be a writer.

Next week my son starts 7th grade. Every year, the first week of school, I celebrate. One, because I get a little “me time” back. More importantly, I celebrate because I’m still on this journey. I celebrate that there are still readers that are on it with me. That I’ve made it as far as I’ve had in the 7 years since that day I sat cross-legged, laughing at the words I thought were gold when I was a teenager.

This year, I’m also celebrating #27.

Because after that first book, I was hooked. Not just on the characters and story I created. There was a fire inside me. A passion I had been missing. I wanted to write every second of every day. I had more ideas than I had time. I still do.

My 27th book will release on Friday of next week. I’ll drink a mid-afternoon glass of wine to keep from freaking out on release day and I’ll celebrate. Not the book, but the journey. The passion I still feel for writing.

Because of all of you.

Because you took a chance on me with that first book. Or maybe my tenth. Or maybe you’ll take a chance on me next week with the release of my 27th.

It doesn’t matter which book it is, I still appreciate it. Because without you, I wouldn’t be able to do this every day. I wouldn’t be on this journey still. I wouldn’t be able to feel the passion in my body threaten to explode the moment I get a new idea, or sit down at my computer with a fresh cup of coffee to write.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being on this journey with me. For supporting me, and every other author you read. None of the past seven years would have been possible without you. Authors write because we have to. We write because it’s what drives us. Same as reading a good book drives you.

At the end of the day, though, we also write because we want to give you something new to read. A new place to escape. You next book boyfriend to drool over. A character you can relate to.

We write for you. We write for us.