I'm a Rider

You write a novel and you're a writer...right?

Not exactly.  

Writing a novel is only the first curve of a long ride you're about to take---a ride full of ups and downs, more curves, weighted decisions, and plenty of blood, sweat, & tears. Ok, maybe not blood so much... unless you actually do punch your computer screen instead
of just fantasizing about it... but sweat and tears, definitely.
It doesn't sound like any kind of fun, much less anyone's life dream...why would someone willingly put themselves through all that stress?  I don't know the answer, but I can tell you what I think:
    --Some do it because they truly, madly, deeply love writing and would die if they couldn't write. (they are also extremely fond of hyperbole)
    --Some are propelled toward this most arduous goal by visions of $$$ that dance in their heads (ha!).
    --Some don't do it.  They crumble under the pressure and walk away.
    --The rest are most likely certifiably insane...like me. ;o)

But there does have to be some part of your sanity you're willing to surrender while huddling beneath the patchwork quilt of emotions the writing process lays over you~
  • Happiness that comes from writing a really great scene or clever line that gives you chills... or hearing positive feedback from readers, reviewers, or agents... or simply from the fact that you completed a paragraph... a chapter... a whole novel! =)
  • Sadness from getting your 1st rejection letter---or 53rd... or from missing all those things you used to do before you started devoting so much time to writing. 
  • Fear that no one is going to like what you wrote---or even read it... fear of the literal or metaphorical slush pile... or fear that you're in way over your head and maybe you should just give up.
  • Anger at losing thousands of words you just wrote when your computer crashed... again.
  • Frustration with yourself at your inability to read any page of your already edited manuscript without wanting to make "a few more tiny changes"...  or at all the hours you scrounged from your schedule to spend time writing, wasted battling writer's block.
  • Confusion when it comes to the decisions---some small, some huge:  Indie or trade publisher?  CS or LSI?  This agent, or the other one?  White paper or cream?   Query letter...where do I start?  What about a blog?  A Facebook page?  Do I have to Twitter?  Should I outline or pants it?  What about cover art...layout...formatting...trim size? 
  • (head spinning)
  • Love for the characters you created and have given up so much headspace to...for the gift of writing that has been an outlet for the deepest parts of who you are and given you the truest sense of accomplishment... and for the far-beyond-crazy life you signed up for when you typed that first word.

    After more than 2 years on the ride I have completed and published my first novel in both paperback and e-book... I have written, directed, and produced a trailer for my book (see it here)... I have set up Facebook pages & Twitter accounts and I've done everything pretty much on my own (see above-referenced insanity).  Even after all that, the ride isn't slowing down.  Every time I finish a project or reach a goal, there's always another one or six waiting.  The journey I've been on the past 2 years is not over.  The ride is like a merry-go-round...all the emotions, the hard work, the late nights, every experience circling around again, over and over. 

    Wanting to be a writer...or actually writing a novel is not what makes you a writer.  It's also embracing the good & bad times, the mistakes and failures, the successes and accomplishments... and the neverending learning process that is writing...aka laying your soul bare.

    When you've taken that ride... and you keep on riding, you are a writer.

    And a rider.