So much support…

One of the hardest parts for me about finishing my novel was sharing it with others. I realize now that was all about my own self-doubt than anything else and luckily for me, the people I have shared it with have liked it.  That’s been good for my self-esteem for sure.

And while I have known all along that I have the support of the people around me I wasn’t expecting them to show that support in so many incredible ways. It has been such a great reminder that I am not alone on this crazy journey.

The day after I finished my book my mum showed up at my door with this:

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The card read: “Published yet or not, this is a huge accomplishment. Didn’t think I could be more proud of you. Congratulations! Love, Mum”

After that, there were texts and phone calls. Emails and voicemails. All with words of encouragement and support. Many with offers to read and give feedback.

Then there was this:

Then this:

When I finished my first novel – just in time for my 40th birthday – I did it for me. I set a goal for myself and was so proud to achieve it. And I have been overwhelmed by the support of my family & friends. First my husband had everyone sign a canvas with words of praise and encouragement for my birthday. And now my mum gave me this mock cover art for my office. I love it so much. Writing is so solitary so I'm loving the fact that the people I love the most are behind me on this crazy ride. ❤️📚 • • • • • #amwriting #amediting #womensfiction #debutnovel #fictionwriter #AfterTheBreak #writersofinstagram #writerscorner #womenwhowrite #writerslife #femalewriters #booklover #reading #books #writinginspiration

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How lucky am I? Now I just need to win the lottery so I can write full time. Always good to have a realistic plan right?

The first feedback…

A few days ago I hit send on an email that had been sitting in my drafts folder for about a week. It was a very exciting email. One that was 10 years in the making and was going out to some of my closest family and friends. To 8 people I love and know love me.

And it was the most terrifying email I have ever drafted.

The thought of sending it filled me with so much dread and doubt and uncertainty I nearly threw up.

These were the people I was asking to read my book. The first people that would read the novel I had worked on for 10 years. And I was terrified they were going to hate it.

It’s a crazy thing to share part of your soul…part of your complete being…with others. My book is my baby in a way that my actual babies couldn’t be.

This book is what makes me a writer. And I want to be a writer. I want to call myself a writer. But I want to have earned the right to do so.

And if these 8 people said my book was no good – in the kind and loving way I knew they would – it would mean this goal I had been working on for so long – for my entire life – was unattainable.

Somehow – when I was ready as I was ever going to be – I sent it. Then I printed off 8 copies and delivered them.

And then I waited – a part of me vibrating with nerves and self-doubt – until the first “review” came in a few days later.

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I could breathe again.

I heard my aunt laugh out loud while reading it and thought “I did that.”

I saw tears in my mother’s eyes as she read it and thought “Words I wrote did that.”

Another friend posted a picture on Facebook of her reading my book and people liked it.

And then I got this text:

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So while I still can’t believe anyone other than me has read the 89,000 words I have been working on for so many years, I can’t deny the obvious truth.

I have readers.

And that – by definition – officially makes me a writer.

 

I wrote a book!

In my heart of hearts I have always been a writer. Ask me to describe my perfect day and instead of a job I would spend my days writing novels.

Sadly I don’t actually live in this dream world and that means I have a job. And kids. And a husband. And a house. And responsibilities.

What I’m saying is that on my list of everyday priorities setting aside time to write isn’t high up on the list. About 10 years ago, after my first my first daughter was born, I was desperate for a creative outlet. And for time out of the house.

So I signed up for a fiction writing class at the community college. It was there that the idea for “After the Break” took root in my brain. I wrote the prologue and the first 4 chapters of the book in that class.

I was inspired by my classmates, I loved sharing my work. I was a writer again. It felt good.

And then, the class ended and so did my writing. I tried to keep with it. I really did but I didn’t have the weekly excuse to write.  “After the Break” went into a drawer for 7 long years.

Two years ago I found it while cleaning out my files. I read through it and realized that while it was rough – really rough in some parts! – the framework for a women’s fiction novel was there.

I signed up for my first NaNoWriMo and dove headfirst into the world of Abigail Lane.

And last night – at 11:08pm on June 22 – I wrote the final line of “After the Break.”

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It was an amazing feeling to write that final line. The culmination of so much time and effort and hard work.

My heart was pounding with adrenaline. I couldn’t stop smiling. And there was no one to share it with!

My kids were in bed, my husband was out with friends and it was far too late to call anyone.

So I recorded my joy and giddiness for posterity.  I figured I’d just keep the video to myself..but where’s the fun in that?

I wrote a book! from Kelly Duran on Vimeo.

So I wrote a book. That’s the easy part. Now I have to finish editing it. And then (gulp!) I need to let people read it before I start pitching it to agents or publishers.

I hope it’s good.

I really do think it is…but I’m prepared for the fact it isn’t and I will never get it published.

And even if that happens. Even if only my friends and family read it. There is one thing that will never change no matter what.

I wrote a book.

88,654 words of my own creation.

And damn that feels good…