When you type those final words THE END at the conclusion of your manuscript. When you’ve completed a first draft, a second, a third, and a fourth, or more of your book, and when at long last you start to get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, you can begin to call what you’ve written a novel, the feeling is like nothing else on earth.
This afternoon, I emailed a copy of my sixth novel to my agent in New York. It’s been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons. Suffice it to say that as a writer this book has pushed me, punched me, shaken me, stirred me, and spit me back out again so many times that at one point just six months ago I had nearly given up hope of ever getting this one done. Now, it’s finally, finally out the door.
I know, of course, my agent will have suggestions and want me to revise some more. And then, if we’re fortunate enough to make a sale, another editor or two will have a crack at it and there will be even more tinkering, waxing, and polishing. But for now, at least, I can safely and honestly say the project feels substantially complete.
As I reflect tonight on the struggles we all go through as writers, I really only want to tell those of you who write one thing: It’s worth it. It’s worth all the pain and aggravation, late nights and early mornings, heartaches and joy. No matter what may happen to your writing; whether you ever gain the recognition you deserve, whether you earn zero dollars from it or a million, it’s all worth it in the end.
Not because of the writer you are, but because of the writer you will become.
Andy Straka is the author of the Shamus Award-winning and Anthony and Agatha Award-nominated Frank Pavlicek novels. A licensed falconer and co-founder of the popular Crime Wave at the annual Virginia Festival of the Book, Andy is also the author of Record Of Wrongs, which Mystery Scenemagazine calls "a first-rate thriller." His latest novel is Kitty Hitter (ISBN 1594148120 Cengage/Five Star $25.95).