Before you start a collective sigh of relief that I finally finished the *^%$&#*@ book. You need to realize how huge this is for me. No, not because I will finally be able to pay off my house and move into my castle in Scotland (or Tuscany depending on the day), bark commands at the house staff on how I want my book launch catered. Or set out to hobnob with my fabulously rich and famous friends on my private jet. Of course these are all perks in the fabulous life of a young adult author. But that's not really why I wrote a book. Ahem. Not entirely.
Okay, I may have entertained such thoughts originally. I might have been under the mild delusion that writers lived fabulous lives.
Let's be honest. I fantasized big time that novelists had somehow figured out how to avoid bills, a sink full of dishes, and weight gain. I blame the film industry for this delusion because writers portrayed on film live in fabulous houses, with beautiful gardens and small butts, while never typing a word.
Brainstorm in a Screenwriters think tank about upcoming Thriller.
Screenwriter one (working on her third Redbull before 10 a.m.) We need a protagonist that lives in a fabulous house by the ocean and drives a convertable.
Screenwriter two (takes a long drag on his cigarette)- With a sailboat, oh...and a golden retriever named Tolstoy.
One- Of course a disposable income is a must--
Two--and a drinking problem, he needs conflict--
One-Oh yeah, and don't forget Angelina Jolie is playing his librarian girlfriend.
Two- Yeah, but we can't give him a real job, not if he's going to have the free time to solve all of those crimes.
One- Let's make him a novelist, they don't do anything.
On film, novelists are either jet-setting eccentrics or oversexed alcoholics. It's a long perpetuated myth, novelists don't write their books, they just appear in tidy piles by the typewriter. Don't even get me started with female novelists. Apparently we all wear evening gowns and date pool boys.
Why do novelists stand for it?
Because novelists don't want the public to know how they really live. Sun starved, grazing the refrigerator, for something (anything that isn't two weeks past expiration) to eat, while mumbling about inciting events, messy middles and...why in the hell is the preschooler playing on the front lawn in nothing but moon boots and Disney princess underwear? Ahem. I'm speaking hypothetically of course.
If you are considering writing a book because you think it will solve all of your problems, consider therapy...lots of therapy, because you have another thing coming.
Writing is the least glamorous thing I've ever done. My house has never been more neglected. I haven't seen the bottom of the laundry basket since Memorial day, my answering machine has at least twelve unheard messages on any given day and my nickname at my ubiquitous day job is Seldom Seen.
My life is anything but glamorous. I wake. Exercise. Shower. Kiss the kids goodbye (because my husband got them ready for school). Bang my head against my computer monitor for three hours. Pick up my preschooler. Bang my head some more. Help the kids with homework. Throw whatever hasn't expired in a skillet for dinner. Listen to my children complain about said dinner. Put the complainers to bed. Grade papers. Go for one more round of head banging. Then, collapse in bed so I can do it all again tomorrow.
This is my schedule. Every. Single. Day, but Sunday. No exceptions. Okay sometimes I write in the car if I am traveling and occasionally forget to shower. But essentially my life revolves around my book. End of story.
Guess what? I still love it. I have never felt more joy. I have always wondered, deep down, if it was possible for me, Kristi Bevan-Stevens to actually write a book. (Clearly my overabundance of italics stresses the significance). Since I first read Lloyd Alexander's Book of Three in the Second grade, I have wanted to put my stories on the page. And now five thousand deleted pages later, I've done it! I have created something. It's not perfect. But sure enough, it's a book, with a beginning, middle and end. Yipee!
The finished product might not be what I was expecting, but it's been worth it. Every agonizing sentence.
If you're still not convinced that writers live exciting lives, watch Princess Diaries Author Meg Cabot here.