As I mentioned briefly in this post (hidden way at the bottom), I have a passion project that I’ve been devoting myself to in all my spare moments. I’ve written two novels since the summer – and here is a little bit of the story behind, well…the stories.
A bunch of people have been urging me to write a book for many years – and I just didn’t feel like I had the time to adequately devote to it, and I didn’t know what I’d write about, besides.
Well, as you may recall, back in June, we stayed with my Dad and Nana Nancy in Indiana. When we came back to California, I was in a funk for a little bit. We had such a magical time there, I wanted to capture it all in a series of blog posts, but I knew that I just couldn’t do it justice. Then, an idea came to me like a flash – I had to write a book about our trip. It was really just a book for me and the girls – for us to remember our exquisite and dreamy time in the Heartland.
Well, when I say that I couldn’t stop myself from writing it – it’s true – I had to write it. Every excuse I’d ever told myself why I couldn’t write a novel melted away, and the book literally forced me to write it. Every spare moment I had, I was writing the book. I wrote after the girls went to bed, while I was waiting for them at gymnastics, at the grocery store check-out line, and while I was using the restroom (ewww!) I felt like I was in a race against time before all the details (the magic) slipped away from me.
Also? I told no one that I was writing it. Literally, nobody. I didn’t want the pressure of having to finish it, and I didn’t want my vision muddled by outside influences. So, I kept it to myself. I was in this heady romance with my story, and it was intoxicating! I didn’t even tell Mr. M until I was over half-way done with the book – it was that much a secret!
The book took on a life of its own and became a magical realism tale – a sort of Anne of Green Gables meets Roald Dahl escapade. It’s about the enchanted adventures four sisters embark on one summer while visiting their grandparents in a mysterious small town.
And you know the weirdest part? All the excuses I’d told myself about why I didn’t have time to write a novel melted away. I mean, I have four young children, who I homeschool, Mr. M was working crazy hours (never home), and you know that Baby Ellie will only sleep if I’m holding her. And I always hold her when she’s awake. Which means, I’m always holding her.
So, how to write (and finish) a novel when I have zero downtime and my baby sleeps only when I hold her, rendering it impossible for me to type on a regular keyboard?
Do you know what I did? I texted the book to myself. Yep, I wrote that book on my phone with my index finger. All 200 pages of it.
Crazy, right?! By the end of the book, my fingers felt like they were going to fall off, my hands were so cramped I could barely move them. I was in pain constantly, and with every word, my fingers ached. Ached is not even an adequate word for how awful they felt.
Since I was texting the book to myself, I would go back and re-read passages I’d written, and they would be entirely auto-corrected, a garbled mash of nonsense. Also, (often) the phone would crash and I’d lose pages of work – just poof! – vanished in an instant.
What did I do? I kept going.
At the end of it, I had my finished book! Every word was carefully selected and crafted since…you know…I had to make every word count with my arthritic fingers.
I had finally – for the first time in my life – finished a novel.
I love my first book – I started revising it, and thanked it for being my very first finished novel. And then? I put it away. I just knew it wasn’t the book that I wanted to put out into the world quite yet. It’s a really personal story, a beautiful book, and I do believe it will be published one day. But for right now, I’m holding that one close to my heart before I send it off…
Then, what happened?
Well…I thought I would only write that one book, get it out of my system, and be done. My fingers were about to fall off from all that texting, and honestly, my hands could use a break. I was beat!
So, the night I typed the last word on my novel, do you know what happened? An idea came to me. An idea I had to write. Literally, I had to write it or I would get anxious, and my stomach would flip like I was going to throw up. I was a nervous wreck that my story – my new idea – was going to slip away from me before I had the chance to tell it. The only thing that made me feel better was to write the novel – on my phone – my fingers aching as I texted each word to myself on a tiny screen while I held Baby Ellie in my arms.
That night I started writing my second novel (you know, moments after finishing the first novel) – I stayed up until dawn outlining it. I could not stop for anything, even the sun peering in through my curtains.
And ever since that night, I’ve been working on my second novel! I’ve finished it – and I’m working on my third draft of that novel now.
So, that is a little of the story behind my stories. I feel like this whole new part of my life has opened up and it’s so exciting! I have enough story ideas to last me for at least the next hundred years of writing. That is, if my fingers don’t fall off first from texting these novels to myself. Ha!
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