Exactly one year ago I finished my last revision (probably) of my first mystery. In the fall of 2010, after drafting the first 20,000 words of my second mystery, I made the decision to return to my first and create a former relationship between the protagonist and the victim, thus tying them together from the outset. And this addition changed the focus so profoundly and so immediately that I ended up rewriting each chapter, one after another, all the way to the end.
I can’t overstate how valuable that process was (and I explained what it did for me in my last post). But from the vantage point of 2012 I see that it also started me on a path which I couldn’t have foreseen when I made that decision back in 2010. In the space of time between January 27, 2011 and January 27, 2012, I completed and revised that second mystery, I wrote the first draft of a contemporary romance, and I successfully completed a novel during National Novel Writing Month. Rewriting that first mystery taught me the value of sitting down (almost) every day and working on a book. My output last year shows that, in fact, if you put something down on paper regularly, soon you have a book, and then another, and another.
And all of these newly-created books give me freedom, too. I may never publish those mysteries, but I’m not holding tightly on to them, reworking bits and pieces without end, hoping and wishing they might be seen as good enough for a book deal by SOMEBODY. I know now there are more books, both on my computer and inside, books that will flow out of me and that may be “the one.”
In the past year I put a stake in the ground. I’m a writer now.