Earlier this week, I did a blog over at The Naked Truth, Naked Reader's blog where I asked -- okay, I'll admit it. I whined a bit -- "Do I have to?". I whined because Amanda and Cliff, NR's acquisitions editor, wanted me to post a little about myself and Wedding Bell Blues. I'd never done a blog before and really wasn't sure what I ought to say. Next thing I knew, not only was I blogging there but here as well. I'm no longer whining, except when my coffee cup is empty and the chocolate is gone. But, from what I can tell, that's the general response of most writers face with such a predicament.
Okay, who am I and why am I here? As it says on the book cover -- gee, I never really thought I could say that. And isn't it a great cover? Laura Givens did a wonderful job and I can't thank her enough -- my name's Ellie Ferguson. As I said at The Naked Truth, I'm older than 20 and younger than death and that's all you'll get from me about my age. After all, it's not polite to ask a woman how old she is. I'm a mother, a daughter and was a wife. I've spent most of my life in the South and love to travel. The only problem with that is my dog always thinks I've abandoned him when I do and it takes weeks to reassure the poor thing and my cat resents the fact I came back before he could figure out a way to kill the dog and hide the body. My house is haunted -- it is, really. I swear it. What else explains the table that plays music and the light that comes on by itself? -- but it's mine and I love it. Okay, I'm a little strange. But that makes life interesting.
Wedding Bell Blues is my first published novel. Like most writers, I have a number of others that I probably should burn for fear that, after I'm gone, someone might find them and see that I spent a lot of time writing bad fanfic as I learned how to be a writer. And that brings me to the topic today.
Do I have to write? I can't tell you how many times I've heard that question -- and often from myself. Sometimes the question comes from family or friends who just don't understand what it is to be a writer. They shake their heads and you can see them thinking, "Poor Ellie. Her head's always in the clouds. Such a shame she can't be like the rest of the family." Then there is my favorite variation on it, "Poor Ellie, such a shame she'll never be as good as [insert author's name here]."
What they don't understand is that, yes, I do have to write. Writing is as much a part of me as my graying hair and need for coffee every morning. I can't not do it. The hard part is screwing up the confidence to actually send out something I've spent so much time writing. Then the wait. Will the editor like it? Will they buy it? What if they buy it but want me to make all sorts of changes? What if my father sees what I've written -- oh, wait, it's not THAT kind of book. Whew.
Then the call comes saying the editor liked the book and wants to publish it. My shout of joy can still be heard -- echoing somewhere around the Himalayas by now. That was one of the best moments of my life. Someone not only liked what I had written but wanted to pay me money for it and put it out where others could read it. Others...gulp...people would actually read it. Was there anything in it I didn't want them to read? What was in it? Why couldn't I remember what I'd written?
Fortunately, Cliff managed to talk me down from the sudden burst of fear that no one would like my book. Now I only break into the shakes once every couple of hours. After all, I'm an writer. I can say that now. I have a great cover with my name on it. I can point people to sites where they can buy my book. No need to hyperventilate. No time to...after all, I have to write. Not for Cliff. Not even for Naked Reader. No, I have to write for me. Writing is a part of me and I have more stories to tell. As I work on my next novel, there is only one question I can't answer and it is the question all writers -- if they're honest -- fear: will the readers like my book?
All I can say is I hope so. Wedding Bell Blues is one of those books that had to be written. It came to me while on vacation and wouldn't let me go. I had fun writing it and I love the characters. Hopefully, Cliff will let me play with them some more later. In the meantime, I'll continue to write because I can't not do it.
Hello, my name's Ellie and I'm a writer. It's almost 7 in the morning and I've written a blog and 1,000 words on my current wip. Who drank all my coffee?
So, how about you guys? Do you have to write? Or am I the only one who has the strange, often demanding, compulsion?