Three years later, I remember walking through the snow to the high school. We only lived about eight blocks from it. I remember feeling frozen to the bone. My fingers and face were burning where my skin was exposed to the Arctic wind. I hated being up that early, and I hated being that cold. So, I daydreamed all the way there about what life as a writer would be like. I imagined sleeping in late and staying inside on cold days. Someday, I thought, someday I'll be a writer, and life will be great.
Fast forward a few decades. Now, I look back and shake my head at that silly little fool. Yes, I do sleep in when I want to, but I stay up late to make up for it. Yes, I can stay inside when it's freezing, but I have to struggle to pay for gas and electric.
Writing isn't anything like I thought it would be. For instance, I did not become an overnight success. Writing is hard. And marketing? I don't even want to talk about it. Promotion ideas that worked yesterday don't work today. You can spend all your profits trying to get your book noticed--if you even have a profit.
And the thing I loved most about writing, disappearing alone in my own world and living through these characters has become tainted by the voices of interlopers. No matter how many good reviews I get, the bad ones are like a dagger in my heart. They haunt me while I'm trying to write. Even the likes and dislikes of fans can intrude on my world. Instead of it being just me and my characters, I'm wondering if my readers would like this or if I should do it another way. Sometimes I long for those days before I was published, the days when I had no idea what readers wanted.
But in the end it comes down to one thing: writing is breathing to me. I can't stop. Hopefully, my readers can't stop either.