The Magic of Holding My Own Work

If there’s one thing I try to do as a writer, it’s stay humble. One of my biggest pet peeves as a writer is ego, in the mind of the writer that thinks they’ve got skill, that their words are pure gold. Some of them have the chops to prove it…others need to go back to school. My mindset is that no matter how good I think I am, there’s always room for improvement. It keeps me humble. It keeps me hungry. In that sense, I don’t want to stop working, because I’m not “finished” yet.

Allow me to stroke my ego for one moment.

(Calm down, I don’t mean it like that!)

I haven’t always been up front or public with my writing to my family, mostly because of a fear that my writing isn’t good enough to impress. With the debut of Shadow Assassins, my family has been incredibly supportive, which I am thankful for. I’ve signed and sent out some books recently. And in that moment came the magic. Not of the wannabe fame of, “look at me signing autographs!” It was more of the magic of being able to hold my work in physical form. There was real weight to it, a real feel to it.

There was magic.

The magic of holding my own work is something I’d never gotten to experience before. Most of what I do in terms of writing is electronic. My manuscripts are typed out. Tweeting, Facebooking, running this website – all electronic. I’ve only had the pleasure of holding my own work if I wrote it by hand or printed it. Printing comes close, but it doesn’t beat the magic of a bound paperback. Looking at the history of the Second Realm and the dozens of attempts I’ve made to get Shadow Assassins off of the ground (previous works that I was tempted to post publicly here, until I realized how awkward they were), the Second Realm trilogy is kind of like a child. I’ve carried it, raised it, refined it…but never held it. Not until now. Sure, my outlining and plotting is mostly handwritten, and those notebooks have weight. But it’s not the same kind of weight or magic as the finished product.

Don’t get me wrong: this post isn’t meant to brag about myself as a writer. I have moments where I think I’m a genius, before they’re crushed by the reality that the draft I’m on still needs editing. But there is pride. So many previous “major” works of mine go through what I’ve called “revamp hell,” where they are replotted and replanned over and over and ultimately, nothing gets done. I have so many of those somewhat-finished manuscripts and drafts sitting around on my hard drive.

This is an accomplishment for me. A major one.

Yes, it is magical.