It did. It changed me, not in an enormous way, but I feel different now that it is out there. I have an accomplishment that is tangible and will endure beyond me. It may reside in a used book store or a storage unit, but it’s there. I have the knowledge that I wrote a book and the confidence that I can do it again. That is enormous for me.
Before the book, I was just Kate, a mommy and a homemaker, doing what all mommies and homemakers have done since the beginning of time. Truthfully, I felt lowly and unimportant to others as a mom. My job (and I consider it to be that) is un-glamorous and possible for anyone who can produce or acquire a baby to parent. Don’t get me wrong. I also think it is the most important job in the world, to raise the next generation, and that is why it is my job, and not my hobby or my side-job. It’s just that it is a really easy field to break into.
Writing a book, however, is not something everyone can do. It makes others see me as unique and worthy. Only a week after my publishing date, I feel the rise in respect from other moms who I chat with in passing at my kids’ school. Friends I haven’t heard from in 16 years are excited about my books! My books are getting people excited! They are enthused about the one that is out and eager for the ones to come.
The publishing thing is interesting too. Even though I self-published and had control over when the book came out (har har), that confirmation of publication was a rite of passage that made me a “Real Writer”. Without the evidence they could hold in their hand (or in their Kindle) it was just a cool hobby. I have the paperback. It says my name on it.
The paperback’s arrival was especially important to my kids. To them, books are still objects. Seeing my book in physical form, not just words on a computer or an ereader, made it real to them. The interest expressed by others is what makes the book important in their eyes and not just some thing mom does on her laptop. They aren’t allowed to touch my laptop, and so it is my space. But when others notice and talk to them about it, it becomes important.
I do feel kind of like a cheater here because my writing is not something I planned to do and sat down with sheer determination to accomplish. It did take discipline and work, but that was to make it presentable. When an idea is whirling around in my head and I am looking at it from all angles and poking it to see if it will twitch, it has to eventually come out onto paper, or the screen of my laptop. The night before last, in order to stop thinking about my next day’s schedule, I made up a story about people transformed into strange beasts with a gene-altering parasite. Last night I expanded on that idea and then fell asleep had a dream about a dramatic confrontation that also could be a story, if arranged properly. There are two potential pieces of books, right there, that oozed out of me without effort.
This writing isn’t an accomplishment of will for me, it’s the manifestation of my thought processes. And it makes me look cool. “Hi, my name is Kate. I’m an author. Here’s where you can buy my book.” That is so cool! Truthfully, you probably can’t sneeze and not infect at least two authors. But I’m an author, and I can prove it, and it has changed me.