In addition to concerns about my siblings’ reactions to my work, I have the fears that every writer has: is my book worthy of publication? I have no doubt that the story is an important one. It’s worth telling of my mother’s transformation from a woman with tremendous insecurities – one who viewed herself primarily as a platform from which her husband and children could fly – to a confident high school teacher capable of dramatically changing the lives of her students. But have I done the story justice?
I’m not a writer by training or career; I majored in civil engineering in school and worked for years in operations. I was a good business writer, able to concisely get my point across. But there’s a huge difference between that and writing a book that reads like a novel. I didn’t start out to do that. I started out to support my mother as she wrote her journal. It just happened.
Along the way, I’ve had a lot of people helping me. Friends read my early efforts and openly shared what touched them and what was boring. I found an editor who was willing to take me on and taught me how to move beyond my mom’s journal that basically said what happened. She encouraged me to instead create entire scenes, complete with characters and setting, as if I were describing a movie script. Then there was the writer friend who shared with me that all writers felt the same insecurities; he said to ignore the devil on my shoulder telling me that my work wasn’t good enough. The trick was to just keep writing.