One of my favorite short poems is “Now We Are Six” by A. A. Milne. For anyone out there who is not familiar with it, it is told from the viewpoint of a six-year-old boy who looks back on his previous five years, and realizes how far he has come.
But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six now and forever.
It makes everyone smile because all adults know that the boy may be as clever as clever in his own eyes, but he has barely started his journey. Now those words make me smile for another reason. I recognize that feeling. It is the same feeling I had when I held the proof copy of my first novel in my hands.
Now I am an author, as clever as clever.
And I will write novels now and forever.
It was a moment of hubris, embarrassing in retrospect, but powerful at the time.
Ask any writer about his or her first novel—not the first published novel, but the first novel (s)he ever wrote. I’m sure most of them will laugh and say little more. The novel that gave me my moment of triumph was not the first novel I wrote, but the first one that went out into the world. My moment of triumph lasted for several days until one of my best friends called to tell me what a great book it was…and to point out that I was really fond of run-on sentences. That let the air out of my balloon.
That was many years ago, and I have since consumed many books, blogs, courses, and workshops about writing. I continue to write, and deep inside I think every book is better than the ones before it. Whether or not my books are better, I will continue to learn and sharpen my craft.
I no longer think I’m as clever as clever, but I’m working on it.
Dixiane Hallaj lives in Virginia with her husband of 54 years and is the author of four novels and half a dozen published short stories. She currently produces the Short & Helpful Online Writer Workshops.http://ShortandHelpfulOnlineWriterWorkShops.com
http://ShortandHelpfulOnlineWriterWorkShops.com or http://showws.com
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