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  • Writer's pictureDouglas James Troxell

Nine-Year Writerversary

Every June, I celebrate my “Writerversary,” the anniversary of the day I set off on my mission to become a published author. I’ve wanted to publish a book since I was ten years old. That was when I wrote my first book. It was called “Sideway Stories from Peters Elementary” and was a blatant rip-off of “Sideway Stories from Wayside School” by Louis Sachar. Each chapter was a silly story about one of my classmates as the main character. I never finished it, but I remember loving that feeling of creation.

I completed my first novel at the age of 17. I printed out copies of the book and sold them to my classmates in high school. I sold 15 copies and ended up losing $60 after failing to take into account the high price of ink cartridges.

Now I’m 35. I’ve published nearly 20 short stories, but a published novel still eludes me. Back in 2010 when I decided to make writing a serious part of my life by vowing to write every single day, I was a year into my marriage, I had no children, and I was still a wide-eyed teacher a few years into my teaching career. Nine years later, Cindy and I just celebrated our ten-year anniversary, we have two kids (a seven and four-year old), and I’m a grizzled classroom veteran of 13 years. I’ve written every single day for 3,318 days and I’ve written over 9000 hours in the past nine years. A lot has happened in the past nine years.

But I still don’t have a published novel.

Sometimes I dread my writerversaries because instead of focusing on the things I have accomplished, I can’t stop myself from focusing on what I haven’t. This one, in particular, was painful because in a year I’ll be at this writing thing for ten years. I’ll top 10,000 writing hours at some point in 2020.

But I still don’t have a published novel.

Sometimes I think how easy it would be to give up. To quit. To just let life wash over me and watch the writer in me drown. It would be so simple. All I would have to do is go an entire 24 hours without writing. Then one day would become two. Two days would become a week, a week would become a month, and then a month would become a year. And it would be over. I wouldn’t be a writer anymore. I would be free of it.

But I know I can’t do that. I’m not finished yet. I can’t walk away from something I feel passionate about without feeling like I did everything in my power to reach my goal. If it takes a decade to get the job done, then so be it. So I will continue. In Hannibal’s words, “I will either find a way…or make one.”

The journey continues.

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