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OCPFWW--Pronounced "AKH-pfuu-wahh"

You'd think that spending two weeks in a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Lincoln City, Oregon would be restful; relaxing even.

You'd think that being bundled up with twelve other writers (a handful of whom were published novelists)would be intimidating.

You'd think that, being shown the difficulty of the road ahead for an aspiring professional writer would be disheartening.

You'd be wrong.
As was I.

Understand, I hate rewriting. It's my curse. Sitting at the keyboard and pounding and creating and forming the worlds that exist in my mind, this is the ultimate rush. To tell a story devoid of worry that my writing is "artistic," or stylistic or any other damned thing is exactly what my heart craves. To know that I write on a professional level and I'm not really just kidding myself would be a blessing.

All these difficulties were solved.
And within the first three days of the two-week workshop, to boot.

My writing was tested, pulled apart, shoved under a microscope and examined by one of the best fiction editors on the planet in order to discover the holes in my writing ability.

I was told that I have none. I was told that the only thing standing in the way of a successful fiction writing career was . . .well, me. I was told this by someone who had no reason to tell me otherwise, and who didn't tell that to everyone.

I am a professional writer. I write at that level.

Can you imagine, for a moment, what that's like? To be told that your dream is in front of you if you want to take it? To have a major New York book editor tell you that she liked your novel proposal, but it's probably a novella, but that I should write it and send it to Gardner immediately? To have same editor tell you that a good book editor can help you convert your novella into novel form, and by the way, that's how she got to work with another writer who's now on the second book of a series based off a novella?

I know how to write multiple books in a year.

I know how to write from my subconscious without my asshole critical voice getting in the way.

I knew none of these things three weeks ago.

Life-altering experience?

You could say that.

Cloud nine isn't high enough, I'm afraid.

Thank you to everyone who supported my decision along the way. I owe you a debt of gratitude, and I pay my debts. (Well, those kind at least.)

Amber, Ray and Dennis: Thank you so much for looking out for my lovely wife Catherine while I was away. Cameron, thanks for checking in with her every so often to see if she needed anything.

Look out world. Here I come. Try as you might, you won't stop me.

Life is good.

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of The Abyss.

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