How many people does it take to write a novel?

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I reached a pretty significant milestone in my dream to publish my first novel. I thought the hard part was over. After all, I'd spent a little more than two years writing, editing, and rewriting the story I was determined to tell. I finally let go of trying to make it perfect, something that was very, very hard to do.

I started out with a single goal in mind: I wanted to see if I could really do what I always wanted to do. I love to read and the idea that I could write a story that would entertain someone else gave me the drive. I knew writing a novel wouldn't be easy but I also had no idea just how hard it would actually be.

The last two years of hard work resulted in a novel of about 55,000 words. I was finally ready to move on to the easy stuff - writing the dedication and the acknowledgements. It's the part I fantasized about. When things got tough, I would imagine myself getting to this point and it always motivated me. Now here I was.

What I didn't know was how hard it would be to write those few words. 

I knew I would dedicate my first novel to my family. So, with a smile on my face, I typed out "For my family" then my eyes filled with tears. No words could convey the deep love and gratitude I have for each and every one of them. So I did what we do in my family - I glossed over the mushy stuff. Will they be able to read between the lines? Will they understand that no matter what goodness shows up in my life, that without them, it would mean nothing?

I moved on to the acknowledgments. I'm not sure how many people read the acknowledgment section in the novels they read. I know I do. I'm sometimes surprised at how long some of them are, going on for several pages. I think to myself, "How many people does it take to write a novel?" 

Never having written an acknowledgment section before prompted me to do an internet search. The advice I read said to keep it short. I was secretly relieved. I'd jump that final hurdle and be done in no time. But just like this entire journey, it wasn't as easy as I thought. 

So many times writing felt like a solitary endeavor. I'd spend hours alone in my office writing, coming out only for another cup of coffee. I'd wake in the middle of the night to scribble down a bit of dialog or a scene that wouldn't let me rest until I captured it. I shut myself away when inspiration hit and wrote until I couldn't write anymore. 

But when I really started to think about it, I realized just how many people I have to thank for helping me reach my goal. Some were easy to recognize - they were the ones that urged me to start writing in the first place, the ones that refused to let me give up, the ones that pushed me to make the story better. But what about the ones that asked me how it was going, the ones that expected me to do what I said I would do, the ones that quietly stood beside me, giving me strength? The list kept growing.

I wrote the acknowledgment section, doing my best to keep it short. My manuscript is now in the hands of the book designer. But now I know just how many people it takes to write a novel and I'm so grateful for each and every one of them.