I love when I finish the first draft of stories. In this case, I managed to finish up the first draft of the commission at 12,192 words. The word count is less important, as long as I reached the minimum of 10,000 words. Joys of being paid by the word, but I also reserve the right to go over when I think it is appropriate. Most of the time, I usually give them 10-20% more because the story needs it, but there are times when I almost double the length of a story, just because I need to the story out.
This commission is a good story, I think. But, it makes me feel really great when I can finish that first draft and check it into Subversion for an off-site backup. I'll let it sit for a day or so, then clean up the bad English and smooth out some of the sentences before sending it over for review.
This is what makes me feel like a "real" writer. It is crude, writing for money, but it still feels good because I'm creating stories. I love taking someone else's idea and wrapping it into something polished. Putting my spin on it and knowing that they'll be reading something familiar and strange at the same time when they get my PDF. And the emotions they put into making the request, and the anticipation of seeing it in their mail box, will make it so much more intense when they read it. These stories aren't for sitting on a shelf at Walmart or in a grand bookstore. They are creations that are written for one person and one person only. And it will, at least in part, fulfill only one person's dreams.
I have to say, that is a "real" writer to me. Someone who can make a fantasy become just a bit more real for someone. Yes, it hasn't made me famous or rich. Actually, it is also easier. I don't have to please agents, publishers, and buyers. I just have to please one person at a time. While I'd love to inspire the fantasies of thousands, or tens of thousands, like the writers of my goals, I'm perfectly happy to do it one person at a time.
Now, just to get to the point where I always feel like a "real" writer. Instead of this flash of emotional high that, like all drugs, passes way too fast.