This Thanksgiving finds me reflecting on the past year and my budding writing career. My writing life has been a lot like this swinging bridge. A little dark on the outside with a shaky path to walk. With the encouragement of some wonderful writer friends, I took the plunge and submitted two manuscripts to publishers and agents.
The first rejection email hurt. I won’t lie. I cried. How could they not love my “baby” as much I did? My writing friends were there for me. These wonderful authors have been there, done that and shared my pain of rejection. They were also loving enough to tell me to quit whining, put my big girl panties on, deal with it and move on. So I did what they suggested.
I persevered. I worked hard. I took classes. I entered contests. I pitched. And I wrote. Every. Damn. Day. Even if it was only one sentence that was deleted the next day. I’m still learning my craft. I will never perfect it. Trust me, my first drafts are crap. That’s where my wonderful critique partners step in to help and my agent offers areas to tweak.
On this path to being an author I’ve met strangers whom I now consider to be good friends. Their love and encouragement through the rejections and the long waiting periods have sustained me. My family has been supportive, if a bit surprised, by my choice to pursue writing seriously. My husband has picked up my slack on the home front as I pursue this second career and has become an excellent cook. (win/win for me)
So in summary, I encourage anyone starting out on this journey, believe in your dreams. Without them, why live? The path might rock and roll, making you fear failure, but hang on and reach out to other writers. We’ve been there. Keep your eyes at the end, don’t look down, and only look back to see how far you’ve come.
I truly believe this. As a small child my favorite time of day was bedtime when my my mom or dad would read to me. My mother read the fairy tales, my father read Dr. Seuss. There was nothing better than snuggling up and listening as they opened up new worlds for me. My sister and I considered it a treat to go to the library. This love of books was instilled early and remains strong. I still consider myself to be a reader first, writer second. Books are my escape from the drudgery/hardships day-to-day living can sometimes bring.
When I became pregnant, I was determined my child would also be a reader. I began reading out loud to her even before she was born. I admit sometimes the reading material might have been questionable. While pregnant I developed a strange fascination with true crime books, but I’ll let my daughter’s future therapist work that out later. After my daughter was born, I read to her every day. Usually it was a children’s book, but sometimes it was a recipe, or a week old newspaper read through sleep deprived eyes. As she grew older and entered the “gimme” stage, she knew she couldn’t ask for toys or candy in a store, but a book? Yes. If I had the money and she asked, I’d buy her a book.
She fell in love with The American Girl stories and I saved and bought her the expensive dolls and struggled making their clothes. (I’m not a seamstress and almost failed home ec). She started school and difficulties arose. She had a wonderful teacher, but my daughter didn’t “catch on.” Getting her to read was a daily struggle and I admit, sometimes a battle. How could this be? I’d read to her since before she was born! She loved books!
As you can guess, she was diagnosed with a learning disability. But my husband and I continued to read to her. We still took her to the library and rewarded her for trying to read. Any book she wanted, she got it. And then a miracle happened. She picked up J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and my daughter became a reader. Then she devoured Stephanie Meyers Twilight Series and every Sookie Stackhouse book written by Charlaine Harris. My darling daughter is grown, living on her own. She doesn’t watch much television because she’d rather read. Read to your children!
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