It seems fitting to put up this post on the last day of November, a month generally associated with being thankful for the people and blessings and opportunities in our lives. I have so much to be thankful for this year I cannot even begin to tell you. As I bask in the afterglow of the last few days' events, I would like to take a moment to give thanks and reflect on what I've come to know as truth.
BE THANKFUL FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
My family, and many of my friends, were there when my journey as a writer began, and they will be there with me until the end. It began with my Mom, who at age three, helped me write the words that I dictated for my very first book, "The Cat and the Mouse Who Were Friends." I supplied the illustrations, and went on from there to spend many a play-date, forcing my friends to sit at the table in my room with a stack of paper and pens "writing books." My oldest friend Ilene and I used to have sleepovers where we would stay up late and play a game called "Book Titles," where we would make lists of titles and essentially pitch the stories to each other. My classmates in elementary school were some of my earliest cheerleaders, listening with rapt attention as I read my stories aloud in Creative Writing, or "ordering" the books I'd write from my handmade catalogs that mimicked the ones we would get from Scholastic book orders. My parents, who gave me my first typewriter, and later, a computer. And in the years since, my cheerleading squad has grown to include new friends who tirelessly read my work with red pen in hand, brought me baked goods, chocolate bars and took me out for coffee when I was feeling like it would never happen, and some whom I have never met in person but no matter because they knew just the right things to say, and meant them sincerely. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Shelli Cornelison!) Remember who was there in the beginning, before "the call", before "the deal", and cherish them. People who continue to believe in you, even when you are filled with self-doubt as is par for the course, are worth gold.
HAVE FAITH IN THE UNIVERSE
You can't have a dream come true if you don't have a dream. Words and thoughts have power, and if you hold fast to your dream and persevere with patience and determination, you can reach your goal. The end result may be different than what you envisioned, or even on a different timeline than you'd hoped, but I do believe everything happens for a reason. Often, when we reflect, all the pieces and speed bumps of the past make sense in retrospect. Be grateful and thankful for every speed bump, hiccup, criticism, road block, detour and failure. They helped shape who you are right this very moment, and have faith that these things are ultimately responsible for making you a stronger and better writer and human being.
PAY IT FORWARD
Everyone would like to be successful and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Too many, however, when they feel that first glimmer of success, forget that not that long ago, they were also someone struggling to make it all come together and happen. If you find yourself fortunate enough to be in the position of achieving success in your chosen venture, always remember the importance of paying it forward. Mentoring and being there for someone else is the greatest reward of all (see first paragraph about the importance of cheerleaders!). I am eternally grateful and thankful to every single person I have met since the day I first put pen to paper who took the time to give me feedback, criticism, referrals, and the time of day. I know, without question, that what happened for me the other day would NEVER have happened without that. Besides, it's good karma :)
Good things come to those who wait. The delay is never the denial. All that good stuff. Annoying as hell, yes, but true nonetheless.
It's so easy to get so caught up in the whole process of making it happen that it's easy to forget to exhale. Writing, while exhilarating, can be stressful. What's my word count? Is there enough plot/action? And then querying and writing a synopsis. And then waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more. Enjoy it. Enjoy every moment, every piece, for each has its own unique experience to savor. If this is what you feel you were born to do, then know and have faith this is part of the process. Everything in its due time. Breathe in, breathe out.
Hope you take a moment to give thanks to those who are supporting you along your way, and to the universe for everything you experience. And thanks to you for taking the time to follow my journey!