“We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.”
I feel like I’ve just won the lottery. My Debut novel, Pretty Dark Nothing, is being published by Month 9 Books on April 23, 2013 with a sequel due out April 22, 2014
Am I Really Going to Be a?
, I really am.
It’s been two weeks since the deal was announced in the trades and I’m still pinching myself. I can’t tell you how surreal and amazing the last few weeks have been. Like the Woodrow Wilson quote, I have nourished and protected this, nursed it through bad days and after 26 years of dreaming, it’s finally come true.
The dream sparked to life when I was ten. I was sitting in my 7th Grade English class. Insetad of working on my spelling assignment like I was supposed to, I spent the class writing the first chapter of my first novel. I wanted to be a realwith a real book on a real book store shelf. I imagined the smell of the freshly printed pages, and what it would feel like to hold my book in my hands. I wanted it. I spent months working and writing in my notepad. No, you can’t read it, I’ve buried the manuscript in the middle of the desert and it’s gaurded by a three headed dingo. Yeah, it was that aweful.
The years flew by. When you’re that young, it’s hard to hold onto a dream, hard not to get distracted. Life got in the way. So did middle school bullies, hormones, boys, and surviving high school. I channelled my angst in poetry andthat never saw the light of day. The idea of being a published writer became overshadowed by other goals. But no matter how much I pursued other things, writing never left my soul, it haunted me, tapped me on the shoulder every now and then to remind me that was my gift and I shouldn’t waste it.
At the age of 22, I was working as a receptionist for an IT company, unhappy and lost in my life. A magazine had been left on my desk by my boss on her way into her office. Bored, I started flipping through it. I’ll never forget seeing that ad for The. It spoke to me. It dared me to take a chance. I tore out the page and decided it was time to get serious. It was the first step to get myself back on the write path, of really learning the craft, learning discipline, connecting with other writers, and developing confidence so that I could achieve the goal I had set when I was a child.
That was 14 years ago. In that time I’ve written picture books, short stories, poetry, and magazine articles. Some came close to publication, but ultimately, none found a home. Seven years ago, I had an idea for a YA paranormal novel. Writing a full length novel scared the crap out of me. I had never ventured to write anything that long before, but they story, the characters nagged at me, urged me to write. Something clicked. I knew I had finally found my voice. The words poured from me. Euphoric. I was in love with my characters. I worked hard for two years. I wrote draft after draft, polishing and working it until I thought it shined. Then I crossed my fingers and sent it out into the world. After several rejections, an editor with one of the big six asked for the full. I could hardly contain myself. This was it. It had to be. I waited nine months for a decision only to be dissapointed when they ultimately passed.
I felt discouraged. I wanted to cry and scream in frustration. There had been days when I wanted to give up before, but this rejection hurt more than all the others put together. It took me awhile to pick myself up again. But I had a fire in my belly. I couldn’t let go of my dream. I started several other books, but none of them excited me as much as my first one. My main characters wouldn’t let me go. They nagged me, kept me up at night, told me not to give up on them. They wouldn’t be ingnored. I finally gave up and took another look at the manuscript. It had been three years since I’d read through it. I started reworking it. It had potential, but I knew it could be better. I worked harder, I tore the manuscript apart, I threw half of it out and started fresh. I spent eight months rewriting and reworking the entire manuscript. Time to cross my fingers and send it out again. I expected that rejections would come, just as they had before. And then something amazing happened.
On March 2nd 2012, all the dreaming, the rewrites, the determination paid off. I opened my e-mail to an offer. My YA paranormal, Pretty Dark Nothing, had sold in a twoto the amazing Month 9 Books. I couldn’t believe it. I read the e-mail over and over, pinching myself each time. Me? A two book deal? I felt like the luckiest girl on the planet. I thanked the ten year old me for setting that goal 26 years ago. Wow! That’s a long time to carry a dream with you. But I’m here to tell you that it can happen. If you’re willing to work at it, if you’ve got the vision, the passion, the fire in your soul to be a writer, if you can’t imagine doing anything else in the world, your dream will come true. When you least expect it. When you feel like it’s never going to happen, just remember to pick yourself up, get back to your laptop, keep striving for your dream every single day, and don’t let anyone tell you you’ll never get there.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~Confucious
It takes work, vision, passion, determination, persistence, and most of all, it takes patients. I look back over the years and think to myself, why now? What’s different about today than the other times I’ve submitted my work? And I can honestly say that the timing of this opportunity is perfect. I wouldn’t have been ready before. I have never felt so in sync. I love my publisher and feel like we are a perfect fit. My editor is amazing and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I am exactly where I’m meant to be. I’m ready in a way I wouldn’t have been earlier in my life. I’m ready for the work, I’m confident in my craft, I know how and what to sacrifice to feed my passion.
So in the words of Henry David Thoreau – ‘’Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Write on. Live the dream. Never give up.
Has writing always been your dream? How long have you carried it with you?