I’m feeling a bit reflective tonight, perhaps because of A Single Swim coming out and the stories it entails, so I wanted to take a moment to think back on my own dreams and journey. And I just feel like writing something that isn’t a novel.
From the time I was a kid I dreamed of being a writer and editor. I wanted to own my own literary agency called Second Star Books (yes, my love for Peter Pan started young) to help aspiring authors. Of course, at the time I didn’t realize how much help I
would need to get started – and hell, still need even though I (kinda) know what I’m doing.
I got my start with super-dramatic teenage angst poetry, then branched off into short stories that were a mix of weird and dark and just plain lame. I remember, at age 12 or so, writing my first official book inspired by The Neverending Story and told my mom it would be the next best-seller (it wasn’t, it was an awful book). But even after suffering through all thirty pages of it, Mom then printed out the story, helped me research publishing companies, and mailed off a query to one of the Big Six. Unsolicited, of course, because that’s how we roll J
Of course, it was rejected, and I was thoroughly bummed. But it didn’t matter. Mom believed in me, and that was all I needed to keep writing. Others told me it couldn’t be done, that I’d never be published, that I was too young, pipe dreams were just pipe dreams – the same words most authors have heard at some point in their own journey. But Mom? Those words never left her lips. Maybe she thought them, but to me, she was the inspiration and motivation I needed to gain confidence in my work.
Looking back on all those years, I realize even more so now that Mom was the common thread. I needed 1,000 pieces of paper and $50 in ink to print my books? She drove me to the store. I needed someone to give up their weekend to help me man my booth at an event? She was the first to volunteer. I needed someone to call the radio station to book an interview because I’m too chicken to call strangers? She picked up the phone with only a single eye roll. She was the one who started it all, and the more she believed in me, so too did others.
Of course, this is not to say that no one else ever believed in my writing dreams. My family, my husband, all were by my side every step of the way. Without them, I’d still be a kid just slapping away at the keyboard. But Mom, she was the one who believed enough in the dream to help make it come true. Some 12 novels later, I like to think it’s been a joint effort.
Mom, I was nice and posted the smiling pic from this night, not the one with our less-than-flattering faces 😉
But that dream’s not over yet. After all, Second Star is yet to be opened! I am one step closer though. Over the years that dream shifted a bit to include starting my own editing business, considering how much of a grammar nerd I am. I mean, I read grammar rules for fun. That can’t be normal.
The idea of starting a business is daunting, especially for someone as lazy as myself, and it wasn’t until I met my husband that I even saw how it could be done. He runs a business that grows each year, and I get a front-row view of what it takes to make a company work. The idea for Red Road Editing rolled around in my head for a long time. I talked about it to people, got ideas, but never knew where to start.
All it took was one person, and I will be thankful to her forever. Friend and fellow author Sarah M. Ross asked me to re-edit one of her previously published novels,
recommended me to other authors when I was done, and in less than a year I had a steady and growing list of clients. Sarah was the first to believe in me, knowing me really only from the local events we attended together. She took me at my word that I wasn’t just some weirdo who wanted to take her money and run for the hills. Instead, she welcomed me into her group (that included the lovely Tiffany King, Raine Thomas, and Carol and Adam Kunz), and, while she probably never even realized it then or now, gave me the encouragement I needed to fulfill my dream.
It amazes me that sometimes all it really takes is that one person. Maybe it’s your mom, sister, best friend, spouse, or someone in the industry who just needed a second pair of eyes on her book. It doesn’t really matter who it is. If the person listens to you, looks past the surface to see what you’re truly capable of, gets as excited about seeing you achieve your dreams as you are going after them, then they can completely change your world.
I’d like to think that one day I can be that person to someone else.