I’d like to start today, February 6, 2007, with this quote:
“Everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
The journey that resulted in today’s official publication of GOOD THINGS: A NOVEL, started over 30 years ago. That journey has been marked by fits and starts, surges and lulls. Finite moments of exhilaration, but more commonly, disappointing moments of self-sabotage, occasional jealousy, and huge bouts of self-doubt. I could have all the great stories of the world to tell, but if they remained tucked in my desk, my computer, or my mind, the dream of calling myself a published author would never come to pass.
For someone who considers herself a go-getter, a self-starter, and, at times, an optimist, I always knew this day would come. But it was about four years ago when I realized that if I wanted to do it, really wanted it, I needed to set that goal and just do it. Now. Write a novel, find an agent, find a publisher, and let it go. It’s never too late. I had to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t going to be perfect, there were going to be errors, and it probably wasn’t going to be the Great American Novel. There would be readers and critics who would hate it. I might even hate it. But I still needed to do it.
And guess what? It isn’t perfect, there are errors, and it’s not the Great American Novel. But there are readers and critics who love it. I received my first piece of fan mail today, an email from a woman who picked up my book over the weekend at Barnes & Noble, read it, and loved it so much that she emailed me to ask me about my next book. Someone I don’t know, who didn’t give birth to me or have any relationship to me by blood or marriage, loved it. Even if she just liked it I would have been happy enough, but she loved it. Huh. Wow. Thank you. Really. I mean this from the bottom of my heart.
So today’s special post is for everyone out there, those of you who are waiting for your first publication day, even if you don’t yet have a publisher, or an agent, or even a finished manuscript. Don’t worry about what you did or didn’t do in the past; decide what you want in your future. Start with where you are, and keep going. Don’t let yourself stop for too long, because when you do, all the self-doubt starts up again, like weeds in a beautiful garden. You plant your garden, you keep it clear of weeds, and you just let it grow. You can’t control the weather – that’s completely out of your hands. You do your best to tend to this garden, and chances are, it’ll just bloom into something beautiful.
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