So here I am, writing an entry for Friday Speak Out, not feeling very qualified but nevertheless thought I would give it a shot. As a pre-published writer of picture books, I am guilty of holding back. I battle with that little voice that taunts me— I’m not good enough, too old, not qualified, lacking the education, etc., etc. But, lucky for me, I’m stubborn as all get out. When I want something, badly, really really badly, I may just never quit. And I think that’s the mentality writers have to have. It’s knowing that you write because it’s just who you are.
On the flip side of this, I make it a practice to envision the feeling of being published, visualizing one of my stories becoming a reality and seeing it sitting on the bookshelf all shiny, new and magical! I feel awestruck by lively illustrations, but more than that, I feel moved by the expressions of the young reader. That’s really what drives me—envisioning that smile on an eager face, wide eyes immersing a child, laughter, touching a heart. Making that connection, that’s where it’s at for me.
So I’ve kicked off the New Year by doing a few things. Getting better acquainted with Twitter. It’s a great place to find info and opportunities with other writers, agents and editors. I’ve also put together a dream board, something I have always wanted to do but never seem to have the time (I used Oprah’s online app—fun and easy, mine’s here at kz2014). More importantly, I have gotten over my fear of being seen. Isn’t that odd? To be afraid of being seen? But it’s a real fear for many of us who perhaps are shifting gears mid-life to embrace the writer in us. Our friends and family may not know this part of us. It can be scary to show it to them. We all know people who would just assume squash you like a bug rather than see you shine. Keep yourself away from negative people, from the naysayers.
As women, we often put our dreams aside. I like to think that our dreams, however, never forget about us. Whatever your dream is, protect it, embrace it! Show up in life as your authentic self. Someone else might just be waiting for your inspiration, your example.
So what does all this mean? For me, it means I keep writing, keep working at my craft, keep connecting with others, finding blogs, contests, webinars, workshops. SCBWI has been a great professional group to be a part of. My writer’s group is a place to be seen, to be heard, to be vulnerable. I actively seek out my ‘tribe’. All of these things add fuel to my fire, driving my passion and improving my writing, and help me push forward. Will I make it to publication? Anyone’s guess. But I know I may never quit. Because at the end of the day, it’s just who I am.
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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!