|Me at 17|
For the past few years, there's been a nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I have yet to publish a novel and I'm not getting any younger. For awhile, I was able to momentarily silence that voice, but it's starting to get louder and louder lately. Never mind that I have experienced success in the freelance writing world, won awards for my writing and interviewed hundreds of expert sources on a number of different subjects. I can hear the voice of my senior English teacher, asking me to dedicate my first book to her, and it makes me hang my head in shame because I haven't done it yet. I haven't been working hard enough toward my goals and I know it. There are days when I wimp out and tell myself that I'm probably too old to keep pursuing this particular dream.
My heart sank when I realized the weekend of my reunion is the same weekend as the Carolinas SCBWI Conference, which I registered for months ago. I've signed up for an intensive workshop on using imagery and metaphors in my writing and purchased two critiques for the first 10 pages of my YA novel. I was pretty down for a few days. After all, this is the conference where I got a pretty harsh critique on this very same book last year and I really would love to see some of the classmates I haven't seen since high school graduation.
Then I happened to get on Facebook and read a great inspirational post by author Jessica Bell. She shared the story of getting dismissed by a publisher who basically told her she was kidding herself if she ever thought she would be an author. But--and this is the thing that struck me--she kept on, eventually building a great career for herself as an author, editor and literary magazine publisher.
"If you want something, LEARN IT. BELIEVE IN IT. DO IT," she said.
So as much as I would like to make the drive and spend the day with my old friends, I had to decline the invitation. I told them, that I'm sorry, but I'm still chasing my dream of becoming a published children's author and have a conference to attend instead. And I still have a lot of work to do.
Maybe by the next reunion, I'll have a book to share with them.
Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer who also works as a Blog Tour Manager for WOW! Women on Writing. Visit her website at www.finishedpages.com.