My husband and I have always encouraged our two sons to pursue their dreams. We expressed the importance of ignoring the ‘no’-it-alls who would try to discourage them. We impressed upon them that if ‘it was easy, everyone would do it’.
When the boys were ready to leave for college, Larry said to me, “Now it’s time for you to pursue your own dream of writing for children.”
But the thing is, I’d tried years before, and I’d suffered rejection and its debilitating sidekick, dejection. “It’s too hard,” I answered.
All three of them looked at me and said, “What? Have you been lying to us all these years?”
Because Larry believes projects without deadlines don’t get done, he gave me one: “Take the four years the boys are in college and hit the writing hard. If you’re not published by the time they graduate, I’m not saying you should quit, but if you still feel this way, we’ll re-evaluate the situation.”
So I did. I studied. I wrote. I read. I attended conferences. I revised. Submitted. Wrote more. I ignored the ‘no’-it-alls. (Well, not totally. I cried a lot.) But lo and behold, When A Dragon Moves In was published in 2011…right in between the two dates of our sons’ graduations.
It goes without saying that I couldn’t have embarked on my author journey without my family’s encouragement, support and love. (It’s important to add here that along the way, I have been blessed with writer buddies and critique partners who have become extended family as well.)
But what’s just as important is that they’ve continued to challenge me.
Over the pandemic, I realized that I had neglected a childhood dream. You see, I began to tell my stories even before I knew how to write. I used to draw. I dreamed of being an artist. An illustrator.
But along the way…well, you get the drift.
I know it’s not going to be easy. I’m taking classes through Storyteller Academy and OC Art Studios. I’m studying the masters. I’m spending hours putting in the ‘pencil mileage’ (as one of my brilliant teachers, the uber-talented Larissa Marantz likes to say.)
And once again, I’m bracing myself for the onslaught of ‘no’-it-alls. But I’m ready.
Because once again, I have the encouragement, support and love of my family and friends. I hope I make them proud.
I also hope I make the tinier, toddler version of me proud. After all, it was her idea.