Many people are under the impression that authors write because they want to be famous. This is true in some cases. However, that isn’t always the case. Some do it to supplement their income. Others do it just for the joy of writing. Many do it because they feel they have something to share. For me, the reason I write is personal.
Growing up, I was told I could do anything I set my mind to. But each time I made a decision on what kind of career to pursue, someone in my life told me why I shouldn’t.
“You can’t go to school for journalism. No daughter of mine is going to be a filthy liar for a living.”
“I think becoming a radio D.J. is a bad idea. There’s no future in it.”
“You’ll join the military over my dead body.”
“You want to go to school to study literature? There’s no money in that. You need to be more realistic in your goals. Dreams don’t pay the bills.”
You get the point.
So, for years I went along with all of it and did what was expected of me. I went back to college and earned a degree in business. Any love of writing that I had left in me went dormant. I went about raising my daughters and going through my 9 to 5 days as if nothing was amiss.
And then in 2009, something happened that changed my life. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the start of something amazing. Something big. Humongous.
I lost my job.
So there I was. No job and no way to help support my family. I tried to find a new job, but it was tough out there. I became withdrawn thinking I had disappointed my children and my husband. I cried almost daily and couldn’t get out bed. But after a few months, I discovered something that consistently seemed to cheer me up.
At the time, the Harry Potter movies (at least the ones I owned up to that point on DVD) played 24/7 in my bedroom. I watched them over and over – and over and over and over. They made me smile. They gave me hope. And they gave me an idea.
I pulled out my husband’s old laptop and just began to type. I’m not sure where the words came from, or the story for that matter, but they started to flow nonetheless. It began to develop into a narrative about a girl who discovered an ancient secret that was handed down from mother to daughter. Her newfound powers were to be used to save the world and her family. And since my oldest daughter’s birthday was coming up, I decided that I would finish it and give to her as a birthday gift.
When I finished, I thought the story was brilliant.
Looking back, the story was crap.
But I wrote it. I wrote every single word. I poured my heart and soul into the story, and in the end I dusted away any of the cobwebs that had gathered in my brain throughout the years. My juices began to flow and I wrote another book. Then another, and another, and another.
And then those same people who discouraged my dreams early in life came back and said all the same things.
“You can’t make any money writing books.”
“So after you write this book and get it out of your system, are you going to quit writing and get a real job?”
“Don’t you think your time would be better served cleaning your messy house than writing books? It’s not like you’ll ever be famous.”
But this time, I didn’t listen. I smiled politely and walked away.
Why did I continue to write? It wasn’t necessarily to become famous, or make a lot of money, or even to get noticed – although those are all nice goals.
It was because I’m not just an author. I’m also a mother to three amazing young ladies. They look to me for guidance in life – a role model to show them how life should be lived. And what kind of role model would I be if I gave up on my dream?
“Don’t do as I do. Do as I say.” I heard it a lot growing up – almost daily. But as the years passed, I realized that it was some of the worst advice anyone could have ever given me. Actions speak far louder than words. My daughters look to me to learn how to deal with life’s situations through my actions and reactions. Because – come on – let’s get real. How often do our kids really hear what we have to say?
I write because I want to show them that following your dreams isn’t folly. It’s important. It’s the dreamers in this world that have given us movies, books, music, television shows, new medicines, prosthetics, art, and a whole slew of other things that are important in this life. Einstein was a dreamer as was Edgar Allen Poe. They all dreamed of giving the world something we’d never seen before. Where would we be if they had given up?
My daughters need to know that failure happens. People fail every day. But if you get up each time, dust yourself off, and keep moving you haven’t truly failed. The only time you really fail is if you stop trying.
I have one daughter who dreams of one day working in TV, film, or Broadway as a make-up artist. I have another daughter who wants to become a pastry chef. Neither of these are “practical” goals. Some might even say they’re unrealistic or impractical. But why should that stop them from following their dreams?
So I continue to write – push ahead – improve my craft in an effort to make my children proud and show them how to succeed in life through example. I don’t need to be famous. I don’t need to make a million dollars. I only need to show them my resolve, and then maybe…just maybe…one day I can show them how that hard work pays off.