On this particular Saturday I am reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for, and the odd turns our dreams can sometimes take.
I first dreamed of being a published author when I was eight-years-old. I sat down on the living room floor and started a book about the stars. I was – heck, I still am – an astronomy buff, and I was so excited to share what I knew. However, I realized after two sentences that I didn’t know much. I put the notebook and pencil down and distracted myself with other things.
The dream rekindled when I was thirteen and living on the other side of the country. I laid on my bed, staring up at the bottom of the bunk above me. As my sister slept and my body rested from the busy-ness of a day spent outdoors (we actually went outside to play in those days), I dreamed of writing a novel. It occurred to me that if I wrote fiction I didn’t really have to know anything. I could make it up. The possibilities were endless. I fell asleep that night dreaming of those possibilities.
Twenty-three years later I’ve finally seen that dream come to pass. I’ve written multiple books over the years, and I’ve finally published one of them.
I was right about one thing: the possibilities are endless. But those possibilities are wrapped in the knowledge that comes from life experiences. I was wrong in thinking I didn’t have to know anything to write fiction. You have to know a lot to write, even when you’re making it all up. Shores of Redemption taught me that.
I spent the last two decades soaking up all of life’s adventures – heartache, success, tragedy, laughter and tears – and my only way to sort it all out was to spin it into fiction. It gives purpose to it all somehow; my therapy written down in a form I can pick apart and dissect. Maybe it’ll even matter to someone else.
Seeing this dream unfold is surreal. It’s much different than I thought it would be. More tame, and even a bit anti-climactic. There is no million dollar book deal, no fans lined up to get my autograph. It’s so much more than that…the culmination of years of struggle, both on and off the page, and a realization that it’s not just about me sitting at my keyboard typing away. It’s about the people I can reach through my work.
Writing and publishing a novel is much more common now than it was when I was thirteen and lying on my bottom bunk. But a common adventure doesn’t make it any less exciting. I’ve given up my hope of becoming famous and I’ve learned to appreciate the journey as its own reward.
Perhaps that is the greatest thing I’ve learned through all of this.
In the end, I’d rather have a journey worth writing about, over a destination attained without the struggle.