One of the most important jobs we can do as writers is inspire others. It doesn't matter whether you're on the best sellers list making millions or struggling through your first novel, as long as you're moving toward your dream you can be an inspiration.
I wrote my first novel in 1991. My husband was very ill, I worked full-time and we were raising five children. Harlequin was running a promotion, something like "So you think you can write" and I sent away for the free tapes. I borrowed my friends word processor and jumped in, often staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning at my little desk in our bedroom. Times were tough, stress was immeasurable and my characters took my mind off my own problems. At that time, everything was hard copy, so I printed off my manuscript and sent it of to Ontario with return postage.
While I waited for a reply, my husband had heart surgery to have a mechanical valve put into his aorta, my life returned to semi-normal and I kept writing, listening to him tick like a clock in the dark hours before dawn. I was about half way through with my second book when I got a reply from an editor. It was a personal letter, somewhat unusual for you first submission, or so I've been told. She said the reader like it, but she (the editor) thought it was "too episodic". Even today, I have no idea what that means, and I've asked many authors. She suggested some changes, but I really didn't know what to change, so I packed up my books, sent them to the attic, returned the word processor and buried my dreams. A few weeks later I received another letter asking if I was working on anything else. I wasn't, not anymore. It was over and I figured writing got me through some pretty dark days so I was thankful for that.
My kids grew up, got married, had kids of their own and I retired. It wasn't until 2012 that I thought about those books and wondered if now that I had more time I might be able to do something with them. I asked my sons to go up and see if they were still there, and lo and behold they were. Now I have eight book out and another ready to go.
I often wonder if I would have given up so easily, if I had someone to cheer me on, or where I might be today had I kept writing. I'll never know, but one thing is certain, I will always encourage and support other writers in any way that I can. No one should give up on their dreams. I haven't 'made' it. I'll never be rich in anything but pride and the personal satisfaction of knowing that I'm finally doing something I've always dreamed of.
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