(This post originally appeared on HerKentucky.)
As many of you know from my very first post on Her Kentucky, I’ve been working on a young adult novel, BETWEEN, for about two years. I wrote it, then re-wrote it, re-wrote it, and re-wrote it again. I’m talking major, beginning-to-end rewrites, not including all the minor revisions I made on those drafts along the way.
Many times, usually about halfway through a rewrite when I realized I had written myself into a corner and couldn’t find a way to make my plot work, I thought about giving up on it.
I’m glad I didn’t.
I decided pretty early in life that I was going to write books. I gave up on that dream several times as I got older. Writing was always something I enjoyed, but I quit looking at it as something I would seriously pursue. I didn’t even really understand how a person got a book published, and when I started looking into it, the whole process seemed so big and terrifying that it just felt too far out of reach for a girl from a tiny town in Kentucky with no publishing connections and no idea of where to start.
One day, I’m going to sit down with my daughters and tell them that. I’m going to explain how I almost let my silly fear of the unknown keep me from doing the one thing I’d known I wanted to do since I was old enough to make up stories. Some dreams might actually be a bit out of reach. (For instance, my goal of marrying Prince Harry is probably not going to happen and might even be slightly creepy at this point. And also I married a pretty stellar fella already.) But other dreams only seem out of reach because you’re told that they’re impractical, or that they’re the kinds of dreams only certain people get to have.
I’m so thankful that I have the kind of family who never said, “This is ridiculous. Grow up.”
This morning, I gave my six-year-old a really long, thought-out speech about how I had wanted to be an author ever since I was a little girl and it’s important to never give up on what you want in life. She looked at me very seriously and said, “Mommy, my dream is to make toys and houses for all my Little Pet Shop animals.”
I nodded, hugged her, and told her to go after it.
No matter what, I want her to know she can be whatever she wants to be. Even a Littlest Pet Shop toy and house designer.