Call it ambition, call it goals—I call it a journey. I will chronicle it here for it’s one I hope to complete before long. The mission? To be independent of the 9-5 grind, to be able to live and work anywhere in the world, and to speak to others with my writing.
The first step on this journey was when I rediscovered my love of writing. I turned thirty and realized that my desire to craft stories could lie dormant no longer. For years, I had been told I should write my own story of European adventures and romance so I decided I'd start there. Of course, the storyteller in me couldn't help but fictionalize the events, the place, and eventually even the storyline. Over a year went by and the story morphed again and again. I was learning so much, and enjoying the process that allowed me the release only a creative outlet could. But the irony was frustrating: my OCD tendencies kept me from moving past the errors and glaring plot line fails, so I got only so far with the first, while my ADD tendencies couldn't handle sticking with the one project for so long, thus I started more and more pieces, never completing anything. Until, the summer of 2016.
An idea for a children's book I'd been pushing down surfaced for air and out came the first half of The Traveling Gnome. Life interrupted again and again, but I managed to finish the first draft by February of 2017. What a rush! Instant social media status updates commemorated the event—I'll never forget the feeling. I revised it a few times and asked my beta reader friends and family to read it. It seemed to please everyone (thrilling!), so when the opportunity arose for my son's third-grade teacher to read it to her class, I was thrilled. Through the spring, she read it faithfully every week until they were finished. At the end of their time with the book, she asked me to come in for a chat as the kids were so excited to meet me, a real author of a book they'd read. What? I was so honored. I brought in my little garden gnome statue and talked with the kids, answering their questions about Alfie's backstory and discussing the writing process. As a finishing touch, truly the cherry on top of the experience, the kids all gave me a picture they had drawn of Alfie. Each one depicted the kids' interpretations of what Alfie, the gnome looks like. Oh, my goodness! So sweet.
The responses I received filled me with the courage I needed to start submitting my manuscript to literary agents. I knew that I would need help in selling the book. I submitted to three different top children's book agents and was promptly rejected three times. Since then, I've only submitted once more and haven't heard back at all. I am preparing to submit to more agents again and also to a few publishers directly. I know it will take time, therefore, I will be patient! And you'll just have to be patient right along with me!