I've been a writer my entire life. When I was a little girl, I kept a journal. I wrote in journals throughout college. I poured out my heart in them— half the time, filling them with daydreams and wishes penned in bright pink ink. I became a journalist so that I could write for a living. It's amazing to be rewarded for something you love to do. And I loved writing. Loved it.
When my first son was born, I had an itch to write something for him. A love letter of sorts. Writing was what I did best, and I felt I could give the best part of myself to my child if I wrote stories that he could love. I wrote two books that year. Great books. I just knew that within a few months I'd be a published author, and my stories would become vividly illustrated, tangible books that I could read to my little boy at bedtime. Brightly colored books that he could thumb through and adore. But boy, was I wrong.
About a year after writing my first book, I finally got some positive feedback from a well-known publishing company in New York. A wonderful editor took the time to write notes on my manuscript and correspond with me. This was it! I just knew it! She proposed my book to her editorial board, and then..... rejection.
I felt the sting of rejection for the next seven years... I joked with my husband that I was saving all of the rejection letters to wallpaper our home office. Though I laughed at the thought, the constant rejection became daunting. So I quit writing new manuscripts. I became lazy in sending the old ones out. I became jaded by the entire process.
I quickly discovered that writers who don't have agents aren't as enticing as those who do. Most publishing companies won't even accept a manuscript from a writer who doesn't have an agent. And, sadly, most agents won't take on an unpublished author. It's a frustrating lose-lose scenario.
I write all of this not to garner pity, but to let you know that there is a whole slew of writing — great writing — out there that isn't being read. An amazing bunch of authors are producing valuable work but their voice never will be heard because they aren't famous or don't have agents. As a writer, it's discouraging, and as a mother it's disappointing because if all deserving authors had a voice, my children would reap the benefits of their work.
I decided today that I am not going to give up. My work is relevant. I'm going to teach my children that when they aren't being heard, it's important to speak louder.
I encourage all of you (if you're out there) to pick up your passion again if you've also given up. Don't give up on yourself. Set a good example so that your little ones will have great footsteps to follow. That's exactly what I plan to do.
Operation Publication shall now commence!!