About four years ago I was upstairs sitting on my bed reading a book when my two daughters stormed into the room. Lydia would have been about 8 and Catherine would have been 6 at the time. Their hands were on their hips and they both looked very serious. Then I heard it.
“Mommy, you’re a liar.”
I don’t remember which one said it. I just remember being startled by such a comment coming from my usually amiable little girls.
“What do you mean, I’m a liar?” I really had no clue what they were talking about.
“You always tell us that we can be whatever we want to be when we grow up, but if that was true you’d be a writer, so that means you’re a liar.”
I decided in that moment that I could either provide them with a long list of completely legitimate reasons why it hadn’t happened (almost all related to the need for me to have a sustainable income) or I could remind them that just because it hadn’t happened yet didn’t mean that it wouldn’t. I opted for the latter of the two and so began my journey to prove to my daughters that I wasn’t a liar and, more importantly, that achieving a goal or dream doesn’t just magically happen. It takes hard work, time, and patience.
So, for the next few months my daughters watched me as I began to plot out and write a children’s chapter book. My oldest would just sit there for hours beaming, watching me as I typed, while the little one mostly bounced around like a crazy fool.
It took about four months to complete the first draft. As soon as it was printed I handed it to Lydia, who was an obsessive reader at the time, and she flew upstairs to her room while I anxiously waited downstairs for her reaction.
I can’t describe how I felt when I heard her laughing, and I don’t mean the ‘oh ha-ha’ laughing, I mean the laugh out loud hysterical type of laughing. It was confirmation that I had met my goal of writing something that was fun and would make kids laugh, which I think kids could use to do more of in today’s society. When Catherine read it, her reaction was the same.
Since then, the girls have watched me go through the emotional roller coaster of trying to get published. I’ve had lots of ups and downs throughout this journey and with each one has come lessons for all of us, particularly that of perseverance.
My hope of seeing this particular book published when it is still relevant for them as readers has passed, but I’m not going to fret about it. It’s gone through several revisions and edits since the girls first read it and I’m optimistic that it will find its way onto a bookshelf and into the hands of a child who is maybe having a bad day and needs a good laugh. I’m also fairly confident that whenever that happens, they’ll still be proud of their mom, even if they refuse to admit it and I hope, if nothing else, it will give them the courage to follow their passion.
I’ve continued to write and have also completed two picture book manuscripts and have started working quite seriously on a middle grade fantasy and an adult fiction novel. I also have several others in development that distract me from what I’m ‘supposed to be working on’ from time to time.
I guess being called a liar isn’t always a bad thing.