In the past year of publishing “rookie-dom,” I’ve grown accustomed to walking blindly into new situations. And last year, from my first edit letter, to my last round of revisions—there were a lot of them.
Now my debut year is finally here, and once again, I’ll be stepping into moments that take me several strides from my comfort zone. But that’s usually where the good stuff happens–when we reach past our usual, everyday boundaries, and stretch toward something new. Something different. Maybe even something we can’t see clearly.
I believe strongly in painting a clear picture of my dreams and aspirations. I’ve filled cork boards with pictures and words torn from magazines, and have lists of goals etched in journals. They’ve served as touchstones over the years, keeping me on course, driving me past weariness and discouragement.
Reminding me to reach.
I’m currently at work on Book Two in the FLASHFALL series. It’s daunting at times. Writing a second book comes with all kinds of challenges, new sets of concerns and doubts. Expanding worlds, giving fresh arcs to old characters. I’m not even sure how to end it because a third book is just a glimmer of possibility.
But more than that, there’s the fear of simply writing. I wrote FLASHFALL differently. It was more than two years ago—I was a different writer, a different person in many ways. What if I don’t have “it” in me in the same way?
I will have to reach for something new.
In the publishing world, there’s much rejection, disappointment, and disillusionment. I’ve felt them ALL, many times. But there’s also so much possibility if you don’t allow those things to have the final say.
I thought carefully about a word I’d choose as sort of a theme for 2016, one that captured my goals for this next season, these steps into debut territory. I stood on the beach on New Year’s Day, still not certain, not even when I picked up a bit of sea stone and bent toward the sand.
I suppose I shouldn’t surprised. This one’s been calling to me for a long time.
Reach . . . past failure. Learn from it. Use it to move forward.
Reach . . . for the absolute stars. How else will you get there?
Reach . . . despite other people’s doubts. Despite your own doubts.
Reach . . . inside yourself. Find the depths you didn’t know you had.
Reach . . . past fear, or you’ll never grab hold of your dreams.
As I stand on the cusp of this brand new year, I’m filled with gratitude. There’s uncertainty mixed in, but I remind myself there is freedom in embracing the unknown. Every page of this next book is a challenge, a charge into new territory, but I’m going to dive in. There will be crap writing days–times when I reach for words that won’t come, or plot lines that allude my grasp. On those days I’ll look at my little beach stone on my desk. It will remind me of what I wrote in the sand during a time when all I saw was possibility.
Maybe this will inspire your own journey. Maybe you need this word, this reminder, as much as I do. Or maybe you have your own.
Whatever you do this new year, I hope you find the courage to do it bravely.