I've been out of town this weekend (my first trip to Canada, WooHoo), so I'm a little late on the Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all of my online friends. So happy belated Thanksgiving everyone. I hope your day was wonderful!
I have a lot to be thankful for this year, not the least of which is getting to know so many of you. Forgive me for getting a bit personal on a writing blog, but on this Thanksgiving I want to say what writing has meant to me personally over the past couple of years.
In January of 2007 I was a stay at home mom with one two-year-old little boy and the wife of a graduate student. I was active in my church and community and had several good friends. I had quit my career about a year before we adopted our son . I LOVED being a stay at home mom. I had no desire to go back to work and leave my beautiful child alone during the day. I loved my life, and I was grateful for it. Yet, I felt the desire to do something personal, to set a difficult goal and accomplish it, to prove that I still had a brain capable of tackling things other than impossible stains on my son's clothes or trying to figure out how to make dinner without ever cooking. I was craving mental stimulation.
I didn't want my college education to feel like nothing more than a certificate printed on nice paper. Unfortunately, my college brain... mush (it happens after sustained periods without adult conversation, I learned). I wondered what to do.
Then one day as I was jotting down random thoughts in one of my notebooks about characters I was imagining I realized the answer was staring me in the face. I had always loved writing, but I guess I'd never considered that I could actually do anything with it. But with more alone time on my hands (my husband working and going to school and my son still young and napping) I decided that rather than watch Oprah or the like in the afternoon, I would apply myself and write a novel. What could it hurt?
At first I was very private, even a bit embarrassed about what I was doing. After all, who was I to write a novel? I was no expert in law or medicine. I didn't have epic or tragic life circumstances. I was just a simple stay at home mom with lots of random characters and places floating around in my head in a sort of mishmashed, chaotic way. But then I was talking to my wonderful and supportive best friend, Kasie, and she mentioned that she was writing a book (I think she had already written a couple by that time), and I told her I was writing one too. After that we began holding weekly writing groups with just the two of us. We would discuss what we had read and what we thought about what we had read. We discussed our own work and read each other's drafts. We read agent blogs and decided to start our own.
Looking back that was the best decision we made along the way. A new world of information and friendship opened up to us. We also joined a local writing group that met twice a month. We connected with writers of various genres and experience. In short, we immersed ourselves in the writing world and culture.
Since that time some wonderful things have happened. I've had the opportunity to get to know some of the most creative, most fun and most wonderful people around. I've gotten to meet several of you in person (Jenn, Michelle, Natalie, Jenni, Linda, Tricia) and found that you are every bit as wonderful, intelligent and full of life as your blogs would suggest (I just have to put a plug in here for Renee too, because, thought I haven't met her, I feel like I have!). Many of my blogging friends (including Kasie) have finished multiple books, signed with agents, sold books and had personal successes, or overcome personal obstacles. Every time something wonderful happens in your life, I sit and my computer and cheer for you. I love seeing dreams come true on a regular basis.
You have all taught me so much about writing, friendship, balancing life's demands, and believing in yourself. You've taught me that I don't have to have extraordinary qualifications to be a writer, but I do have to work hard and persevere.
About a week ago I told my husband that I worried that writing had become too big a part of my life. I worried that it took up time during the day that I should be doing other things (like cleaning for instance). I said something like, "Maybe I should just walk away from it all." He said to me, "Only you can decide what's right for you, but I just have one thing to say, The Candi who writes is much happier than the Candi who didn't write. I don't think twenty years from now our children will remember how clean the house was, but I do think they'll remember that their mother was happy and that she pursued her goals. It seems to me that's a lot more important than a clean kitchen." (I know, isn't he the best!)
So this year, I'm thankful for supportive friends, family (all of my wonderfully supportive siblings and parents), a loving husband, a totally impatient son (what else could be expected from a four-year-old), and the joy of writing in my life, and you!