Wednesday, June 4, 2014

You Never Know

     You never know what might happen, for better or for worse. That is one reason why I generally never give up, even when a situation is overwhelming and I am certain I might lose or fail. There have been so many of these moments.Moments where you begin to doubt your sanity, doubt the veracity of your dreams, whether you are better off just quitting. Sometimes that is the case. You do need to quit. To save yourself or someone else from pain, to regain your own identity.
     This was not one of those times. 2011 was a milestone year for me in so many ways. I had surgery on my foot to correct an old injury I had acquired in my years of working in automobile production. I had scar tissue and a damaged toe from when a co-worker ran over my foot with a cooling buck cart. The cooling buck is where the headliner sits after it is pulled from the form press-before it is tossed into the marriage press and the fabric is adhered. The headliner is what goes in the ceiling/roof of your car.
     It should have been simple surgery, but I had an adverse reaction to some of the medicines used and my foot didn't heal for weeks. Didn't help that I was standing on it 8-10 hours a day at work. Massive infection was followed by massive amounts of antibiotics as we worked to make sure that I would keep that toe.
     Antibiotics are an amazing thing-but they can have side effects-and that brought about my kidney issues, which brought about two more surgeries. This was also my first experience with general anesthesia. Being a cowardly type of person, this was not an easy experience for me. I was fortunate to have fabulous nurses that carefully explained each step to me and helped me deal with my fears, so I wouldn't make my own circumstances more difficult.
     And this also happened to be the year when I decided it was all or nothing, that I would put all my spare time and efforts into chasing my writing dreams, and if nothing came of it, then it was time to let go of these dreams and move on.
     And did I mention that I somehow thought it was a good idea to switch jobs for the first time in 15 years? And that I picked a company that was trying to produce a new type of product, a lithium ion car battery, and that I knew nothing about this concept or process?
     By November, I was still not sure where I stood with my dreams. I had a screenplay that was a semi-finalist n a contest. I had written a well received essay. But I still had doubts. I also was facing my 3rd surgery of the year. I was tired, body, mind, soul, weary.
     And there it was. I was on  a Facebook page for NPR's Three Minute Fiction and saw a link to an Author Challenge Contest through a digital based children's storybook publisher, MeeGenius. They were still accepting stories.
     This was one of my dreams, publishing a children's storybook. The contest was almost done. I was so tired. But, I was ready. I had worked for years, sometimes never sharing a word of what I worked on with anyone else. But I had put in the time. I had ideas written down. I could re-work and edit.
     The doubts crept in and said their ugly things. I shouted them down in my mind. I know I am not the best, the brightest, or the fastest. But I put in the practice, the work, and the effort. I am ready I silently shouted. Quite often it is the person that doesn't give up that wins the race. That was what I told myself, over and over.
     I submitted my story. It made it through the first round. It was paired with a brilliant illustrator. It made it through the second round. It charged through the third round.It didn't take first place, but it made the top 5 in the country. It earned a publishing contract. On my birthday in 2012 I received one of the greatest gifts ever when I was told that it would be digitally published.
     This has led to my being able to publish two more storybooks and to speaking/reading engagements. This has brought so much happiness and fulfillment to my life.
     But even more exciting to me, my publisher is having another Author Challenge Contest. It is time for someone else to give it their best effort and see if their dream will come true. I hope you consider entering this because you never know!

Please follow this link for more information on the contest:
Also-please see my interview on my publisher's blog