Friday, March 2, 2018

In which I tell the truth—the whole truth

Recently my Facebook “memories” told me I’d signed the contract for my first middle-grade book exactly two years ago. A couple months from now, my third middle-grade book will make its way into the world. Three books in a little over two years. Whew! In the midst of all the writing, revising, waiting, celebrating, stressing, promoting, doubting, and hoping, I’ve been thrilled and humbled to have my books land on some good lists and even win an award. It’s been a whirlwind. An amazing, I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening whirlwind. But here’s the thing:

If Facebook were to tell the whole story, you’d also know that just over two years ago, none of this had happened. Just over two years ago, I’d acquired an impressive and, truth be told, daunting number of rejection letters. I’d been dropped by my agent. I’d been in the “zero request club” in PitchWars. I’d wrestled with separating writing from publishing, so the roller-coaster ride of being in this industry wouldn’t completely crush my creative spirit. I’d had to dig deep in my battle-worn heart and answer the question, Is this worth it? I’d had to decide whether or not I had it in me to keep hoping.

That hard stuff doesn’t tend to make it onto Facebook. Yes, I’m guilty of putting forth a curated life on social media. (I have my reasons, but I’m not sure they’re good ones.) And so those who look, see part of the truth. And it’s not only with the writing side of things – it’s personal stuff, too. You see the celebrations, the sunny days, the happy-moments snapshots. But I don’t often share the less-great things – the devastating news, the loss and grief, the stress and hurt and disappointment. Truth is, these past two years have had all that in the mix, too.

Where am I going with this? I’m not even sure. But I’ve been thinking lately that social media, with all its good news, yay-hooray curated snippets of people’s lives, can sometimes have the unintended result of discouraging others. So today, in telling the whole truth about my journey (albeit in a very abbreviated form), I hope to say this: Hang on. Keep hoping. The road can be long and hard, but your good news might be around the next corner, or the one after that (but in the meantime, hey--did you see that sunrise? notice that weird twisted tree?). 

Embrace the journey that is uniquely yours, with its mountaintops and dark valleys, long hard paths and surprising vistas. Connect with others who are walking a similar road--we're in this together! Celebrate together, weep together, share the load. Trust that the journey is worth it, and don’t give up.

1 comment:

  1. Brava, Shari. Life changes in an instant, as you noted here. In this case, a blessed happy instant about two years ago.
    I share some struggles on my blog, but not on Facebook. Facebook, it seems to me, is a happy-face ad. It tells the truth (I hope) but not the whole truth, and really, we need a place for happy news also.