I’ve always loved to make up stories. As a kid I had the usual imaginary friends and lived to be adventurous much to the despair of my poor mother, I’m sure. The first time I can remember writing something of any real length was in the 7th grade. This was a way for me to escape and create new worlds where I was in control. If a book or movie didn't end like I wanted or thought it should, no problem. I just rewrote it. This made for some interesting conversations with teachers when trying to do those dreaded book reports.
Fast forward a few years, okay a lot of years. We moved from my small hometown, where my family lived, to a small suburb just out of Houston, Texas. I knew no one. My husband’s family lived an hour away on the other side of town. Throw in the surprise of finding out I was pregnant again when my first child was only ten months old and it was almost more than I could take.
That’s when I picked up a pencil and a plain spiral notebook and started my first book. Looking back now, I realize this was a way for me to relieve the stress and anxiety of worrying how on earth I was going to handle two little ones so close in age. Back then I wrote for fun, stress relief and the pure thrill of a watching my words turn into a story.
A little over five years and one more baby later, we’d moved again. Two girls and one very active little boy now took up most of my time. This is where it all got tricky. I knew the writing was good for me. It helped me deal with life’s little speed bumps, helped me stretch my individuality and feel worthy. Yes, I am a mother and a wife. And I love every precious minute. I’m so thankful for all the blessings God has given me. I realize now, after years of struggling with guilt over wanting time to myself, that giving me hopes and dreams of my own is also one of His blessings. I have a purpose bigger than just being part of a family group. I believe this is true of every member of a family. It’s what makes us grow, helps us branch out and find the path that God has laid out for us.
Now that my two daughters are in high school and my son in middle school, the choice to follow my dream is even more important. When they are off, enjoying their own lives and raising families of their own, I’ll have my writing to keep me sane. Without it, I know I’d be lost. So many years of caring for them, tending to their every need and then wham! Mommy’s not needed so much anymore. Who made these rules anyway? The idea of them growing up still makes me cringe and tear up, but I know this is all just part of life. I also understand why it’s so important to have something that takes me away from the chaos, even if it’s just for a little while. Writing is part of who I am and it makes me feel secure in knowing that something I love and the great friends I’ve made along the way will be here to encourage and support me through these ever changing cycles of life. I don’t feel as guilty about taking time for myself anymore. It’s all about finding a balance that works for everyone.
I’ll admit taking that next step in my writing career has been one scary journey. The risk of putting myself out there with the fear of failure looming all around me was enough to send me screaming and running in the opposite direction. But the “what if’s” were just too haunting to live with. There is a quote I came across that says it all. “There is no success without failure.”
Don’t be afraid to branch out and build a life outside your family with friends who enjoy the same things you do. The result is a happier you. And no one benefits more than your precious family. It's a plus for everyone.
Hopes and dreams are gifts. So take those chances and never be afraid to dream. I'm thrilled to be selling copies of my books every day, which I never in a million years thought possible. I continue to write, learn my craft and discover new and exciting things about myself.
Let's face it. Life is much too precious, and way too short to sit back and let fear hold us back. :)