This year, I signed my first-ever children's book contract. As I begin to share my path to publication, the reflection feels like a series of journal entries where I ponder; How did I get here? What have I learned? Is there a point in sharing my story? I answer these questions and examine my past. How I navigate and write about the world gives me a clearer picture of who I am. Reoccurring themes surface and shout, "Here I am! Deal with me!" I realize the importance of this reflection as I face the next phase of becoming a published author, areas that I find even more intimidating and challenging, social media, book promotion, and illustration. As one path takes off, others begin. I remind myself that it takes time and patience to learn new skills and embark on new journeys.
But, if I didn't already know my history, it would seem that my path to getting a contract happened overnight -bada boom, bada bing! And I say that knowing my publication date is set for the Spring of 2021 and anything can happen!
But here goes ...
In June of 2019, I retired from a long teaching career working with students with extreme medical needs. On my last day, a fellow teacher announced my transition and goals to a large group of teachers. Imposter syndrome colored me red. With not much to show as a writer, I wished the moment to pass quickly.
But a mere eight months later, I was offered a picture book contract with Albert Whitman and Company. It was as if I had planned it. Retire and switch to a writing career! Easy, peasy. But wait, I did plan it –only thirteen years ago! While I celebrated the small chunk of time it took to acquire a contract AFTER my retirement, my brain rewound ...
2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, and finally, 2006.
Important choices I made after my retirement contributed to the whirlwind of this last year, but the backbone of the story is that it was a layering of choices that readied me for this moment.
I hope you follow me on my journey as I continue to piece together the small victories and weighty struggles that created the path I am on, how I found the strength to forge ahead, and how I plan to learn, grow, and succeed in this challenging business.
Whatever you are doing,
whatever you are seeking,
whatever goals you are setting,
where ever you want to be,
NEXT ISSUE: 2019 - The Year of "It" Happening!