Nine days ago, I published my third book via my wee publisher. Book birthdays are a wonderful and terrifying time.
There is the excitement of putting something new into the world that you created out of the mists of your own imagination, that you slaved over for uncounted hours, that you accosted friends and family to read or reread or edit or just listen to you rant on and on about your characters or the plot.
Then there is the terror of releasing something you created out into the world - a world that is full of people who aren't your friends and family, who won't spare your feelings in a review, who won't necessarily love your creation just because it's yours.
That's an entirely separate issue, really - the putting yourself out there with your pants down. I'm not comfortable with it - but I do it anyway.
Because I love to write. I love it, love it, love it. And there are times when I hate it just as fiercely.
As long as I can remember, this is what I wanted from life - to see my words in print.
And I have. Three times now.
It's still pretty unreal to me.
I'm not featured in magazines, I'm not in the tabloids or on television or hounded by paparazzi. I'm not on a bestseller list, not competing with JK Rowling in terms of net worth.
And I am fine with all of that - because none of that was ever the point.
This was the point.
I've done great things - I married a great man, I'm raising a great kid, I've got a job that doesn't give me panic attacks, and I've published three books.
The ridiculous advances and the fame may never come - and that's okay.
Because my goal was accomplished. The one thing I set out to do that I never allowed myself to give up on, I saw it through to the end.
I tried in 2002 to publish the first book I ever wrote. I wrote query letter after query letter, made self addressed stamped envelope after self addressed stamped envelope and then collected one rejection letter after another.
It slowed me down for a long time.
But I tried again in 2003 - writing a second book and did it all over again.
And again, failed.
Until 2010, when I sent out my last query letter that I would ever write, knowing that if it didn't work this time, that was it, I was self publishing.
And this time, it worked.
I got to talk to high school kids about being published. I got to talk to them in a real way about not giving up on what you're passionate about. And to a few of them - I even made a bit of difference.
I have tremendous self doubt when it comes to writing but I plug on despite those feelings. This is what I wanted - and I'll be damned if I'm going to give up.
And at the end of the day - after all of this and all these words I've just written about all this nonsense comes the entire reason why I started writing this blog today in the first place -
I am thankful for every person who has ever listened to me blather on about writing. Or about my books. Or about my characters. Or anything to do with writing. Please know that it's hard for me to talk about, and I usually hate talking about it. I can't generally verbalize my book titles without doing a weird inward squirm.
I am thankful for every person who has ever purchased one of my books. Thank you for spending your hard earned money on my typed daydreams.
I am thankful for every person who has ever read any of my books. Thanks for coming along for the ride - and I hope you didn't want your ticket back at the end, but I know not everyone likes the Gravitron. I'm more of a Scrambler girl, myself.
I am thankful for every person who helped to promote me, who spread word of mouth that, "Hey - remember that chick? Yeah, she wrote a book." Or, "Hey, buy this book that my relative/friend/insert relationship here wrote".
There are people who shared my Facebook posts about my book that I haven't seen in the flesh in twenty years or have never met in person at all - but still shared it, still spread the word, still spent their money on it.
And I can't accurately say how much that means to me.
I tell stories because I love to - and sometimes because I have to or they'll drive me mad.
No one has to share anything, buy anything, say anything. And yet so many of you have. And for a girl who grew up not really sure of where she fit into the universe and who still thinks, more often than not, that her stories are ridiculous this is better than being a bestseller. Talking to kids who might have the same worries and telling them not to give up - that's better than having a Maserati in my driveway. Showing my son that if you want something bad enough, you fight for it no matter how afraid you are - that's better than being on a talk show.
So thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, whether it be as unflagging as my husband and my family or if it was just a moment of clicking "share now" on Facebook. I'm grateful and appreciative of it all.