A Week of Firsts by Janice LynnThis week has been full of firsts in my life. My first book, JANE MILLIONAIRE, was released. My first radio interview in regards to my book. My first online chat. My first book-signing. My first time for someone to say I kept them up all night reading MY book. The first time I read a book I wrote from cover to cover when it's a real cover. My first time seeing a book I wrote in a bookstore. Lots of firsts. Which is all good and grand and great. BUT (why does there always have to be a but?) it's also a time full of reflection. A time to look back over the steps I took to reach this point. And it all started with a dream. A dream to write a book. When the desire to write actually morphed into a dream, I'm not really sure. As long as I can remember (way back in elementary school) I've wanted to be a writer. Not just any writer. A writer of romance.
It was around 9/11 that I realized I was dreaming in the sky and not doing one thing to try to grab hold of that dream. Sad how it takes something that shakes your foundation to make you willing to take risks, to go after a dream. Once that dream formed it grew and grew until in some ways it became more than a dream--almost an obsession. I needed to write. Needed it as much as I needed to breathe. Writing filled my nights when I should have been in bed, beside my husband, sleeping so I'd be rested for work the next day held, but my passion for putting the thoughts in my head on page burned too strong for sleep. Although, like most writers, I wanted my manuscripts published, the actual writing, creating characters and places and living a whole other life through my stories was the real passion. The writing itself. At times along the way I lost sight of that passion. The thought that publication is what it took to validate my skills, my stories blinded me at times. Why? That's hard to answer, but I think it goes back to forgetting WHY I started writing. I wrote for me. Because it gave me great pleasure. At too many bumps along this path, I wrote for the wrong reasons. Wrote striving more toward publication than for my passion. Sad, but true. This week, I've been reminded of what it felt like to write that first page, to finish that first chapter, that first black moment, typing THE END for the first time. Remembered the pure and simple joy of what it felt like knowing I'd started a book, wrote the story, and finished. No drug could ever offer a more surreal and giddy high.
Holding my book and experiencing all these first reminded me of my passion. I made me feel guilty that in the hustle and bustle I've ignored or not truly appreciated some very precious gifts that I've encountered along my writing journey. It also reminded me of that old saying (which is so appropriate in regards to my first book which carries a rose theme) TAKE TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES ALONG THE JOURNEY. I know I've seen that phrase written several different ways, but regardless of how I've paraphrased it, you get the point. There are so many of us writers, both pre-published and published who forget to stop and smell the roses during our journey. I think it's a natural part of the writing process to go through these emotional highs and lows. Certainly most of the writers I know readily admit to going through similar experiences and going through times where they lose the passion because of various reasons. Tonight I challenge all you writers to stop a moment with me, think about where you are now compared to where you were when you started your journey (even if you're a new writer this applies, because if you've written a single word that's a step toward your dream & if you've written 50 books it still applies, because it's so easy to let the world steal passion.) and breathe in the roses!