Once upon a time, there was a little girl who struggled to read. Putting a string of words together seemed impossible. In 2nd grade, she was placed in a special reading class for extra help. She worked very hard. Her teacher helped her to make sense of all these letters and how they fit together to form words, sentences, paragraphs, and entire books. Over the course of the year, the light bulb finally went off, and this little girl had solved the reading puzzle! From that point on, she read everything she could get her hands on. To her, every book took her on a new and exciting adventure. She had had to work so hard to figure words out, but once she did, she fell in love with them and nothing would stop her!
Fast forward 20+ years, and this little girl was now an adult and a mom of three young children. She still loved to read, and she had also developed a love of writing her own stories. Her children provided her with the inspiration to write stacks of poems and short stories. Her children enjoyed her stories, but for a while, this young mom didn't consider writing to be anything more than a hobby that she enjoyed. After all, how many people actually got the opportunity to have their work published?!
However, this young woman's husband was paying attention to what she was writing, and he saw her potential. He encouraged her to keep writing and to start educating herself about the publication process. She wasn't so sure, but she bought a copy of The Idiot's Guide To Writing and Publishing Children's Books and joined an organization called the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrator's (SCBWI). Through her organization membership, she found a critique group. This small group met monthly to read each other's work and to help each other make their work better. She attended conferences, read stacks of books, and most importantly, she kept writing.
Over time, as she felt her work was getting stronger, she began to submit her stories and poems to publishers. It didn't take her long to find success with magazines. That success encouraged her to keep learning, writing, and submitting. Five years after she first joined SCBWI, her wildest dream came true. She received an email from an actual book publisher with an actual offer to publish her very first actual book! In the Fall of 2007, her dream became a reality when she received a box containing copies of her picture book, PAWS, CLAWS, HANDS, and FEET (Arbordale Publishing) in the mail. She ripped open the box, picked up a book, and began flipping through the pages. She read her words and soaked in the beautiful illustrations that had been added. She saw her name on the cover and her picture on the jacket. She hugged the book, and she cried- not sad tears, but tears of absolute joy!
Since that time, this woman who struggled so much to even learn to read as a child, has sold 24 more books and 150+ stories, poems, and articles to magazines, newsletters, and anthologies. She's also taken what she has learned along the way and tried to help other writers on their journey. I'm sure you've figured out by now that the I've been sharing with you is my story. To be able to read and write are gifts that I don't take for granted. My writing life has been a bit of a fairy tale, full of bumps in the road and mountains to climb, but it has provided oh so many happy endings. Thank you for visiting my little space. Please feel free to peruse, and please feel free to email me with your questions and/or to share your own writing story.