Earlier this summer I was watching the auditions for So You Think You Can Dance, and one of the contestants said this after getting cut from the show:
“Dancers get told no all the time. You just have to keep going.”
Simple, full of grace, and true. I found myself nodding, thinking about how much this applies to writing/publishing too. I’ve faced hundreds of no’s already; I’ll face hundreds more.
Then I realized, I spend a lot of time thinking about my own dreams and ambitions, but now I have to be a steward for my daughter’s dreams and ambitions too. It’s intimidating, but also a privilege.
I probably won’t know what her dreams are for many years to come. Big or small, I hope she reaches them all.
When I was younger, it felt very important to me that my writing career be established before I started a family. I wanted to be an author first, a wife and mother second. But that isn’t how things happened.
I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me sometimes, my inability to achieve that goal. But at the same time, I wouldn’t change any of the decisions that led me to this place. I wouldn’t trade Andy or IB for any amount of professional success.
Fortunately, my dream of being an author is never out of reach. There’s no expiration date on good storytelling or writing.
And I know dozens of writers, either personally or by reputation, and some of them are parents, some of them aren’t. Either way, it has no impact on the quality of their work or the trajectory of their career.
As for achieving X before age Y… I get why people care about that sort of thing, but really, it’s just a number. The words on the page don’t know whether you’re 19 or 49. Just write them.