It's me. Well, it's you, technically, all grown up. Or as grown up as we wanna claim on a regular basis, which, considering our favorite food is still mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, maybe we'll never officially grow up.
Sometimes we eat ice cream for dinner. That's pretty cool.
Come sit by me. I've got some things to tell you.
First, even twenty years later, you still occasionally make this face. Not so much for funny face pictures anymore, but because sometime things don't go according to plan. We're still cute, though. Promise.
Do you remember that time we were in Barnes & Noble? I think it was that summer before H went to college. We got up early each morning to take mom to work so we could have the car, and we adventured all over. We went to the Sciencenter, to the mall, and made a lot of trips to the bookstore.
Do you remember what you thought that day? You might have even said it out loud.
You said one day, I'm gonna walk into Barnes & Noble and find my name on the shelf.
Brace yourself, kid, because it's actually happening.
You wrote a novel - you've written eight of them, actually - and signed a publishing contract, and tomorrow, that book that you wrote is released into the world. It's the ebook version, the print one doesn't come out until May 15.
But your book is going out into the world. It's going to be on bookstore shelves.
You had a goal, which, at one point, didn't seem attainable, but you worked for it anyway. That's because you don't know how to quit, kid. Trust me when I say you still don't, and I don't think you're ever going to learn. Probably not a bad thing.
I'm not gonna lie, you've got some rough years ahead, and I don't just mean the normal middle and high school year shenanigans. You'll get mono, somehow catch whooping cough, have a mystery pain, and get your wisdom teeth removed. You even eventually have open heart surgery. Which yeah, it's terrifying,
But you do a lot of other really cool stuff before and after. You get to travel. Mom and Dad even let you wander all the way to Wales for, like, four months.
And you play so much soccer.
But the most important thing, kid, is that you didn't give up. There were a lot of people who scoffed at that lofty goal of yours, a lot of people who thought you couldn't do it. And despite all of that, despite sometimes wondering why you kept writing, why you kept trying, you didn't give up.
And that, you mop-headed small child, is something we never grow out of.
It's a long, strange trip from there to here, but it's worth every. Single. Step. And it's definitely worth it for the people you'll meet along the way. Some will encourage you. Some will tell you you can't do it. And some will just let you slog through everything without comment. You'll figure it out.
You'll always figure it out.
And when in doubt, just ask mom for advice. She's got a lot of wisdom she can impart.
But you gotta remember, kid, that in the quiet moments in the middle of the night when no one else was around, it was you who kept going, kept trying, and kept writing. For all those moments when it would have been easy to give up, you didn't.
This was your dream to follow, your goal to get. And you did.
So tomorrow - the release day for LADY OF SHERWOOD - is for you, kid. You never gave up on that dream, and here we are, twenty years later, finally seeing it tangibly come true. Here's to you for saying I want that, and I'm gonna do it one day.
Your one day is here.
Smile. Soak it all in. Have some cake. And maybe, on Tuesday, figure out which new thing you want to reach for next.
Here's to you, kid.
You Future Self
I know I was just way in Boston, but next week I'll be heading south to Virginia Beach for a week away with my parents. I've decided to take along some books I've borrowed from the library, and thought you might be interested to see what's next in my To Be Read pile.
I started Secret of a Heart Note while I waited in the airport for my delayed flight to Boston. I'm very excited to continue reading.
I spent last weekend in Boston. Originally, I was supposed to fly out Thursday, but my airline preemptively cancelled flights for Thursday on Wednesday afternoon, and I didn't leave until Friday night.
This was my first time flying since I had open heart surgery. I felt sorry for the person who sat next to me because I chew gum (so my ears will pop) and I'm pretty sure I was more cow with cud than human with chewing gum.
Welcome to 2017! I hope everybody had a safe, happy, and fun New Year's Eve celebration! I spent mine watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince while putting together a 750 piece puzzle with my mom. (You can see a picture of it here, on my Instagram.)
I seem to have brought back the super-bug that went through the house, so while I can only breathe through one nostril, I still have a slice of cheesecake from New Year's, and I have as much rooibos tea as I can possibly drink.
But what I really wanted to talk about are some goals I have for 2017
1) Be More Organized
I have a very pretty planner (which has flowers on the cover, which is kind of unusual for me) and I need to start using it more. Like, on a weekly basis. And I need to not forget that I have it.
2) Journal More
I always seem to have a lot rattling around in my head. Some of it is, of course, book and writing related, but a lot of it isn't. A lot of it is just for and about me. And while I like to share things not related to writing here, journaling is a little too personal.
It would also, probably, be cathartic.
3) Be As Brave as The Dunkin Donuts Incident
Long story short, the Dunkin Donuts Incident involved me being exceptionally braver than I usually am and giving my name and phone number to a very cute guy. It didn't pan out - which is okay - but the point is that I did something I would have only thought about doing, but would have never actually done before. So I want to be as brave as I was that morning more often. Even if I might fail.
4) Live Life Wide Open
It's a big, wide world out there and I'm going to see, experience, and live in it as much as I possibly can. There's a reason my life motto is carpe this diem and I intend to keep on doing just that.
It's not a long list, but I think it's a good one. And it should definitely be an adventure.
Hope & Kindness,
PitchWars selections happen on Thursday. There are, as there have been in years past, a ton of incredibly talented applicants looking to be a mentee in the hopes of, ultimately, gaining agent representation. Representation is a goal a lot of us, as writers, have. It's a good goal. An attainable one.
But for a lot of us, Thursday will come with heartbreak and disappointment.
And it's okay to be disappointed.
It's okay to look around and say my best wasn't good enough in certain ways, and it's a difficult reminder that this process is a lot like the publishing process - it's incredibly subjective. I can go through my email and find a huge number of my rejected queries that say I write well, but the agent/editor didn't connect with the characters the way they needed to.
This was one of the hardest lessons to wrap my head around, and sometimes it still gets to me. Just like the way Thursday will get to me.
You can be disappointed. You can eat your feelings with ice cream and beer, and watch your favorite movies. That's totally allowed. (I will most likely be doing some form of this at the end of the week.) But you can't wallow forever, which means you have to decide whether you're going to throw in the towel or keep going.
Please don't throw in the towel.
If you need to, shelve the project you entered for PitchWars for a little while. Write something new. Rewrite a previous work. But don't dwell on the hurt and disappointment, and please, please don't give up. There are multiple ways to get to the destination - that destination being agent representation, a book deal, etc - and PitchWars is just one of those ways. Contests are just one of those ways.
In the end, the journey you took to get there will be worth it. Believe me.
I'm Molly Louise and this my journey as a scientist, wanderer, and, most recently, will-be published author.
This whole experience so far - signing a contract, getting to announce it, turning in the first round of edits, seeing my name and bio on the CTP website - has been absolutely awesome, and, I'm not gonna lie, a bit overwhelming.
It gets really overwhelming if I think about what could happen after it's released, and I try not to think about that right now.
The bright side to all of this is that there are others who have gone through this part of the process. Everyone from the other authors at CTP, writer friends on Twitter, and basically anybody who's an author who's written about the experience. It's kind of comforting to know that we've sat in the same boat at one point.
I'm navigating. I'm navigating having a first publication, moving to a new city (I've only been out here in Buffalo since mid-April), working full time, and having a writing to-do list that, at first look, seems absolutely ridiculous.
So. Carpe diem, and go big or go home, apparently.
Thanks for stopping by. Browse. Smile. Giggle. And maybe say hi.