Shane Moore, a friend and mentor, recently made a post on his Facebook page about what to do when you feel frustrated with where you are in life.
"Whenever you feel like you're not getting anywhere in life, just turn around and look behind at the old you.
Where were you five years ago? Ten years ago? I bet you will be amazed at how far you have come in life!
And if not, time to stop dreaming and make the dream a reality!"
The difference even one year can make is amazing, but going back five and ten years? Those comparisons were even more astounding. So, going back, ten years ago.
2007 - I was just finishing up The Demon's Apprentice, and the most amazing thing in my life was getting a query from an established agent about my work. She ended up not representing me at the time, which was actually a good decision on her part. At the time, neither the book nor the author was ready. I had been working an entry level job for two years, and every day was a struggle. The only reason I was still there was because I had made a commitment to the woman who had hired me to be there for two years, and I took that promise seriously. Also, over time, I had come to respect her as a leader, and saw her on a fairly regular basis. More importantly, she remembered that promise and not only held me accountable to it, she acknowledged that I had kept my end of it. Every day after that, while it was rough, was a point of pride to me, that I was worthy of the faith someone had put in my word. I had a dream, and I was not only chasing it, I felt like I had a real shot at it.
2012 - Five years later, my book was a real thing. I was selling copies at a convention, and other professionals were taking notice of me. Specifically, Gerry Kissell and Shane Moore, who had been willing to talk top me about my dream of writing professionally. I was also blessed to meet Patricia Briggs and her husband, Mike, who not only bought a copy of The Demon's Apprentice, he reviewed it favorably on their website. I had done it. I was a published author. But, I was a published author languishing in obscurity. A few people could see potential, but not the thousand readers I needed.
2015 - Holy crap! On May 4th, two years ago, I was having daily, no, make that hourly, reality checks, bordering on anxiety attacks. It was the BEST STRESS EVER. I was just coming off of two straight months of massive sales, and I had enough money in the bank to live for one year at my old wages. My letter of resignation at my old job had been handed to my boss three days before, tucked into a copy of my first self-published book. In eleven days, I was going to be a full time writer, living solely off of my own efforts. I was scared, excited and on top of the world. My life was right where I had always wanted it to be.
2016 - In May of 2016, I was on my way to X-Con, in Myrtle Beach SC, when I got the call every writer wants to get. It was from Trodayne Northern and Leslie Varney, telling me that they wanted to sign me with Prentis Literary. A chance conversation in a hallway at NorWesCon two months before had brought me to their attention, and over the intervening months, they had remembered me and decided to represent me. Life was good and getting better.
Today, I'm preparing to go to my first writers conference as a full guest and present two panels. So far, I'll be appearing as a guest at three more conventions this year, and there is the possibility of more before the year is out. The moral of this story?
Dreams can come true, if you work for them and don't lose sight of your goals. So, always, my friends and readers, keep your head up and keep chasing contrails.
May the Force be with you. Always.