Monday, November 27, 2006

Introducing Angel...



When we recently asked our readers what they'd like to see on the blog, one of you mentioned wondering about our mysterious pasts and how we came to be writers. Okay, maybe we don't have many skeletons lurking in our closets, but we hope our posts about pursuing our dreams this week will inspire you to make your own dreams a priority, whatever they may be.

Like most writers, I started out a reader. I know my mother read to us when I was little, but I remember becoming truly hooked on reading in my early teens. Being home schooled and living way out in the country, my mother would take us to the library "in town" twice a month. The librarians were always amazed because my sister and I would check out the maximum 12 books each time and my mother assured them we actually read each one.

I went to college as an English major, with the intention of eventually pursuing a Masters in Library Science. Life had other plans in the form of marriage and children after graduating with a BA in English Literature and a minor in American History. Despite being drawn to academic literary discussions, reading romance was my true passion.

It was actually a dear friend who put me on the first leg of my writing journey. Recognizing restlessness in me, she recommended that I attend a writing seminar being held nearby. Personally, I'd always thought my sister would be the writer in the family, because I could never live up to the papers she wrote in college. But my interest was peaked, so I went. Talk about an eye-opening experience! The author who spoke gave a test to the audience, asking true/false questions about our personal tendencies. Though totally unscientific, she said that if you scored 8 or higher out of 10, you were wasting a God-granted gift if you weren't writing in some way, shape, or form. I scored a 12 (there were bonus questions)!

Suddenly I knew that if I wrote anything, I'd want to write a romance. I went to the bookstore, read some how-to books, found RWA, and the rest is history. My only hope is that publication is one of the highlights of my journey. Even though I never thought of myself as a writer before that class, I now cannot view myself any other way. It was a part of who I am all along, I just hadn't recognized it yet.

Along the way, there have been many things that have helped keep me going, the greatest of which has been the wonderful women here at the Playground. But in those quiet moments when my heart wonders if publication is worth the hassle, I'm often encouraged by quotes that just seem to come my way. One of my favorite is:

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

A new favorite is:

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." –Anonymous

So today I ask you: What is it in your life that requires that kind of courage today? Do you have an unexpected dream for your life that gives it meaning and focus? Tell us all about it today!

Angel

PS: To kick off our final week of daily giveaways, I'm offering a Christmas bag to one of today's lucky commenters. It includes some Christmas candy and two books.

33 comments:

blueberri said...

Angel, thank you for your history. I looove that you scored the bonus points on the quiz. The arrow was pointed for you in that seminar!

The challenge I am facing is that I want to become a published author and my hands are a mess. I have voice-activated software and a strong will. My frustration comes with reading - holding the books and flipping pages. It's hard to keep up with everything. But I won't give up! It's too much fun. The pain is worth it.

I know there are books on tape and e-books but many of the books I want to read aren't in that format.

Kathy said...

Great post, Angel! Imagination, education, and intention...you have everything and more. And you are an incredibly talented woman. Don't forget it!

Let's see...I've done a lot of things that called for bravery. Bravery...something dredged up from within when every nerve screams to run. Though I've fought strongly for those I love, I find it takes more courage than I've ever deemed probable for me to call forth just to chase my dream. I may fight and argue for my husband or child's sake, but when it comes to stepping out, making time for myself, taking chances for my own sake, there I coil and spit like a cornered snake. It is only through my interaction with the Playfriends, my writer's group, attending conferences and classes, my CP, and the encouragement given through these friendships that I've found the courage to move forward even if the mongoose waits to strike. Thanks to everyone of you who have made a difference in my life.

"If there is no wind, row." Latin Proverb

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." Dr. M. L. King, Jr.

"What you believe, you will do!" Linda Perrone Rooney

"The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives." Louise Hay

"If life were predictable, it would cease to be life and be without flavor." Eleanor Roosevelt

Some added thoughts meant to inspire this morning.
Kathy

Dannyfiredragon said...

I recently went back to college to get my teaching degree, additional to my Master in American & British Literature and History that I already have.

So that I will be able to work anywhere as a elementary/ highschool teacher for German, English & History. I don't plan to stay in Germany and that step will take a lot of courage.

Problem Child said...

My current favorite quote is from Ben Stein: The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want."

Sounds like you've made the decision :-)

Patricia W. said...

I like the idea of courage being not so boisterous. I often find my strength in the whispers.

robynl said...

"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." –Anonymous
Wow, that is a great quote. Sometimes I am too weak/tired to roar and if a quiet voice does the trick just as well I say 'yippee'. I need courage in accepting and coming to terms with losing both my parents within 2 yrs. + 1 month of each other. So now I will say, at the end of the day, 'I will try again tomorrow'. Thanks so much for that quote.

bamabelle said...

Wow, I really love your story. For me all the best parts of my life took courage to begin.In nursing school, I was scared to start clinical rotations. However, once we started seeing patients, that was when I realized why I truly wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to help people, to care for them. A classroom can teach knowledge and skills, but not caring. Before I became a mother, I worried that I would not know how to be a good mother. Now a mother of two, I could not imagine not being a mother. I know that I love my children more than life and will always do my best for them. Now, I am hoping to become a published writer. Writing has always been a part of my life in one form or another. The scary part is putting myself out there, and having no idea if it will be good enough. Still, I have to try. I love this quote:

"Do not worry about making the right decision. Just make a decision, then make it right."

CrystalG said...

For me, it took real courage to learn to drive and get my drivers license. I have always been really scared of driving for fear of wrecking and hurting myself or others. I finally got my license in August and I gain more confidence every day. It has been liberating to drive myself and not rely on others to take me places.

bamabelle said...

Crystalg,

That was a fear that I had to overcome too. My stepbrother was killed in a car accident when I was 16. I developed this phobia of driving, and did not get my license until I was 19. Congratulations on overcoming that fear! It is liberating to be able to drive yourself. I think a certain amount of fear and respect for safety makes safer drivers.

Minna said...

For me it still takes some courage to speak in public. I suppose it's a good thing you have to do that quite bit in the university, since it has gotten easier, but I still don't like it.

Tam said...

Right now I am facing a move to a state I have never been to. No family & no friends there. I won't know my way around. It will be a bit scary. Husbands job is relocating him, so that is why the move.

Jennifer Y. said...

Great quotes!

I need some courage right now dealing with many things and changes in my life.

Playground Monitor said...

I can understand how Tam and Dannyfiredragon feel. My husband and I moved a lot during the first years of our marriage -- once from the US to West Germany -- and all those moves were a challenge, especially the one to Germany. We were excited about going but it was still a big step.

Learning to drive is big; having your children learn to drive is even bigger. Having them start dating, begin school, go off to college -- all of those were tough for me. But they've done well and are out on their own.

Becoming a grandmother -- now that doesn't sound like much of a challenge, does it? Loving her unconditionally is simple, but I have to remember to be a good example to this little baby girl.

Submitting stories to magazines takes courage too. Even though I've sold a few, it's still hard to let go of the envelope at the post office.

Great blog, Angel! And great comments from everyone else!

PM

ellie said...

When we had to relocate to a new country it took a great deal of strength and courage to adapt and feel that this was home.

alissa said...

After graduating from law school it was a daunting task to apply for jobs and feel confident enough for the job at hand.

joelle said...

Whnr my son was in university and suffered from depression and anxiety it was necessary to give him all my love and attention and bring him back to his normal world.

Meljprincess said...

Definitely writing. I'm an aspiring writer and my dream is to be published.
It took a lot of courage going through breast cancer and now I find myself being courageous as I mourn the loss of my Father and work with my doctor to find out why I'm so ill.
Funny...I always pray for courage to get me through all the things I face in my life now.

sharon said...

You have to have the strength for many obstacles in life. With the sudden death of my mother it was difficult to go on with life, even with a family you feel totally adrift. The void is still there but I learned to overcome the worst and look to the future.

Smarty Pants said...

I can be pretty fearless about some things - I'll move to a city I've never even been to, travel alone to a country I've never been in and hit the ground running...I find writing is scarier than all of that.

Sending something to a CP or a contest is horrifying. You have to get over it, but its still difficult. I just mailed my golden heart entry. That was scary enough. I don't expect to get very far, so I'm not afraid of losing, but I'm actually terrified of finaling! Even more so of winning. Yeah, its great, but SCARY. To have your picture up on the screen at the awards ceremony, to win and have to go up in front of everyone and talk. To have the undivided attention of industry giants like Nora and Linda for a minute and a half... I'm nauseus just thinking about it. Probably a good thing my odds of finaling are VERY slim.

joye said...

i like all of your sayings. My favorites that i have tried to instill in my grandsons is PROFANITY IS VERBAL POVERTY. and Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
Have a happy holiday season with lots of time to read

sharon said...

I love this quote: Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

Definitely something to try to follow. In order to overcome challenges and fears it was necessary to put on a good front and become stronger in mind and body.

Anonymous said...

This quote says it best: Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear not absence of fear.

Sometimes we experience such difficulties with health and we need to hope that things will improve so that we can live a good quiality of life.

Lois said...

Oh me, I still want to be an astronaut. LOL So I'm a physics major. But alas, when I first uttered those words when I was 5 that I wanted to go into space, there wasn't the possibility of paying for a ticket to go. Now I just have to become really great friends with a billionaire. . .

Lois

catslady said...

I'm totally in awe with some of the stories I've heard today. Sometimes just making it through another day is all I can manage.

Rachael said...

Beautiful stories. I love that quote. Going to night to get my high school diploma was a big thing for me. I asked two of my friends to come with me to get theirs too, because I was too scared to go alone. We all graduated but that didn't open all the doors in life for us. I would like to go to college one day, so that would be a big deal for me. I would have to do that alone and I need to have the strength to do that. Another aspiration of mine is to become a writer. One day...

Rachael said...

I have an error in there. I meant to say Going to night school. Not going to night. LOL

Jeanette J said...

Trying to lose weight..that tiny little voice pipes up after the last of the chocolate bar is licked off my fingers

Carol said...

I wish I had the courage to make some changes in my life but as you get older it becomes harder and harder to do that so I just try to deal with things the best I can.

KimW said...

I recently had to find the courage to look for a job after being at the same company for over ten years. It was awful to have to go on interviews and talk about myself, but I had to do it. It took everything that I had in me. lol

I definitely think that publication will be a highlight of your journey. As long as you don't give up.

blueberri said...

I love these posts. Thanks for sharing, everyone! {{{HUGS!}}}

Angel said...

Oh my!!! I'm in awe of the awesome posts today. What a courageous and beautiful bunch of people!!!

I'd like to make one caveat, lest everyone think me on top of it all. Writing is the only area where I've found courage consistently. There have been several areas of my life that are daunting, including the desperate need to lose weight and suffering through infertility and 3 miscarriages.

My advice to those of you out there struggling: get through one day at a time. Sometimes that's all you can manage. And don't be afraid to reach out for help. It wasn't until after my last miscarriage that I got desperate enough to try therapy, but I'm so glad I did. There isn't a need to suffer alone and there are many counselors out there who offer sliding scale rates or pro bono work if money is an issue. Don't be ashamed to reach out for help when you need it!!!

Hugs to all of you today! May you be filled with enough quiet courage to make today a good one.

Angel

Amanda Ann said...

one of your "regulars" sent me over, Marilyn Shoemaker.

what other kinds of genre you write? only romance. I always wondered if a romance writer just one day decides to write a mystery book, would it be hard to change genres? or is it easy going back and forth?

Pat said...

Dont know if I am too late for this contest. But here I am anyway.

Happy Winter to all.