Before I talk about my main topic, I want to mention that, as I sit in the living room looking out the window, I see a bright blue sky. The temperature promises to rise above 50 today. That means all evidence of last week's snow storm will soon be melting away, leaving what I would once have thought was depressingly brown bare ground, but I find myself somewhat surprised by just how much joy it now brings me. As I get older, sunny days mean more and more.
And now for our feature presentation...
I just got my beloved Mustang, Ellie, back from the garage, where she finally got a new top. I'd had the back window taped in for the better part of a year. While the tape kept the window from falling all the way out, it was not as effective as I would have liked in being waterproof. And when I went and picked her up, I was really shocked by how dull and lifeless the original top had gotten. The new top made the whole car look new. I almost felt like she ran a little better afterward, like she was as excited about her restoration as I was.
You may be wondering what this has to do with a blog about writing. Well, pretty much everything. How did I save up enough money to pay for it? Frankly, it was partly by living rent-free with my parents for the last few months. But rent-free doesn't mean expense free. I still have a house payment; I just don't happen to live in the house I'm paying for. The main reason is that, though I'm not yet making enough money to quit my day job, I am ecstatic that I'm doing more than just breaking even as a writer. The income is only slightly more than the outgo, but it's more. And that's something for which to be deeply thankful.
I read something on Pinterest recently that I liked. For reasons I can't explain, I didn't bother to pin it, so I can't quote it directly, but it essentially said that people don't want to hear writers complain about how hard writing is and that, unless we are writing about how we escaped from a prison camp or a gulag or something, we should be thankful and stop bellyaching. It really hit me. I may not be on any bestseller lists. Heck, I'm barely on a selling list. But I am doing something that I love, and that's not insignificant. Sure it's hard sometimes, but the hard is, in many ways, what makes it so great. Being able to do it despite how hard it is, is something to celebrate.
There are few times in my life when I have felt a greater sense of joy and accomplishment than the day I sold my first book. In fact, I'd say there have been a grand total of three up until then in my entire life of 51 years so far: when I found out I became a National Board Certified Teacher, when I was the recipient of the Milken National Educator Award, and when I got my master's degree. All of those times were for my day job. The exaltation of becoming a published author was a whole different feeling, though. I've been a teacher for a long time, long enough to become confident that I'm pretty good at it. I've hoped to be a writer for an even longer time, but only recently has that come to fruition, and while I have definitely not been doing it long enough to be convinced I'm good at it (I may never get to that point), when that first book sold, the possibility of becoming an actual professional writer went from pipe dream to actual possibility.
Who could complain about that? Well, I guess I could--but who wants to hear that?