A letter of encouragement to myself
I know in the past we've had a difference of opinion on this whole writing thing. We both agree it's important, but you're wondering whether you're good enough. Is it worth making goals or promises?
Seven years ago, your teacher smiled and handed back that story with an 'A' at the top. You felt a glimmer of something. Hope? Possibility? Maybe writing was for you after all.
Remember how it felt, sitting in the attic of your Aunt's house in Seattle, staring out the window and imagining far away worlds. Children fought for their lives, working together as the world around them crumbled. You had so much fun, telling her your ideas in the car on the way to the supermarket—seeing her face light up with interest as you spoke. You got addicted.
Your friend with the nut-brown skin and stunning white smile fed that addiction. She'd listen for hours on end as you built the world you've come to love. Remember the way she'd interview your characters and gossip with you about every aspect of their lives. She taught you to treat them with respect.
How about the boy with the flaming hair and freckles on his nose. He printed out and read your first draft, painstakingly underlining mistakes and squeezing notes into the margins until you were convinced there was nothing worth keeping in the whole novel. He loved you. He still does.
His friend—the smiling boy with a goatee and a head full of 'fun facts'—would meet you at the library every week. You'd spend hours together cataloging every detail of that ever-growing world. Remember the tree-squid and the gallows worm? The way he'd turn up with that tiny notebook packed full of thoughts he'd saved up, just for you?
How about the girl you worked with at the cinema, who tells everyone to read your book, or your sister-in-law, who got her entire American family addicted—and her niece? She tried to convince the school library they needed a copy.
What about your Dad, who still cries in the sad bits, and your Mum, who reads every new draft, word for word, her time the purest expression of how much she cares.
Then there's your fiance. He's not a reader, but he read it when you asked. He's there when you need to hammer out a fight scene, or construct an alien system of government. He stands up for you when his parents say you should get a proper job. He supports you while you throw yourself at a mad, barely attainable dream.
Look around. See their faces. Hold them in your heart and have the courage to leap. This is the year when everything changes.
Love and best wishes,