Everybody, no matter what they do, needs a few tidbits to pull out and examine on a rainy day. What keeps you going when the going gets tough? When you feel like nothing is working, and you inevitably reach the point where you question whether or not it’s all worth it, what do you do? How do you move forward?
When I was teaching, I’d go back to a few specific emails I’d squirreled away in my “Warm Fuzzies” folder. For every student who hated my guts because I was holding them to a high standard and they didn’t see the point of me or my course, there was another who felt I was helping them to become a better student and opening their minds to a broader world. Re-reading those latter students’ messages kept me sane, on track, and off the emotional scrap heap.
Today I’ve had what I hope is the first of many such warm fuzzies as an author.
My church is part of a liberal faith tradition (Unitarian Universalist). Last fall, I submitted my first short story to our annual literary journal; it was accepted and has been published. During coffee hour at church this morning, someone actually sought me out and proceeded to tell me how much she liked “the tree story.”
On those awful days when I think what I’m writing must be utter crap, and no one but close friends and family will ever pick up the book I’m writing (and then, only out of obligation), having a memory like that on which to draw will be invaluable. I can do it. The world I’m building does appeal to more than just me. And maybe – just maybe – some day I can have another of those moments with someone I’ve never met except in the pages of my book.
Isn’t that thought just a ray of sunshine?