I was recently having a conversation with one of my sisters. We're both moms of young kids, but we've been talking about starting up a serious study of the classics together. She mentioned how discouraged she gets when she tries to start reading a book, but can only get a page or two finished before her attention is called away to attend to more pressing matters. I completely understand where she's coming from, having been there myself. But I also shared something with her that got me through and continues to get me through those frustrating times.
When I was about five years into writing Cobbogoth, I still hadn't published, nor was I ready to. There were so many times I wondered if I was making any progress at all. I was only taking baby steps at first--the first five years of my son's life my diligent attempts to accomplish my goal to become an author were minuscule, to say the least. But having been a goal oriented person my whole life, I knew that if I didn't at least do something, I'd regret it. So I kept at it, as frustrating as it seemed sometimes.
When I reached that five year mark, however, I was surprised that I wasn't more discouraged, even though I hadn't reached my goal yet. That was because it was the first time I was able to look back and actually see how far I'd come since starting. I'd written at least seven working drafts of Cobbogoth, each one falling short of the story I wanted to tell, but teaching me such important writing lessons that eventually led me to finally writing the draft that became what Uncovering Cobbogoth is today--something that I'm very proud of.
Last year I applied this same life lesson to another goal I'd had for a long time. I started teaching myself to play the guitar in March and by August I was writing my own music. All I did was make sure I played at least a little bit each day.
Today, almost to the day, it's been nine years since I seriously started creating the world of Cobbogoth. Since self-publishing in 2011, and then getting picked up by Cedar Fort last year, I've learned SO MUCH!!! I know myself better as a writer, as an individual, and as a mother. I'm more confident in my ability to listen to and trust my instincts as a storyteller. I'm much better at weeding through criticism to find the stuff that will truly make my story better, and have no qualms tossing all of the rest. I'm halfway through the final edit of my second book, and half way through the first draft of another. I also have two more books outlined, and half a dozen other story ideas waiting for me to get to them. AND, I've had some incredible experiences and met some amazing people, all of which, I would've never encountered had I not become an author.
Sitting here and looking back over the last nine years, I can't tell you how grateful I am that I started where I was, and never gave up. Especially during the times where my circumstances only allowed me to take baby steps--which was almost always--because, regardless of their size, each step was moving me closer to my goal.
We all have goals, and we all have busy lives, and it's so easy to let those busy lives stop us from accomplishing our goals. We tell ourselves that as soon as [insert crazy event happening in your life right now] is over, then I'll start working on that thing I've wanted to do or become since I was ten. I say, why put off till tomorrow, what you can start taking baby steps toward today. It doesn't have to be a lot, just do something every day. One day all of those baby steps are going to add up to the sum of something truly amazing--something that will never happen if you never start.