This past Sunday I happened to stroll into one of the Barnes & Nobles in my area in search of a new read. I’m kind of addicted to reading young adult literature, hence the whole writing for young adults thing I have going for me, so I found myself standing in the YA section thumbing through the glorious hardcover new releases. Then my eyes panned down to another shelf…and I saw it. My novel. NO SAD SONGS. Sitting right there on the shelf above an entire collection of Walter Dean Myers books. It was face out. Featured on the shelf. And my heart dropped to the floor and then immediately rose back up into my throat. It was a dream come true. The culmination of many years of hard work and waiting and faith in myself. It was the end of a loop that began in high school as I roamed the rows of books at B&N as a bookseller, with my stupid green name tag hanging down off of my neck and a dream in my brain that one day I’d too have a novel sitting on the shelves next to all of my literary heroes. Well, it has finally happened and it feels even better than I thought it would have all those years ago.
If you’re just getting into this writing thing and finding it hard to break through. If it feels like you’ll never get an editor or agent or journal to read a single word of your work. If you sometimes feel like you want to give up and just get a stupid job in a cubicle and wait for your 401(k) reports to land in your mailbox each month so you can measure your worth. Do not lose hope. Do not stop writing. It will happen for you if you just keep your butt in the chair and your pencil scraping across the page. I promise.