Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.
-Mary Lou Cook
I wrote a children’s book in the summer of 2016. It ignited a fire of creativity in my soul. I remember a day or two after writing the story, I stayed up way too late researching publishers and publishing houses, convinced that this would be my big break. The bestseller that would change my life forever.
It’s not a bestseller (yet) but it has changed my life.
Sometimes, it’s easier to talk about the creative process in retrospect, as opposed to while you are still knee-deep in the process. I feel that it is that way because we need time to become aware of what is happening and integrate the lessons we are being shown and taught.
See, for as long as I can remember, I was chasing success. I wanted to have the romanticized version of success: big bank account, prestigious corporate job, perfect body, enviable wardrobe, fancy car … you know, the whole package.
It seems as though most things I went after were specific means to achieve the end of success, as defined by society (not by me). Money was also a driving force in this definition of success. I mean, if you are rich, you are happy, right?
And, I was chasing “happy”.
Back to the book. This book was going to be my meal ticket, my VIP, all-access pass to success. I remember the day I received a package in the mail from England (OMG, ENGLAND!) from a ‘publisher’. My heart soared! This is happening! I could see the fame and fortune!
I read the materials inside and my heart sank.
“It’s going to cost me how much to get my book published?” I couldn’t hide the anger and frustration, it was all over my face and heart. It was my first experience with what some people refer to as “vanity publishers”. A vanity publisher is a hybrid between self-publishing and a publishing house. In short, they provide you their expertise and help you get your book published and you pay for those services. In some ways, it’s a beautiful offering, but it just didn’t feel right to me. And at the time, I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.
I was disappointed and heart-broken.
And, I quickly convinced myself that I was being taken advantage of and became almost angry at my book and my dreams. I remember thinking, “why am I given this dream, this idea, only to be mocked and made to feel like this?!” It really felt terrible. And, it made me turn away from my children’s story for a little bit.
Looking back through the lens of time, I experienced all of that to help me (re)define my definition of success in general, and around this creative venture specifically.
There’s so much more to this beautiful story and I can’t wait to share it with you!