July 4 has always had special significance for me.
First, it’s close enough to my birthday that Independence Day fireworks can double as birthday fun (and, really, who doesn’t like a pyrotechnic birthday?). More importantly, I value the freedoms my country offers. I have the right to speak my mind, to believe what I choose to believe, and to pursue the dreams of my heart. Not all people have these rights, and I am grateful for them (and for the men and women whose courage under fire both earned and protect those rights – I thank them for their bravery and their service).
And so, as I face this final Independence Day before the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, I’m taking a moment or two to declare a special kind of freedom and independence. From this day forward:
I am independent from the fear that neither I, nor my writing, are “good enough.” I will trust the process, improve as I write, and offer the very best stories I can to the world. I will take confidence in the knowledge that I am both teacher and student, and will remain both as long as I continue to write.
I am free from factionalism and petty jealousies. I will support other authors, published and unpublished. I will trust that they …not I … are the best ones to determine the course of their writing careers, and I will support their decisions for themselves and their writing even if I might have made a different choice.
I approach publication with joy and gratitude, despite the nerves that accompany the process. I will not forget that this is a dream come true … and that I am one of the lucky ones. I will remember that thousands of people would gladly take my place, and minor complaints about publication status (even if legitimate in my own eyes) qualify only as “first world problems” in the eyes of those still struggling to see their names and work in print.
I will remember that humility – not selfish pride – is the mark of a valuable human being. No matter how big or how small a book may be, no matter how well or how poorly it sells, every author is a human being first and should remember to be humble, kind, and generous with others.
I declare my independence from crippling fear, my eagerness to continue in the fellowship of authors, my intention to welcome others into that fellowship at every opportunity, and my unbridled joy in this dream made real.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
What do you have to declare today?