Working for a Change

A long time ago, way before I started this blog, I wrote my first book. It’s a picture book about a little girl and her grandpa. I think it actually started as a rhyming poem, but I’d be hard pressed to find the original idea in my piles of papers around here. Since then it’s been revised quite a few times. It started out it in third person; then I switched it to first. I wrote in past tense, then switched it to present. Then, four years ago, I sent it out to a publisher. Two months later I got my first rejection letter. Well, it was actually more of a note, but it was not handwritten. I was not what you’d call devastated, but I guess since I haven’t done anything with it since then, I didn’t handle it all that well.

I’ve read about authors who keep rejection slips in a box or maybe nail them to the wall and somehow motivate themselves to keep on trying. Well, I’m not an author yet, but I can tell you this much, my skin will never be that thick. I can’t imagine facing a “no” time and time again. I don’t handle criticism, of any kind, very well, and the thought of sharing one of my creations with someone usually terrifies me. Since I was a teenager, there's only been a handful of people I’ve trusted enough to let read the things I really care about.

How can I say that and still have this blog where I share lots of personal thoughts? Well, I don’t know exactly. I guess it’s because I’ve only ever gotten positive feedback here and mostly people don’t say much at all. And it’s just not the same as asking someone for critique, or to like your stuff enough to try and publish or even sell it for you. You see I have these trust issues and in the past I’ve struggle with whether or not anyone really likes me. So, I guess I’ve developed quite a fear of vulnerability over the years. I mean it’s one thing to say “I made this for me,” and quite another to say “I made this for you.”

But here’s the thing, the reason behind this post…Last night at my kids’ piano recital I wore skinny jeans. Tucked into funky boots. And a bright blue top with a belt. On the outside of my shirt! I got home and looked in the mirror and thought to myself, “I might be a little more confident than I used to be.” Which got me thinking even more, about what could make me change like that. And I’ve decided it’s my new job. There, I said it. I’ve even had a couple of people tell me to my face that I seem happier these last couple of months.

Honestly, that kinda freaks me out. Like I was some miserable person before. Like I somehow shortchanged my  kids and family these past 13 years by taking on a role I was so ill-equipped for – that of a stay-at-home-mom. But oh, well. What can I do about any of that now? I actually think that some blend of work and stay would be the perfect combo for me, but we’re not living in a perfect world, so I’ll have to make do with what I’ve got.

All that to say that I’m thinking…I’m considering…putting myself out there again. And more often. I mean what have I got to lose anyway? It’s not like anyone can take being a “published author” away from me. I don’t have it to begin with. I’m just thinking maybe I’ll try it on, you know?  And maybe, just maybe, changing my outlook, (or even my look) will be a good thing.  


Sherry said...

I don't think these last 13 years shortchanged your kids at all. I think it was a great sacrifice you made for them and they will be grateful you did that for them. We are never perfect and we never make perfect choices. We can only strive to make the best choices we can with the information we have at the time. And then hopefully not beat ourselves up when things don't go as we planned!

I love you and I think you're a great mom!!!

Janna Barber said...

Thanks, Sherry. The feeling is mutual. Not beating yourself up when things don't go as planned is GREAT advice. Thanks for stopping by!

A. Whipple said...

I beg to differ on multiple fronts, but the short version is this: You are a published author.

Once a Marine, always a Marine.

Karen Allen said...

You have inspired a writers group in Croton NY that is considering starting a blog. Thank you. dear PA -published author :)