Dear Creative one,
You are in my thoughts as I can't bear the idea you may be thwarted by 'someone' in your creative endeavours!
This happened the other day... As I scoped out a bookstore for a book launch (planned for the following day) the store owner scoffed at my plans (I had activities for children, including a dress-up box) and he was obviously not enamoured with my enthusiasm and my big smile. I was so excited at the opportunity of launching my book upon the world, of seeing children with copies in their hands, hoping it would be snapped up as a gift. True, we hadn't met before. I had made a cold-call to set up a store visit, starting what would be a national roll-out of my latest children's book. Here we were meeting for the first time and he told me to tone down any plans I had. It was to be a ‘casual event’ and they had a ‘real author (aka 'well-know)’ coming in later that week, and to remember, ‘I wasn’t JK Rowling, so don’t expect too much'.
I still held my smile, but I am sure my eyes dampened a tad for a moment. The game-changer was his assistant was standing beside him, with a look of sympathy look on her face that said to me, ‘don’t take it personally, he is like that to everyone.’ I could have hugged her. Whilst I didn't flee, I did take it to heart though.
In a way, he was right.
Yet conversely, everything within me screamed 'you are SO WRONG!'.
I reminded myself fame and fortune are measurable only AFTER the event. JK spend hours, years, trying to get attention to her manuscript. Beckham spent years and years practicing, training, working his way through the levels of teams as his skills warranted participation. Think of any musician and you know his or her parents endured those painful years of having someone learning an instrument at home before they performed in their national orchestra… I know you are following my thought process.
As for me, well I am an aspiring, and an emerging, and an established author. Depending on what angle you look at my world, I am at any and all stages. Aspiring because I really want to create more and I love the process. Emerging because it is only in small pockets of the world, like my home-town, that I am called upon regularly as ‘the book lady’. Anywhere else and you would say 'Emma who?'. Established because I can talk myself up and impress you, having won multiple awards in overseas literary awards, published over 10 books (a handful of children’s books, a text book, a cook book and more) in a 15 year career, I am a regular guest on ABC Southern Queensland Radio talking all about books, and I wander around the country doing guest workshops where children are in crisis. My days are busy, completely fulfilled and I actually generate a meagre income.
Sure, I am a possible ‘nobody’, an 'unknown', but that doesn't mean I should change my expectations, for I might be a nobody, but I have a heart and a soul and a passion for what I do, and in my mind, that makes me a ‘somebody’.
It is believing in yourself, believing you are truly 'somebody', then adversity becomes an exciting challenge. When I was told my voice is too loud, it emboldened me to use it to bring attention to the fact that we aren’t reading to our children regularly. When I was told there is no way my business model will ever succeed, I kept wrangling and finessing it until it did. And now, when I am told I am not ‘JK Rowling’ and to reduce my expectations, I wear my enthusiasm and smile with pride and I promise to give the one person who may come to the book launch my full attention and make them feel like the most important person in the world... simply because I believe they are somebody and it for them I create.
PS.If you would like some help creating your own children's picture book, CLICK HERE.