Back in May of 2015, I finished something that was a lifetime in the making. I published my first novel. I had been writing/re-writing for just over a year, but it’s been a wish of mine to write since I held my first book as a child.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m a perfectionist. I’m the woman whose house is always clean and in order. I’m the wife who wakes up early to make a lunch for my husband. I’m the mom who stresses over every little thing I say and do to my kids.
Being a perfectionist is the one thing I truly hate about myself. I’ve spent the last few years trying to break free from its snare. My husband and kids all try to get me to relax more, and while I take it easy more than I used to, I’m still a work in progress.
Back to my first published novel. I wrote, I rewrote. I proofread, then read it backwards, sentence by sentence, looking for mistakes. Then I read it a couple more times.
When I was sure it was good, I loaded it into Amazon, hit publish, and gave myself a huge pat on the back.
I did it!! I finished!!
The reviews started coming in—one here, another there—four and five star reviews. I was stoked. Then a dear friend of mine reviewed the book. It was a nice review, a kind review, a four star review, but it contained those words that chilled me to my very core—“there are a few mistakes.” She later e-mailed me and encouraged me to get a proofreader.
I was HORRIFIED. My first thought was to pull my book off the internet, burn the pages, and hide from the world. But thankfully, I’ve grown up over the last few years and have learned that we are human. We make mistakes. It’s a part of life. What matters most is what we do next.
So I cut myself a slice of humble pie, found a proofreader, and tried again. It’s scary, and to be honest, embarrassing. But it’s life.
The point is, we ALL have something like this in our lives. We all get knocked down from time to time, and sometimes, we stay down for awhile. Some of us have been knocked down so many times that we feel like we don’t have the strength to get back up. It’s then that we need to work extra hard. It’s in those moments that we find out how far we can go, what we can come back from.
It doesn’t matter how many times we’re knocked down. It doesn’t matter how long we stay down, as long as we get back up. No one finds personal satisfaction without failing at some point.
I’m so thankful that my friend encouraged me to not give up. I love writing too much to let go. And maybe this time, the pie I’ll eat will be apple.
So whether you’re riding high on success or struggling in a valley so dark you can’t see the light of day, I encourage you to remember that we’re all human, that we all make mistakes, and one of the most important things we can do is come alongside one another to help each other get back up.
By day, Elora is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys reading, running and exploring Southern California with her family. By night, she is a super hero (or maybe villain), doing good (and maybe a bit of evil) in the worlds of her imagination. You can usually find her with a cup of coffee and a book in hand. And while she enjoys baking the occasional goodie, you generally will not find her cooking, as she finds it a chore.
Redemption is her first novel. She has a few more in the works.