As a child I wrote stories. I’d scribble on sheets of notebook paper I would find around the house, scrawl drawings to match the stories as best as I could (which was not great; I got a D in art as a middle school student), and hunt down a stapler to staple all of the pages together. The story I remember most from that age is a little girl with no friends, finally finding one and going to Wendy’s to have Frosty’s together. Even as a child I wrote what I knew.
I wanted to be an author some day. But I grew up and childish dreams were replaced with a harsh reality. I don’t come from a family of dreamers. I come from people that work their ass off to make a living. Dreams were reckless, made for people who had money to see them come true. I needed something practical. I needed to be able to earn a living, to pay bills, and be a responsible and present adult in the world. So I went to college for practical. I made it through and much like the people before me, I earn a living. A very good one.
The funny thing that no one tells you about dreams is that they never truly die. They just lie dormant. You grow up, you do the things you are supposed to do, you pay bills, have children, move up in your career (maybe), and still it lies there. Unfertilized, never baring fruit.
At least, that is what happened with me. I stopped writing in all aspects. Even when I didn’t write stories, I still journaled. I even stopped doing that. There was no time. There were career goals to chase, children to raise, a family to love. But then, the dreams started.
I am a very vivid dreamer. Typically I can tell you what I dreamed about, who I saw, what was being done. Also, I never look like myself in my dreams. I don’t know why, ask my psyche. Anyway, for months, the same dream would come to me, over and over again. A dance instructor, falling in love with her student. It got to the point where I dreamed of nothing else. Still I let it sit for months. Stewing. Eventually I wrote it out. To this day, that story is half finished. I keep promising someone that I will finish, but I look at it and cringe. I am not a great writer, but that was my first step in my writing journey and lord is it ROUGH. I need to go ahead, go back, and start rewriting, but that isn’t where my heart is right now.
As soon as I pushed pages and pages of this story out, the dreams of that dance instructor faded and a new dream took its place. It was a black woman, a student, hurting and traumatized, wanting to reach out for bonds of friendship, but unsure of how to. The difference between this and the first story was I eagerly began writing after the second time I saw her. Also, as I wrote, the dream, her world expanded. I began to see beyond her. I saw her world, the life she wanted, the life she created for herself. I saw her future, her past, and her present, all in my dreams. So I wrote. I am still writing. There are so many pages of her and her story in my files. I’ve shared part of her journey and it has resonated with people. Not just her, however. I’ve had people reach out, excited to see themselves in the people of my story. I did that. Me.
I submitted her initial story to a publisher and here we are. Cleaning and polishing everything up to show you her journey. As a result, stories I didn’t even know existed in my brain have been pouring out. I’ve flooded pages with word after word from a world that didn’t exist until I put (metaphorical) pen to paper.
Becoming an Author
Seeing my childhood dreams come to fruition after many years is a startling thing. It’s also nothing like I ever imagined. Initially, this is how I thought it would work:
Instead it is a ton of hard work. Every single day it is something new. I am learning how to interact with my audience as well as bring new readers in. I had to quickly learn a little bit about graphic arts, which, may I remind you, ya girl can’t draw or do art to save her life. It isn’t just writing as I envisioned as a child. It’s promotion, promoting yourself, making connections, growing your audience, managing deadlines, creating opportunities to talk about yourself and what you are trying to share, getting everyone else hyped for it in the ways that you know how, as well as learning news ways to do so.
I do this every single day along with an actual 9-5 job, raising a family, and trying to have time for my hobbies, such as Monsta X.
It’s exhausting, but, do you know what? That dream that lay dormant for so long? It’s topside now. It’s growing strong and healthy. It’s gazing at me for the first time in a long time with hope in its eyes. “You know what you have to do Lisette. You know what needs to be done to make it work,” it whispers to me constantly. When I am tired of editing, when I don’t want to look up another grammatical practice, when I’ve wrestled with the website for hours, only to forget what the hell it was I was trying to do, it is in my ear, whispering constantly, reminding me of that story that is now tattered and yellowed, I wrote on notebook paper at age seven and pinned proudly to my wall. I close my eyes, sigh, and grab onto another rung, pulling myself along, doing what needs to be done so I can share the world in my head with the actual real world.
No woman is an island and while I have the dream whispering to me, I also have quite a few people in my cheering section that have rooted for me since I dropped the first chapter of the initial fiction that I have yet to finish. I will always be forever grateful to them as well, because without them, I would have never taken the steps needed to send my work into publishers. Having someone believe in you is a hell of a drug.
So I am taking each and every thing I learn and treating it as an adventure. It’s a wild ride and I am holding on for dear life and taking every bit of it in. Make sure you join along with me, okay?