Today, I’m thrilled to host a blog post from Bonnie J. James. Her creativity and positive energy has inspired me on countless occasions. Recently, she completed and published her first novel, Just Breathe. I am so excited for her and I love seeing her book on my shelf.
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I’d like to say a quick Thank You to C.B. for letting me be a guest on her blog today. C.B. has been an inspiration to me for years and I’m very honored to be here!
Hello everyone! My name is Bonnie J. James and I am a writer.
It has taken me quite a few years to introduce myself like this. I’ve used all sorts of other titles with ease, such as stay-at-home mom, teacher, secretary, and student. Even last year when I was in the middle of writing a novel, I would offer a title like homemaker or volunteer. Never, ever would I tell someone that I was a writer!
Why? Because then I’d have to explain what I’d written! Which was, well, a half of a manuscript. (Plus a completed novel that was really good practice but something I knew I’d never want to show anyone). Plus all of my blogging and journaling and… and… and. You get it. Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about – you feel it first-hand.
Like some of you, I’ve always loved to write. It’s a part of who I am. But I never felt like I had a right to give myself the title of “writer” until I had actually published something. (This is all nonsense, I hope you know. If you love to write, then you are a writer!) For quite a few years I wondered if I couldn’t just try to make this passion of mine into a career. But what a scary thought!
I sat on this idea for a long time. There were lots of excuses why I couldn’t be a writer – not enough time, I already had a job, my family was priority… the list goes on. There were also the endless digs from my inner critic, including “you don’t write well enough, you aren’t smart enough, there are so many others way more talented than you…” Sound familiar? But in the summer of 2011, an even stronger thought settled into my mind and heart and it wouldn’t go away. It whispered to me over and over… If you never try, you’ll never know. And at the same time, I came across this quote from Kelly Rae Roberts:
“Pretend until you’re no longer pretending.”
As writers, we are very good at pretending. When we write fiction we create entire stories and new worlds based on this. We can sit for hours in our make-believe land, talking with our made-up characters. It’s a happy place for us! So couldn’t I just try to pretend I was a writer, just to see what would happen?
When I decided to give it a go, it actually became quite fun! I dreamed up my perfect writing life. What would my typical writing day and schedule be like? When would I write, when would I network, when would I market my books? How would I balance my writing life with my busy family life, where would I travel for research? How would I feel when I saw my book in the library and bookstore? What story would I write next, what book would I release after that? The pretending was so fun that I would get blissfully lost in it!
And you guys, what still amazes me today is that while I was dreaming and pretending, I was steadily working toward the dreams. I was motivated and excited, and somewhere along the way the lines of what was pretend and what was real began to blur. Suddenly I found myself doing what I had only been dreaming of before. I had a writing schedule. I finished my novel. I found an editor. I found a publisher! Was this really happening? I found my books in the library, on Amazon, on bookstore shelves, and wow the feeling was even better than I’d imagined! It truly unfolded in front of me when I had the guts to believe that dreams can come true. I am so very grateful to the me from a few years ago, the me that decided to just pretend, just imagine, just try.
What about you? Are you ready to pretend? To dream? To try? Perhaps you’re already doing this – and isn’t it fun?! And if you’re not, why not give it a whirl? Let yourself dream it, feel it, believe it. Pretend until you’re no longer pretending. I promise you’ll be so glad that you did.
Bonnie J. James is a writer, an artist, a wife and mother. Her debut novel, Just Breathe, was released in September and is available through your favorite bookseller. Currently, Bonnie is “pretending” her way through a new career as an author and is working on her second book, coming in 2013. Visit bonniejjames.com for book information and to visit her blog.