When I was 12 years old I wrote my very first list. It was filled with things I wanted to do when I ‘grew up’. It was filled with places I wanted to visit. New York, Italy, France, China, Ireland…the list went on and on. I loved listing these dreams and goals. The way they looked on a sheet of paper made it feel like I was halfway there. I couldn’t wait to grow up. I felt like nothing would ever happen to me if I stayed in Puerto Rico. I have a complicated relationship with that little island. Love and hate…I guess. I love some of the traditions and cultural aspects of it. But I didn’t enjoy the town I grew up in, I was bullied in school, there wasn’t a bookstore or a library I could go to, My brother and I spent a lot of time at home…alone with nothing to do, nowhere to go unless it was to move the cow from one side of the field to the other so it would have fresh grass. So yeah….Puerto Rico wasn’t exactly a paradise for me. It looks really pretty in pictures though. But living there was not fun for me.
Anyway five years after I wrote that list my family and I moved to Delaware. It was a bit of a culture shock because coming from a farm in Puerto Rico where there was NOTHING to do and all of a sudden everything and anything was possible. Holy crap there was a library I could go to? And then I found Borders. Books everywhere. Books wall to wall. I’m pretty sure I cried.
Going to school to be a writer wasn’t an option for me (but I did go to Del Tech to get an associates degree in Human Services…never finished). But then I wandered to the reference section and discovered the writing books. My jaw dropped. There were books that could TEACH me how to write novel? This was the first book I bought.
Another step toward making my dream come true. It was a lot of work. There were things I didn’t know. I took a technical writing class once and the teacher asked me to drop out of his class because I was so god-awful. LOL I didn’t know what an indentation was, I didn’t know how to use the tab key. I seriously wish I were joking. I wanted to be a writer so badly, and I felt like this was a sign that maybe I should just take a step back from my dream. So I dropped his class…but not my dream. I decided that the only sign should come from God and maybe have some skywriting involved. A message written in the clouds saying ‘Liz, don’t be a writer…be something else.’ LOL Lucky for me, I just went to Borders and bought another book on writing and learned even more. And I’m still learning. I’m still trying to be a better writer. I still buy writing books and magazines.
I published my first novel when I was 21 years old. God, that was ten years ago. And it was a terribly written book. But I learned about the publishing industry and made lots of friends (some that I still have to this day). What is the point of this blog post? That you can have a dream, but you need to have work ethic, guts and persistence in order to make it happen. Some luck may be involved but if you don’t believe in yourself then why should anyone else. You have to be your biggest cheerleader and that’s what I do everyday. Even when I don’t feel like writing or promoting my book (trust me, it does happen) I try to do just a tiny little bit because I keep thinking of that little girl I used to be. Who had big dreams, who didn’t think they would come true, who didn’t think anything remotely interesting would ever happen in her life, I want to show her that dreams can come true. I know somewhere in the back of my mind, spirit and soul, that little girl is somewhere smiling.