A Way, When There Seems To Be No Way
Have you ever put time into something and as time past, felt that you were spinning your wheels or grinding your gears trying to make something happen? I have! You see, my writing career didn’t start yesterday, I didn’t wake up this morning and just sell 1,000 copies of Barney & Lexi: Lost In Lawrenceville. I wasn’t traveling to schools in the early stages of my career either, in fact, I can’t begin to count how many times I felt like I was spinning my wheels with opportunity and there were a few times that I really felt like my gears were grinding for sure!
My career as a writer began in 2003, when Lynden was born. I would get up with him throughout the night and once he began to have a fairly regular pattern of sleeping, I began spending the time in between his waking up, writing my first book, The Adventures of Marky, Slash & Levy. Those moments were usually very late at night, by myself in a room with only a desk lamp on and just plugging away at my keyboard. No one knew what I was doing, no one outside Lawrence County knew my name or even knew I was a writer.
In those years that followed, I wondered if I would ever make it happen. Would my work ever be read by young readers? Would I ever do a book signing? Would I ever get a big break? All three answers are YES! Although I had no idea in those early days. I have sold over 1,000 books this year, done dozens of signings and my big break will come on September 14th when I travel to Chicago and speak to the largest children’s literary group in the United States.
Sometimes, I get told that I’m ‘just lucky’, or that ‘success just happens overnight’. I actually don’t believe in luck in the manner that it is viewed today. I believe that luck is the moment that preparedness meets opportunity. I also believe that success is no ‘overnight’ thing. I thought about quitting a few times and sometimes, had to walk away from my desk for a few months to take everything in and find clarity. Then it was right back to it, because I knew what I really wanted and had to see it through.
For years, I felt like I had little money, few connections and even less opportunity. For years I had no Facebook page, and then I finally created one and only used that to connect with others for the next ten years. I look back now and see that I had so many outlets but let fear keep me from using them. Then, one day, I looked in the mirror and told myself, “There will be doubters, you will be laughed at, mocked and ignored. Levi, your going to fail and that’s alright because you will learn and grow stronger. Carry those fears right into battle and watch them disappear!” I remember that day well.
I sat down and began learning Social Media. I began with no media and now use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to put my passion out there. This has given me so much back and while I could spend the time wishing I had done that sooner, I won’t waste my time with the past. I’m heading forward and refuse to look back.
I feel like it is a perfect time to retell the story of the Japanese Bambo Tree. The Japanese Bambo Tree remains a nut underground for five years. During that time, it must be watered and fertilized daily to survive or it will die. For five years, there will be no results (much like when we feel we are spinning our wheels and grinding gears). Then, something big happens and the tree sprouts through the surface and will grow 90 feet in one year! It took five years to actually grow that 90 feet though. It may have only seemed like a buried nut but during that time underground, that nut was earning its right to live and grow.
You may be sitting right now and wondering what else you can do to keep moving towards your dream. One thing for sure is to keep doing what your doing if it is yielding any type of result. If it isn’t, can you change anything about it to help it grow? Are you using Social Media to your advantage? Are you letting fear keep you from one avenue or another? Look in the mirror and tell yourself that regardless of any outcome, YOUR GOING TO MAKE IT, and the doors will open up as you press forward. I can’t explain it but the harder I push, the more doors that open for me, something I doubted years ago. Never doubt that there is a way, when there seems to be no way!
“Everything is IMPOSSIBLE, until someone crazy enough comes along and makes it POSSIBLE!”
– CT Fletcher