While it is completely awesome that the undeniably talented Elise Parsley was able to land a full-on book deal within a few days of emailing a query, I am slightly bothered by this recent -- and popular -- headline. Not because I am jealous. Not because I don't think she deserved it (she does). I am bothered because I fear it will reinforce the already unrealistic ideas writers and illustrators have about being published.
Rather than hearing/reading about another seemingly effortless success story...
I want to hear about the hard work behind the story.I don't know Elise Parsley, but I don't think I'd be wrong in assuming that her success was earned with hard work and time. I want to hear about how many books she wrote before finally finding her voice. I want to know how long she's been honing her (truly) fantastic illustration skills. I want to hear about the uncertainty so many of us face at some point in the process and how she pushed forward anyway.
I know those things must be there.
So why do we just skip over all of it to have yet another sensational Cinderella-type story? It seems like a disservice to the author's efforts.
Maybe after so many years of being told to reach for our dreams we have become way too focused on said "Dream" and subsequently blinded to the often uphill, bumpy path to it. It's important to not only remember that path but to not get discouraged by it.
In other words, don't give up because things weren't handed to you, be proud of your hard work and know you are not alone no matter what the headlines read.
For a beautiful example of how hard work -- or as he calls it "pounding the pavement" -- paid off, check out James Dashner's (The Maze Runner), "How I Got Here" story.