About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I’d like to thank the Academy…

 In theme with this entry, I’d like to first thank my critique partner, Sarah Allan, for stressing the importance of blogging and doing it regularly.  And for lovingly giving me a nudge to talk to people.  I need it.   

 And now to get the show started.  This last week I had the privilege of attending The Romance Writers of America’s 31st Annual conference.  To define for those who aren’t familiar, it’s an event where 2000 plus romance authors from all over the US meet up in one location to network with editors and agents while they attend workshops on writing.  It’s not just a thrilling time, but an excellent opportunity to get your name out there, meet other accomplished writers, fan girl squee at all your favorite published authors as well as learn more about the overall structure of the industry. 

 This year’s conference was held in New York City, which is a really big deal because a majority of all the major publishing houses have headquarters there and representatives from each were in attendance. The air practically crackled with authority and excitement.

 Basically, all the people that have the power to get type off the computer screen and into the hands of romance readers around the world where under one roof.  Presumably on one floor at some point.  Talk about opportunity knocks.   Opportunity could knock you out with that much publishing clout.  o_O

And while this could feel like a lot of pressure, there is rarely any intimidation with the RWA.  The goal of the organization is to support and guide aspiring romance writers.  And as with any prominent organized group, the RWA holds an annual awards ceremony for books and manuscripts that are deemed the year’s best work.  Kind of like the Academy Awards of literary amour. 

And the prize?  The Oscar for fabulous romantic fiction?

(Drumroll please…*fingers thumping*) This lady right here—the RITA©.

  The final evening of the conference is dedicated to the celebration of Golden Heart© (best manuscript) and RITA© (best book in print) recipients.  And besides giving us all a reason to relive prom night (and my dress was phenomenal by the way), the ceremony is primarily a forum for moving speeches.

 And while I listened, the words spoken as each award was accepted settled in my mind.  The winners thanked their husbands for being the inspiration behind their heroes, showed heartfelt appreciation to their critique partners and the members of their family.  Many had survived really horrible experiences in the last year including deaths, legal fears and other challenging obstacles that would of—could of—stopped them from standing on that stage, but didn’t.

 Images of all the people who’ve been pivotal in enabling me to write flashed in my head as I watched:  My mother, my sister, Sarah, the administrators at the website I started with….  I realized that those faces were the reason I was there. They are the people, that with their support, put me in that chair.  I'm a member of a prestigious writing community because of them and their generosity.

 This got me thinking about gratitude.

 There’s a principle in creative visualization that states that’s thankfulness is at the heart of all success.  It says that if you dream of something, you must put out a mental “purchase order” for it and then the universe will then take the steps to bring the dream to you, but you must be positive and grateful for the gift. 

 You also have to believe that you deserve to have what you want.  Fear and control put static in the communication of purchase orders and the attainment of dreams.

 For example, let’s say that you’re single and you want to meet the perfect man for you.  In your mind you must pretend like he’s already there.  Imagine how he makes you feel and all the things that he does to make you feel special (I’m talking about the PDA nuances here, people—save the bedroom scenes for the page unless that’s really important to you. Lol).  By imaging that it's already yours, you’ve created the purchase order in your mind.  Once that’s done, you can then let go of the thought and be thankful that you’re going to be given what you want.

I’ve practiced this concept before (with little things) and I've found that it does work. Sometimes it takes a little time to fill your order but when the universe delivers, the gift is exactly what you needed without you having to control the outcome.  The hardest part is not clouding the request with doubt or with a lot of details.  Just ask for what is best and be grateful when it arrives.

And so I watched the RITA award winners make their speeches from my seat at the back of the ballroom, feeling beautiful in my dress and happy for everyone who’d won. 

What a moment in time.  What a feeling of accomplishment.

I know it takes way more than wishful thinking to get there. I mean, I would never expect to hold a RITA with one simple mental command.   It takes time, blood, frustration, elation and a slew of other responses that comes only when you have crafted a novel.  A book.  A piece of your soul projected onto paper…or Nook, or Kindle.  Um, yeah, you know what I mean.  It takes work.  Those ladies worked hard to hold that statue in their hands. It makes everyone cry just witnessing it because the award is the boon of finishing the job.

And to hold a golden lady with your name on it is the dream. 

And so, with an air of silliness and some sincerity, the other night I grabbed a 32 oz. glass water bottle and stood in front of the wall mirror in my bedroom.  Feeling like a teenager imitating Katharine Hepburn, I recited the names of all the people and opportunities I was grateful for, just so I could really get the feel of it.  And when it was all over I was tearing up. 

Why?  Because man, I’m lucky.  Damned lucky.  Saying the names and referencing the all the times I was given a chance was a poignant reminder that no matter how long the day at work, no matter how crappy the stress is sometimes, I have the most wonderful and supportive people standing behind me.

I have a place to live, a computer to write on… I have all the resources I need to reach this goal.

I had to grab a tissue to clean up a little.  Damn mascara. *sniffle*

After a minute I looked down at my hand and had the fleeting thought, I wonder how much heavier a RITA is compared with a 32 oz. bottle of water?  

And all of a sudden I imagined staring through a ray of spotlight out at ballroom full of authors, editors and peers, all waiting for me to make an acceptance speech.

Returning to the present, I threw a glance up at the bedroom wall that holds pictures of all the people I would be thanking if that moment were ever to happen.  Then I put the bottle down, said a silent prayer of thanks and walked over to my desk.

Dreams need help to come true, so I’d better get to it.

-       -   SNG

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