Oh Inner Heroine, Where Are You?
By Rebecca Rasmussen
This month for Women on the Verge, we were asked to write about our inner heroines and for several weeks I have been drawing a sorry blank even though I have volunteered to teach inner city kids, worked at soup kitchens, and hugged people who needed hugging over the years.
The truth is I don’t exactly feel like a heroine in my own life right now. I have a novel coming out in about a month, my first, and while I have put forth many late nights of heroic efforts of its behalf (and my vision has worsened because of the bright white of my computer screen! And my family has missed me even though I am in the same room with them)—let’s face it, fighting for my book from the tippy-top of my head to the tippy-tip of my toes isn’t exactly heroic.
Or is it?
Before I got my publishing contract in July of 2009, I would tire of authors talking about their books in what seemed a tireless way to me on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. “Check out this,” they’d say. “Check out that.” I believed that these people should be off writing their next books. They were/are writers, after all. It made good sense to my little MFA heart. It turns out that now that my own book is about to come out, I understand their efforts, often in a way I wish I didn’t: intimately. We all want to be off writing our next books, but…
Publishing is a tough world. A lot of people, including many of my friends and family, believe it is the contract that secures the sales of a book. Oh Lord, it isn’t, I’m afraid. Or it is for the very few authors who receive major advances and therefore major marketing campaigns. The rest of us are of course still grateful, but we must be the ones shouting about our books if they are to get the attention we think they deserve. Our editors tell us to do this. Our agents tell us. The responsibility is on our shoulders, and it’s possible that we’ll become the people selling books out of our trunks in a few short months. Quite possible.
This is a full time job. This takes courage. Guts and grit. But also grace.
The way I explain it to my friends is that guiding my book to publication is my job (along with teaching and mothering and wife-ing). I ask them how hard they are working for to build their careers (and their families) and usually the answer is this: forty hours and a possible ulcer! I am doing the same thing, I tell them. It just happens that my building happens a lot on social media and in the form of “Check this out.”
“But don’t worry,” I joke, “I think I am also developing an ulcer.”
Here’s the thing: writing, to me, is worth the heartache and the ulcers. It is my passion, and I don’t think I could live happily without it. So what else am I going to do except stand up and fight for its success? I wouldn’t slack off at another job, or do the bare minimum, so why would I with this one?
Right now, I am focused the way I used to be before a cross-country race in college and high school. I am the only one who can leap out of the starting gate. I am the only one who can finish the race. I don’t know if that makes me a heroine in my own life, but it makes me proud of myself and grateful for the stamina I possess.
I'm hugging you and whispering in your ear, "Thank you for blazing a trail of hope." You make me believe and aspire. Looking forward to cheese curds and laughter in Wisconsin, welcoming you like the lilacs do each spring...
|1526 days ago|
I loved how you mentioned doing it with grace Rebecca--crossing the finish line with out it will be meaningless in the log run. Blessings on the last miles--I know you are going to do fine. XOXO
|1539 days ago|
Doing what you love and supporting it with your heart makes you a heroine, for your children for you fellow women and men. Cheers to you Rebecca, for staying the course!
|1540 days ago|
This is your time, Rebecca. I know you feel it, too. You must ride with it, let it propel you and be exactly who you were meant to be. Thank you for being your own heroine. We are all the beneficiaries. :)
|1540 days ago|