“The expected is just the beginning. The unexpected is what changes our lives.”
~Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy)
Someone needs to tell Shonda Rhimes and the Grey’s writers that they are seriously geniuses when it comes to crafting the beginning and end of episode voiceovers for Meredith. There are so many excellent ones that really make you stop and think. And isn’t that the mark of compelling writing, whether it’s in a television show, novel, or something else? It lingers in your mind long after the words have been read or spoken, resonating deeply and resounding with an inspiring impact. Writing like that draws us in, makes us crave more, helps us gain some insight not only into the characters’ lives, but also our own.
And this quote? For me, it was love at first sight. It so perfectly encapsulates the perspective I’ve gained over the past few years. Yes, we can plan. We can draw up a road map for where we want to go, what we want to be. I firmly believe in the importance of taking life by the reins and helping steer it in the direction we want to go. Sometimes that road twists and turns, though. Sometimes something unexpected pops up. Instead of running from it, why not embrace it? Why not take a chance and let it change our lives? Sure, it might not always happen. Not every unexpected experience is a good one. Some of them are great, though. Some of them take our lives by storm, turn them upside down, and weave the beginnings we planned into threads of joy and patchworks of hope.
Wednesday marked three years since the day I rediscovered the joy of creative writing. What made me sit down at the computer that day and start what I believed would be a short story, I still don’t know. What I do know, though, what I’ll be forever grateful for, is that it instantly reignited the spark of inspiration I’ve always gotten from the craft. To say writing my novels has been a work of heart really is an understatement. It’s taught me so much – about my characters, about my passions, about myself. I wouldn’t trade those lessons learned for anything. Did this journey start out as an unexpected one? Had I spent the past seven years envisioning myself as a journalist instead of an author? Yes. And I truly enjoyed all the journalism work I did … I loved it, in fact. But writing these books, telling these characters’ stories, it’s a passion like I can’t describe. It was unexpected in the best way, and it absolutely changed my life.
I’m a week and a half into the querying process for Reflections of Me, and to say I’m elated to already have two requests for material (one partial, one full) would be a huge understatement. This book is my baby like I can’t even describe – it has been from day one – and I’m hoping and praying that the agents like it, too. It would be nothing short of a dream come true. While I’m waiting to hear back (and checking my email way too often – seriously, I’ve decided it’s impossible not to), I’m working on more queries, more writing, and hopefully soon, the start of my official planning for the novel’s sequel. I have an idea for its format that I’m really, really excited about, and I can’t wait to dive in and start playing around with the plotting and outlining. There too, though, I’ve learned to appreciate the unexpected. Letting the characters lead the way resulted in a twist to my original plans for ROM, and I am so glad. That new direction was just what it needed.
What about you? Have you ever taken a leap of faith and followed the unexpected? Has it changed your life? And on another note entirely, any fun weekend plans? I’m taking a page out of the message of this post and heading to NYC with a friend to see Kristin Chenoweth in Promises, Promises. The plan was to go next month, but when discounted fifth row seats came up … how could we NOT take them? So, so excited to finally see her live — she’s such an inspiration!!