3, 2, 1 … JUMP.


“When you’re on the edge and looking down
With all the lights flashing around
Stars shine above your head
Don’t you give up just yet.”
~Graham Colton, Cellophane Girl

Graham 2010

Confession: There’s a good chance that this post was inspired solely by the fact that I’m excited to see Graham in concert tonight. Seriously, y’all (I know, I know, northerners don’t get to use that phrase, but since ROM and its sequel both take place in Atlanta, I consider myself an honorary southerner by heart), you should check out his music. I was first introduced to him when he opened for Kelly Clarkson on her Breakaway and Hazel Eyes tours back in 2005, and have been a fan ever since. There’s a very real, very relatable, very genuine quality to his songs, one that makes you realize he just gets it. The lyrics are honest, the melodies are intriguing, and the combined result both inspires and encourages. It’s clear that Graham believes in and feels the music, and he shares that vibe with his listeners.

My favorite line from the song that opens this post is: “On the edge of the world, she’d rather jump than just look down.” Sometimes there are lyrics that truly speak to you, and for me, that’s one of them. I’ve always been the kind of person who reaches for the stars instead of just wishing on them, and this publishing journey has taken that to a new level. There are so many points when it would be easier to step away from the edge, to back away from the never-ending cavern of emotions. I could write the books, but not push them – and myself – to the very strongest. I could finish the books, but save myself from the off-the-charts stress that comes from querying agents. I could try to detach myself from my work enough to even out the emotional roller coaster that this process takes writers on every day. Except … I really couldn’t. I really can’t. Maybe that’s because I’m a perfectionist, maybe it’s because I’m so invested in my characters that I find myself thinking about them countless times throughout the day, maybe it’s both. Definitely it’s more.

I don’t want to work on a book that doesn’t push me further. I don’t want to write a novel that isn’t the best version of itself that I can make it. I don’t want to give in to the stress of the querying, the waiting, the I-have-a-new-email-time-for-my-heart-to-skip-a-beat feeling. Patience is a virtue for a reason, and this industry is the best real-life teacher of that. This might sound corny, but it’s something I believe in whole-heartedly: we never stop learning. We never stop growing. We never stop evolving. We should never want to stop. Through plotting, through outlining, through writing, through querying, and yes, even through waiting, a whole new world of understanding and possibilities has opened up to me. That’s something I’ll be forever grateful for (and something I remind myself of every time I refresh my email/check my phone/count the days since I sent off material). I kind of feel like I’m standing right at the edge these days, on the brink of my greatest dreams and most fervent wishes. Would it be easier to just stand there and look down on them? Sure. But am I going to jump anyway, even without knowing if I’ll land on both feet? Without a doubt. I’m going to keep leaping with an open heart and open arms, doing everything in my power to grab the world that’s waiting. Stars shine above, and hopes linger below, ready to be snatched up.

Here’s hoping Graham sings this song tonight. And that wearing heels will prevent me from looking as short as I did in last year’s picture with him.

What about you? Are you a looker or a jumper when it comes to your dreams?

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15 thoughts on “3, 2, 1 … JUMP.

  1. Oh, a jumper all the way. Sometimes to a fault, lol. But what a lovely, wonderful post, Shari! Other than the Graham business (who I will now look up) I’m with you on every single word. :)

    • Thank you so much, Kristan!

      I think it’s sometimes tough to be a jumper at the point where we are, but on the other hand, it seems even more difficult not to be. I just can’t imagine not leaping for this and grabbing at it with all we have, you know? Here’s hoping it brings us all nothing but dreams come true :)

      (And yay! Hope you like his music if you give it a try!)

  2. I’m not a jumper, but I will try and rappel down every now and then. :-)
    Another “smiley” post; thanks for your perspective, Shari, because it never ceases to make me smile.

    • Well that makes us even, because your posts and your optimistic perspective always do the same for me! I love your input on this – it’s the perfect middle ground between jumping off the edge and simply looking down below. One step at a time, right?

    • YAY!!

      Hmm, recommendations. My favorites from his first album are Don’t Give Up On Me and First Week. From the second album, my favorites are Cellophane Girl and Best Days. I’m not sure about the newest one yet, since I just bought it at the show, but they’re all really great so far :)

        • Sometimes I really think we’re kindred spirits – I have been doing that exact thing lately. It’s something I’m always super cognizant of, especially when I’m in the middle of writing, but recently I’ve found myself thinking about it even more. To that end, I’m adding Graham’s “Love Comes Back Around” to my list. Parts of it are SO fitting for Dear Ellie right now!!

  3. Pingback: Writerly Wednesday - Kristan Hoffman - Writing Dreams Into Reality

  4. I’m such a looker. I must be a jumper. I must dream, love, imagine, know, believe, believe, believe — rather than doubt myself and always question, question, question…
    I’ve never heard of Colton.
    Lovely post.
    Reading anything lately? I just finished “Mini Shopaholic” by Sophie Kinsella, a fun and leisurely book. Did you see that one of Emily Giffin’s books is adapted into a movie? “Something Borrowed”…I think Kate Hudson and John Krasinski (The Office – love him) are in it.

    • You hit the nail on the head, I think — that belief is so vitally important. It sounds cliche, but you have to believe in your passion and dreams before anyone else can. It makes a world of difference.

      Oh, I loved Mini Shopaholic! Sophie’s books are always so fun, and I feel like Becky is an old friend by this point :-) Right now, I’m in the middle of Katherine Center’s Everyone Is Beautiful, which I’m really enjoying. Oh my gosh, and yes, I am SO EXCITED for the film adaptation of Emily’s book. I’ve been following all her Facebook posts about it since the beginning, and I’m literally counting down the days until it opens on May 6th. I think I’m going to reread Something Borrowed after I finish this book, just to refresh my memory of all the little details. Can’t wait!!

  5. I LOVE this post, Shari! I can definitely relate to what you’re saying. I don’t think of myself as a risk taker (i.e. jumper), but when people ask me how I can put myself through all the stress of trying to get publishing I think How could I NOT?.

    Hope you enjoyed your concert!

    • Thank you! It was a lot of fun – our seats were amazing, and it was great to hear some of my favorite songs of his performed live :-)

      I’m with you 200% on that – in most other aspects of life, I am not a risk taker at ALL (wish I could be sometimes!), but with this, it’s just … how can we not put ourselves out there and take a chance on our dreams? It’s stressful, emotional, and maybe a tad crazy, but there’s simply no other option. I have faith that it’ll pay off for us all one day, I truly do.

  6. P.S. Today on QT I read a comment by someone, and it really hit home. They said that they used to be in sales and have to do cold calls. Their boss told them that 90% of everyone will tell them ‘no’, so they might as well call, call, call to get those rejections out of the way and get to that ‘yes’. Makes the jumping a lot easier when you look at it that way, I think. :-)

    • LOVE this. Thank you for sharing it!! It’s such a good perspective to have. Here’s to getting those obstacles out of the way and jumping with a clear view of the goals we’re falling into and embracing with open arms.

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