Taking The Leap

Meet Ingrid Ricks, the woman who spent a long time dreaming about writing her memoir, Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story.  For years, it was all she talked about.  And even though she didn’t have enough time to really knock it out–outside of work and raising her kids, that is–she chipped away at it, and she continued to dream about it.

Until she was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease and learned she might only have a few years of eyesight left, which is probably one of the most awful things that could befall a writer.  Did this jolt her into action?  You bet.  But it took her two daughters–“the ones [she] was trying to be responsible for by working a ‘real job’–to finally give [her] the kick [she] needed.”

Shortly before my 43rd birthday, the two of them were joking around and decided to do a parody of me as an old woman. They bent over, pretended like they were walking with a cane, and in the most crotchety voice they could muster, they both shouted, “My book, my book. I have to finish my book!”

My husband and daughters burst into laughter. I bit my lip to keep from crying. And when my January birthday arrived two weeks later, I sat on the couch and made a vow to myself: by the time my next birthday rolled around, my book manuscript would be done and I would have an agent.

Is that intense or what?  A mutual friend introduced me to Ingrid, and I’ve been thinking about her story a lot now that I’m in the final stages of wrapping up my book proposal and getting ready to send it out to agents.

What is it that keeps up from going after our dreams?  Fear and our responsibilities, sure (like I wrote about in my last post), but certainly permission, too.  As in: we need to give ourselves some, right?  Right??

I’ve been having a hard time with this one lately.  Specifically, I’ve been getting all tripped up over working more hours to finally get this book out the door.  I’ve been spending way too much time wondering things like:

  • Can my kids handle me working more more hours?
  • Do I need to feel guilty/torture myself over this?
  • How am I going to pay for all this extra child care?

etc. etc. etc.

And then I remembered Ingrid’s story.  Specifically, I remembered this kick-ass end to her story:

The early reviews and reader response to Hippie Boy has been amazing and humbling, and it’s already spurred me to start writing my next book. But it’s been the response from my two daughters that has made me understand that following my heart and pursuing my dream is the only way to live life.

My nine-year-old daughter, Hannah, has been so proud and excited by the early success of Hippie Boy that she has decided she wants to be a writer (as well as a professional ice hockey player), and has already started publishing her short stories on Scribd. And my twelve-year-old daughter, Syd, who has been actively marketing Hippie Boy to her friends at middle school, recently surprised me with a card that will sit on my desk for the rest of my life.

On the cover is a picture of Wonder Woman. And inside are these words: “Thank you for teaching me to go after my dreams by going after yours.”

Is that awesome, or what?  If nothing else, Ingrid’s story reminds me why it’s so important to follow our dreams–because if we follow our dreams, then we give our kids the permission to follow theirs.

This Mother’s Day, join me in following your dream.

For a gift to myself this Mother’s Day, I’m going to complete my proposal and start sending it out.  In the meantime, I’d love to support Ingrid by getting the word out about her kick-ass book.  (Which is a serious page turner–I was just planning on skimming a few pages last night after I downloaded it, but ended up reading the first third of the book because I couldn’t put it down.)

Thanks for the inspiration, Ingrid!

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