Finding My Voice Again

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

As a kid, there was nothing I loved more in the world than books. There was no better Christmas present or birthday gift than a gift card to B. Dalton or Barnes & Noble. My favorite place to go was the library.

I loved books. My dad even built a bookshelf along one entire wall of my bedroom.

So it’s only natural that my love of books would translate into my desire to write them. For as long as I can remember, I filled notebooks with bad poetry and story ideas and I fell asleep to the sounds of characters rambling on in my head.

Unfortunately, I am neither a super determined or confident person, so it wasn’t until my early 30s I finally found the courage to actually try writing a novel. And it took a few false starts for me to finally complete one. But in early 2011, I finally wrote those magic words “The End” on the first draft of what is now Starry Knight.

With my family cheering me on, and the knowledge I could write a book giving me the confidence, I set out to share my writing with the world. And while it didn’t always go smoothly (aka I got rejected A LOT), I made so many friendships, learned so much about the craft, and strengthened my writing skills through three intense revisions. I also learned a lot about publishing and by the fall of 2013, I made the decision I wanted to go Indie. I liked getting to write what I wanted to write and having control of my stories and writing career. I no longer felt like I needed someone in New York to tell me I was a good enough writer—I had the faith in myself. I had found my voice.

But in December 2013, a rejection I never saw coming brought that faith in myself crashing down. I was a mess. That confidence I had found over the past two years had slipped away, and I had no idea how to get it back. And I wouldn’t get it back. Not for nearly five years.

The last five years have not been the easiest of my life. I’ve dealt with eye issues and an autoimmune disease. My husband had a heart attack. My oldest daughter left home. My step-mom passed away. There’s been a lot of pain and heartbreak.

But there’s been healing too. I’ve discovered quilting. And I’ve learned that not all stories are told with words. Some of the most beautiful works are created with stitches and fabric. I’ve fallen in love, real love with books again. Somewhere back when I first started this journey, I quit reading just to read. I was always analyzing the writing, comparing the story to mine. But in the past year I’ve read—really read and enjoyed over 150 books. And I’ve discovered that despite being deeply hurt by someone in the writing community, that most authors are truly wonderful people who want each other to grow and succeed.

So here I am, making the same plan I made five years ago. The plan to publish Starry Knight. Only unlike last time, this time there are no ifs. Only when. Starry Knight will be published. I will be published. Before another year passes, I will remove the ‘aspiring’ part and just be an author.

Voice, that supposedly elusive thing that everyone wants but no one can define—all it is is confidence. The belief in yourself. The conviction in your words that flows through your story and makes everyone who reads it believe too.

And I’ve found my voice again.

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Carrie Lynn Thomas