Tag Archive | author

The Beauty of the Young Reader

There is something very special about children who read. 

Both of my boys are very good readers… now. But it didn’t come naturally which surprised me  because as a child I was inexplicably drawn to books. I devoured  so many that I can’t even come close to remembering them all. Some of my fondest memories are of walking to the local library and taking out as many books as they would let me. I remember going through the aisles for what seemed like minutes when it was probably more like hours, trying to figure out which book I would read next. 

I would pull my favorites off of the shelves: Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the Sweet Valley High Series, Nancy Drew, VC Andrews, Mythology, Anne Rice… re-reading the books I’d already read, the ones I really loved. I spent hours and hours reading, imagining and becoming  the characters, all the while living and breathing with them. Reading was a way of life. I loved books so much that my punishment was that my parents would send me outside and ban me from books for the afternoon!

I hate to admit there came a decade in my life when I forgot my love for reading. I read but not with the passion and voraciousness of my early years. I was working… a lot… romancing, socializing, building a career, and having babies. But then my husband got me a Kindle for my birthday and I read three books in one week.  It felt as though I had found a long lost friend, my love for reading remembered and reignited.

When my children were given reading assignments and I had to practically hog-tie them down just to read a paragraph, I was surprised. I think I expected them to fall instantly in love with words, like I did. But getting them to read a page was torture and I felt like an utter failure. Even though I read to them when they were little, they fought reading tooth and nail. 

But little by little, word by word, it happened. 

We took turns reading to one another, we read every night before bed, we talked about the books they were reading in school, we talked about where they were with their reading levels, and we recognized when they hit their reading goals. Their teachers gave then goals and then rewarded them when they made their goals and I realized that my boys were finally readers! 

They learned to love reading and we were able to cultivate it with time and consistency. My youngest was the student who read the second highest amount of words this past year and my oldest made 200% of his reading goal. I’m so proud of them, but I know that this love has  to continue to be reinforced and fed. I’m planning trips to the library and trying to figure out how to continue to make reading fun.

Through my writing I’ve met some other young readers who share my passion for books and for reading. I love how it bonds us, making us instant friends because we share such a strong love. I love how it opens so many doors and makes me a part of such a strong community. It’s as though we have an unspoken understanding that reading opens our minds to a world where everything is infinitely possible. 

Children who read,  become adults who understand that the world is large and endless, beyond anything we can imagine. I love that children can imagine that. They are our future writers, inventors, teachers, scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs. Children who read understand that the world is limitless and so are they and I can’t wait until the moment that my children truly understand this. 

I’m incredibly thankful that they are well on their way. 

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Being An Author

I never realized it before but I was an author even long before I had books in print. Instead of writing the stores down, I would just write them in my head, one right after the other. Unable to quiet the noise in my brain, there were often times when I felt like I was losing my mind. But I’ve found that since I’ve been writing, life actually seems clearer without the residual noise that comes from having all of those extra thoughts rolling around.

It’s funny how being an author has changed me. I’m not yet prolific (three books published, one in the editing process, and one about 1/3rd of the way written), or on the NY Times Bestsellers list (A girl can dream…), or even very well-known (Jennifer Sivec… “Never heard of her!”). BUT, I am more at peace with myself than I’ve ever been.

After being alive for (ahem!) several decades, I finally feel as though all of my important pieces have been discovered.

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve published my first book, Leaving Eva. I thought that publishing a book would be like having a birthday. I had the anticipation that I would feel different after reaching this momentous milestone in my life. But after I published Leaving Eva, I didn’t feel like an author right away, at all. Instead, I was almost embarrassed anytime anyone brought it up and I was constantly worried that if they hated my book they would look at me differently (writer neurosis). I wasn’t even sure what being an author would feel like, I was just convinced (like birthdays) it would feel different. I kept waiting for it to hit me and wasn’t sure if I would feel it after my first book  or after my tenth, though I wasn’t even sure I could get to writing two.

Finally, after three books published and another one “on the way” (yes, it’s like giving birth), I FINALLY find myself settling into this new role, realizing it isn’t just a passing whim or just an experiment in life. I realize that writing is here to stay and that I can fit it into my busy life and make it a permanent part of me. I struggled with making that commitment for a while wondering if I would be too busy and if it would eventually end up on the list of things that “just didn’t work out”, in my life.

It’s been challenging rotating roles: wife, mom, full-time career (that I love), and writer. There have been many long days and nights, and moments when I’ve wondered whether I would be able to do it all. But I’m finally figuring out that each role fulfills a different part of me and makes the other one so much better. I’m more fulfilled from the inside, which makes more productive and complete on the outside.

I finally understand what being an author is all about. It’s quite simply about writing, and nothing else. While there are many other things involved in selling books, without the writing there is nothing else. I’ve set some goals for myself this year, to center myself more around the writing in order to become a better writer. They involve blogging, newsletters, and simply writing my books. After all, that is why I became an author, so I could write, which is what I love to do.

Now I wake up and life makes much more sense. And despite the many long days and nights, and constantly juggling roles, I feel utterly fortunate to get to live this busy, far from perfect, but very full-life! And for the first time in my life, I finally feel as though I am what I have always been… an author!

http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Sivec/e/B00CA7NN64/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1420987883&sr=8-1

Milestones…

My  birthday was yesterday.

My “pretend” birthday anyway. Like many adopted or abandoned children, I don’t have any idea what day I was actually born, although it is the date on my birth certificate. I don’t have a birth story and I don’t know what my first word was. I have often wondered where I was when I took my first step, if I was held and cuddled immediately after I was born, or if my birth parents loved me. I don’t have any recollection of the first bite of food I had, or any pictures of me right after birth, or video tape of any portion of my childhood.

All of these moments and milestones are missing, of which I am reminded on a day like yesterday. The day we actually celebrate my birth. I’ve never been big celebrating my birthdays, though I love celebrating others. Nonetheless, I have come to terms with my birthday and have even come to love and anticipate it.

Though my own childhood milestones are missing and I am quite terrible with remembering dates, I have come to appreciate milestones that I have reached as an adult. The day I got engaged, promoted at work, married in Vegas, and the births of my two children. I’ve had milestones this past year that I didn’t expect which were self-publishing my first book, the birth of my blog, and then releasing my second book.

In 2014, I anticipate the release of my third book, the completion of the “Eva Series,” and then who knows what after that? Someone once told me that life is a marathon and not a sprint. I know that sentiment has been around for quite some time, but for the past couple of years I have been learning to embrace it as one of my absolute truths. While life didn’t start with a perfect beginning for me, I believe that I have chosen the milestones that I’ve been able to reach in my adulthood.

I took a Facebook quiz recently that resulted in telling me that I use both sides of my brain equally. A dreamer, a thinker, a doer, and a romantic… I believe that I am enough of a dreamer to imagine and create, but disciplined enough to anticipate and “do.” All of these qualities challenging me and confusing me as a child, now finally coming together. The life that began so uncertain, now has meaning and direction as I continue to move forward toward Milestones that I am not even aware of, yet.

It’s funny how I often wonder when I will finally “feel like an author.”  With two books, and a third on the way, I still have to pinch myself that what I have fully completed works out there. I don’t even care if they never top any best sellers list. I am just so excited that I got to write them and that there are people out there that have even bothered to read them. I don’t know when I will feel like all of this has been real and that I have been able to accomplish something that I’ve always wanted to do. Will it be when I have released my third book, my fourth, my fifth? Actually completing and then releasing the first book was a huge milestone, one that I have been dreaming of my entire life.

Every year around my birthday I start to wonder what day I was actually born. It could be the difference of a matter of days, or weeks, or even months. I’m guessing that someone had to estimate my age when they found me, and then someone assigned a date of my birth. That someone in this world who was there when I was born, taught me how to walk, talk, eat, and live, is someone that I will never know. There are days when I let myself feel a little sad about that, but most days I just look ahead to what is in front of me.

I’m excited about the prospect of what lies in front me and the milestones that I have yet to reach. Even though with each passing year, I get a little bit older, I know that it won’t matter as long as there are things to look forward to. With each “pretend birthday” there will be exciting things to celebrate… driver’s licenses, graduations, more books to release, grandchildren, and who knows what else? I know that one day I may finally feel like an Author, and I am looking forward to it. But for now, I am just thankful that I get to celebrate more birthdays.

But I am the most thankful for those BIG moments that I get to remember, now, with the people that I love the most.