Tara Taylor Quinn writes our first guest editorial of the year, talking about finding joy in the changes and new beginnings that might otherwise unsettle us.
Life has many lessons to teach us. Every day that we live provides opportunities to explore, discover and grow. And with each new exploration, each new discovery, comes change in one fashion or another. This is what I love about life—the chance to change that which makes me unhappy, and to welcome some new joy. Every day as I wake up, I look for what new good could come that day. It’s a conscious thing, an effort, and often not easy. But I’ve learned that this is the way to living with joy. And the way to get the most out of this journey of life. Every day is a new beginning.
I’ve been a full time, self-supportive, career author for twenty-five years. My ninetieth book just published in December. And for the past twenty-five years I’ve been incredibly lucky to publish with the same company, under the same program, and the exact same imprint. Editors have changed, word count and covers have changed, sales models have changed, but Superromance and I were together, always. I sold my first book to Harlequin Superromance in 1992 (released in 1993) and in June, 2018, another one of my books, A Defender’s Heart, was one of the last six Superromance novels ever to be published.
After twenty-five years I was facing the biggest new beginning of my life—other than the birth of my daughter. My livelihood, my heart and soul, were with Superromance. My security was there. And one morning I woke up, looked for the good, and received a text message asking me if Superromance was ending. Within half an hour I had an email confirming that it was. My whole life as I knew it ended with a single email. But I know how life works. If I just stand in front of a closed door, I might as well lay me down to sleep. I also know that human beings are meant to know joy. So I began looking for that new joy even as I grieved. I embraced the change, found the good in it, and continued to tell my stories. That’s what I could do. What I had power over. Telling my stories. That is me.
It’s been excruciatingly hard at times. Instead of being secure, I’m the new kid on the block. But I’m incredibly lucky to have been welcomed in to the Harlequin Special Edition family. I opened my arms to a new contract and my arms were filled. I have three new editors in my world now, new voices, and systems and routines to learn. I could see that as a negative, but I’m just so thankful to have them there. I’m being given the chance for new relationships. New perspectives. Which are giving a freshness to my stories. They’re still intense, emotional fiction, but they’ve had a spring cleaning, too!
I wanted to continue writing a long-standing series I wrote for Superromance. I put my desire out there. Several times. And now that series has been picked up by Harlequin Romantic Suspense, with the first one publishing in September. The same exact stories I was writing with brand new dressing and retail sales. It’s better than it was ever going to be with Superromance.
Have I cried a lot of tears? More than you’d probably imagine. Do I still grieve? Absolutely. I sit with the grief some days. I let myself cry. To feel the loss. And yet, I get up with new energy. The new beginning is a whole new chapter, providing all new opportunities and chances to bring my life more joy.
As I write this I’ve just seen my third Harlequin Special Edition published. The books have been far better received than expected. (I walked through the newly opened door, but didn’t set my expectations high enough! Another lesson learned.) I have ten books scheduled for release in the next two years. I’ve made new friends. My life is fuller. And the joy is sweet.
And the only advice I have to give going into the new year is the above. The sharing of the journey as I know it.
If you need to write, to be a writer, if this is what brings you joy, then spare a thought for it every morning as you greet the new day. That makes it a part of that day even if you don’t write a word. Think of the next time you have available to write. Or just think about your characters. Whatever about writing that makes you feel good. Give it a conscious thought.
And don’t stand in front of a closed door.
This just doesn’t mean publishing opportunities. A lot of times the ‘closed door’ is your inner critic—telling you you aren’t good enough. Or lucky enough. Don’t know the right people, or have the money to allow you to… Whatever. Sometimes the closed door is someone close to you who is not supportive of your writing goal.
Whatever it is, find your way to the next train of thought. Look in another window. One where you actually finish a book. Or sell one. Or have one hit a bestseller list. Look for the opportunities, not the roadblocks. Don’t fight the challenges, use them to keep your fighting spirit strong, but focus on the positive aspects. And always, always keep your eye on the joy.
Tara's latest book, Fortune's Christmas Baby, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
How do you cope with new beginnings and change? How do you take the small things that unsettle you and turn them into opportunities? Tell us in the comments or join the discussion on our Social Media using the hashtag #NewBeginning