Not because of anything my preschooler or the teachers had done, but because I thought I was dying.
My health had been declining rapidly over the past year. I spent most of my days sleeping, and when I wasn’t asleep, I suffered from chronic pain and depression. My body was covered in bruises and my hair was falling out in clumps.
My doctor had just discovered several lumps in my neck, and I was scheduled for a biopsy the next day. What if it was cancer? What if I was dying? Even though I had been too sick to give my child the attention she deserved, I knew no other woman could love my daughter the way I did. I couldn’t leave my child without a mommy.
I drove myself to the biopsy. My husband was working out of town, and I had no one else to take me. The needles stung my neck, but I endured. I even joked with my doctor while she was stabbing me.
I don’t care if it stings, I thought to myself. I’ll suffer through anything, just please God don’t take me from my child.
I drove myself home from the hospital, crawled into bed and cried. Then I waited for the results. Those were the longest two days of my life.
Much to my relief, it wasn’t cancer. Further testing revealed I had the auto-immune disease, Hashimotos. I began hormone replacement therapy right away and even changed my diet, eliminating certain foods like gluten which triggered the disease. Slowly, I began to feel better, and once again, I was able to be a mommy to my little girl.
Prior to my health scare, I had published a few young adult paranormal novels and was working on a fantasy. After a few years of treatment, I republished my YA series and finished that fantasy. And then my books started selling. I was getting fan letters and actually making enough money to pay the bills, as I continued to write and publish more books. Most of my reader reviews have been amazing. I’m simply floored and humbled by the outpouring of support from my fans.
Of course, I’ve also gotten a few negative reviews. Some of the reviews are so mean, I’m certain I would have cried had I received them prior to my illness. But the thing is, I’ve already hit that low point in my life. And no review, no matter how hateful, can ever bring me lower than the paralyzing fear I had when I thought I’d be parted from my child.
Lately I’ve read a few disheartening stories about authors being bullied by readers and bloggers. It saddens me to see these authors buckle under the negativity. If I could give advice to these authors, it would be this. Focus on what matters: your family, friends and fans.
I guarantee you will hit low points in your life far worse than the humiliation brought on by a few readers who didn’t connect with your books. If you have the strength to wake up each day and craft stories, then draw from that strength, ignore the haters, and keep writing.