Monday, November 21, 2011

The Meaning Of A Year

My son A.J. turns one on November 26th!

My son A.J. will be a one-year-old this Saturday, 11/26! My wife actually went into labor last year on Thanksgiving Day, believe it or not. I’m so excited to celebrate the special day with my little big boy.

And my son’s first birthday gets me thinking about what was going on in my life one year ago. A month before A.J. came into the world things had really been busy for me. In early October of last year I ended up with eight offers of representation from agents and had a tough time deciding between the eight of them. I ended up signing with the agent that seemed to be the right choice, at the time. We then revised my book for a few weeks and submitted it in early November. I was so nervous and antsy—and obsessed—when the book went out that it took my mind off the fact that A.J. could come at any time. I thought of my book way too much and it wasn’t healthy at all. But when A.J. arrived, everything changed. And that’s the true purpose of this blog post. How priorities, stressors, and life in general can change so quickly, and how important it is to remember what truly matters. 

Sandra Boynton is my son's favorite author.

Think about it this way. That book, the one that had been so sought-after by those eight agents, didn’t end up selling when we went out with it. It was shocking to me, but it didn’t seem to matter as much whenever I would hold A.J. and look at his smiling face. Or when I’d rock him to sleep. Forget “didn’t seem to matter as much”…heck, it didn’t matter at all. That’s why it was so much easier to decide to pull the book (so as not to burn any future submission possibilities for the book and save it for later), part ways with my agent (it was a tough decision, but it was the best thing for both of us), write something new (which ended up working out so well), and query new agents (that was a pretty quick search, actually). I did all this with the mindset that, while it matters to me because I value my writing and my writing career, I don’t place the value of my writing above my family. Not even close. You parents out there realize this, and those expecting will soon realize it, too.

Now, a year later, I have another book that will soon be submitted by a new agent (who I really think is the right match for me). But the thing is: When this book goes out I won’t stress like I did when my book went out last year because I have such a different perspective on things. Sure, I’ll be anxious to have my work find a great home, and I’ll look at my cell phone a bit more when the book goes out, but will I focus on it like I did last year? No way!

With Thanksgiving on its way, I wanted to post this on Project Mayhem because I hope to remind you all that writing is important, and so is reading. It’s a passion for most of us. I don't mean to devalue literature in any way, whether it's reading or writing.

Everything I live for is found in this picture.
But please remember how important it is to value your family more than anything. To take time away from them with your writing as little as possible. I shudder at the possibility of missing a “first” of any kind with A.J. and that helps to remind me how important it is for me to make sure my writing time doesn’t replace our time together as a family. Oh, and as a little announcement, my wife and I are expecting our second child in May of 2012. Kind of teary as I type that because it makes me so happy to think of having a second child.

Happy Birthday, A.J.! And Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


  1. Congratulations on the first birthday of your son and the excitement of having Child #2 on the way! And thanks for the reminder about putting things in perspective. It can be way too easy to get obsessive about these writing milestones and forget where your attention should be focused. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. A great post. It really is so important not to let writing (or anything else) take precious time away from family. Congrats on your new (family) project!

  3. Congrats on having another family member on the way!! And, happy birthday, A.J. :-)

  4. What an inspirational post, for an inspirational year. You are my hero, Mike. Thank you for putting in words what is really important in life. Happy birthday to A.J., and congratulations on the news about #2.

    (The photographs are adorable, by the way.)

  5. What a lovely post, Michael. Many congratulations on your beautiful family and the new addition. You're right-too much attention on the wrong things can make us crazy and miss things. I try to remind myself of that all the time. Oh, and do you have Sandra Boynton's Going-to-Bed book? My children still love the memory of us reading that to them. We may have occasionally acted out a few of the sillier parts.

  6. Thanks for the words, everyone. This'll be a busy week. Thanksgiving on Thursday, then two separate parties on Saturday (family) and Sunday (A.J.'s storytime friends). Oh, and in-laws staying for a week. Busy, busy, busy.

  7. Lovely post and a great reminder that writing is something we do...while living. Happy Birthday to A.J. and congrats on this second baby! I think from age 1-2 is one of my FAVORITE stages. Enjoy him!

  8. Marissa: I will definitely enjoy years 1-2 with A.J., but I can't imagine it being more amazing than the first year.

  9. Oh, so happy for you!! My daughter was born on the 25th. Every-so-often, her b-day falls on Thanksgiving Day. Same will go for your little guy. Really special for A.J.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!