I realize it's been a couple months since I posted anything on this blog, and I apologize! Life has a way of catching up to you and draining every moment of your free time.
One of the reasons posting has been hard for me is because I've been lacking motivation. I've posted on both motivation and support systems many times in the past, and I've found solutions that have worked for me, but for some reason this slump has been extra hard.
So I did what I always do when I get blocked: I went back to my roots. As some of you may remember from earlier this year, I confessed my love for Harry Potter fanfiction. This was where I got my start, how I got on the path to becoming a writer.
And as I reread some of my old work and thought about the road I've been taking to get here, I realized that one person in my life is the cause of all of this, and somehow I've neglected to give her the credit she deserves. This post is for her, and for anyone else who wants to see the impact one person can make on another's life.
I moved a lot growing up, and my last move to Georgia was incredibly difficult. It was hard being the new kid sophomore year of high school. My past friends abandoned me, I was diagnosed with a disease, and the drama club students weren't exactly welcoming. I felt so alone.
Halfway through that year, I met a girl named Rachel. I liked her, but I had fresh scars from letting people get close to me, so I didn't really pursue a friendship. Better to be alone then get hurt.
First day of Junior year, I found that Rachel was in four of my classes. She was the only person I really knew at all, so I sat next to her. My scars had healed somewhat, and by the end of the first week of school I invited her over to my house.
What happened next? I don't really know. One day we were acquaintances making small talk, the next we were sharing our deepest, darkest secrets with each other.
I learned that she, too, wrote fanfiction (though she wrote Hermione/Draco fics - gross!!). Her writing was so much more developed than mine, but somehow I gathered the courage to let her read it. She read and reviewed each and every one of my stories, encouraging me to keep writing.
She could have just given me positive feedback - that would have been more than enough. But if she'd just done that, she wouldn't be Rachel.
That Christmas, she came to my house. She had a homemade DVD with her. I put it in my computer, and stared as the opening sentence to my fanfiction flashed across the screen. Taking clips from the Harry Potter movies (and others) she had put together a sort of movie trailer for my story.
I watched that trailer over and over and over again. The idea that someone would put that much work into something, for my story, for me, was inconceivable. She believed in me and my writing more than anyone ever had.
She didn't stop there. We were both nominated for a summer program called GHP (Governor's Honors Program) for writing. I had no doubt she would get in, but still wasn't convinced I could. She didn't let me rest until my name was on that list with hers and we were both headed to southern Georgia for the summer.
As if that wasn't enough, she wrote a whole new fanfiction, a Ron/Hermione fanfiction (something she swore she would never do!) as another present for me.
(I had to return the favor, and I did give in and write her a Hermione/Draco story....which, I'm ashamed to admit, I actually really enjoyed.)
When I started writing my original story, she was the first person I let read any of it. She pushed me to move forward, to pursue this story and this goal, to never, ever give up.
Now, we're both in our Senior years of college. We've grown a lot, in maturity and (though it seems impossible) in friendship. We're far away - she's still in Georgia, and I'm in Utah - but our hearts will never be far from each other. Our friendship has obviously seen challenges, but I know that nothing can ever really pull us apart.
Yes, I've been lacking in motivation lately. But as I look back on my life, everything I've been through, everyone I've known, I can say without a doubt that I have an amazing support system. There are many people close to me who are rooting for me, who enjoy my book, who want me to get published. They are rooting for me in every other aspect of my life as well.
But I can trace it all back to one person.
Rachel, none of this would have happened if it weren't for you. I would never have gained enough confidence to try to write something original. Never in a million years would I have considered trying to get published. This blog wouldn't exist. My books wouldn't exist. It's all because of you.
You know that you've affected my life in countless ways, but even if it was just this one you would be my best friend. You were an angel sent to me in my time of trouble, and you've lifted me up to somewhere I thought was only a dream. When I am published one day, it won't be because of my talent or perseverance - it will be because of you.
That homemade DVD from 2008 is sitting in my room here in Provo. It is, and will always be, one of my most prized possessions.
And to everyone else, I hope you have someone in your life who's half the friend that Rachel is. Because if you do, you are incredibly blessed.