I've been writing professionally for nearly thirteen years. I am currently working on my thirtieth book, with an astounding number of those on active submission through my agent. I've many milestones ahead, but wanted to share my greatest success story so far.
One of my projects that just launched on submission is a middle grade novel called WHIMSY. I wrote the book entirely for my son, pictured above. In fact, while most books of mine begin with a premise or a magic system, the original premise for this project was how to include as many things that he liked into a single adventure story.
After I finished the project, I started reading him the book from my laptop. We shared chapters at bedtime and he'd started enjoying it. Yet, then he became very ill. I ended up spending several days with him at the local children's hospital. There is nothing harder as a parent than seeing your kid suffer and in pain. He was attached to IVs, clearly suffering, and the stress on us both was immense. I'd brought his tablet, toys, art supplies and more, but during our stay there was only thing he wanted. Time and time again, he grabbed my arm and said (in a raspy, suffering voice) "Dad, read me more Whimsy, please."
I did. I poured my heart into the draft, thinking of him, and then shared that draft with him as a lifeline when he needed it. And in that moment, I think I realized how truly important my writing was. As of this writing, I might not have achieved some of the standard marks of success authors aspire to, but I will never doubt my own success again, because my writing mattered in that moment, and it mattered to the kid who matters most to me.
It is one of the strongest writing experiences I've had, and I will always treasure it.