I had great English teachers in high school and college, but mostly I am a self-taught writer who writes from the heart and connects on an emotional level with the reader. My very first CS acceptance was a fluke, or maybe divine intervention. I saw this headline in our neighborhood news in 1999: Chicken Soup for the Soul Seeking Stories for the Gardener's Soul.
Let me tell you, I am no gardener. Don't ever look at my thumbs. I can barely keep potted plants and hanging baskets alive, but I am not a gardener by any stretch.
I set the newspaper down, then picked it up several times, knowing I had no gardening experience. I did have a story about a flower that bloomed in winter, per a pact my late friend and I made when she was terminally ill. I knew THAT was not a gardening story. However...
I TOOK A CHANCE, submitted by snail mail back then, and they accepted my story right away. Click this link to read it.
I was stunned, inspired and vowed to get my stories in nine more CS books. My goal was to be published in 10 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I submitted to almost every title. I certainly did not get into every book, but to date I have surpassed my goal of 10. Now that I'm at 26, maybe I should set my sites on #30.
Am I a dreamer? Sure. Do my dreams come true? Sometimes. Should I stop submitting if I don't receive an acceptance? WHY?!
Don't be afraid to dream. My Chicken Soup for the Soul dream has led to speaking engagements, paid gigs, panel presentations, and published articles about my experiences. I am the former high school student who would rather take a failing grade than speak before the class.
It is never too late to accomplish your dreams, whatever they may be.