Mar 212024

With the start of a new season, after a lively winter, a lot has been on my mind. Having more and more conversations about writing, being an author and all that comes with it, I was inspired by a few of the breadcrumbs in my life to reflect here today.

After a heartfelt conversation with a friend about valuing the breadcrumbs as a way to lead back to yourself, I saw a post from a great Canadian author Terry Fallis and a response from another author Monica Graham. My head has been spinning lately and these “conversations” grounded me in a variety of ways. The first, with breadcrumbs, reminded me of all the people who are my breadcrumbs, who make up my tribe of believers and authentic beings. Those who continue to “be” and “do” despite their doubts, fears and societies constant reminders of not following the normal path.

In a lot of these chats, or reads, it’s clear that a lot of us have ingrained in our beliefs that getting a job and making money is the way to success, to recognition, to a happy retirement where we can then do what we enjoy. Graduate high school, go onto higher learning, get a job, fall in love, bring home the dough, raise a family, work hard until you can retire and collect pension and then enjoy your freedom from a schedule. Or, if you’re an athlete, change that up and make millions to play a game hen retire at a young age and wonder what else life has to offer.

The system is messed up.

As an author, as Terry and Monica both mention, it’s nearly impossible to make a living financially. And yet, I argue, it’s not living if I don’t try. If I don’t ask you to buy my book (find one here) that will lead to hours of entertainment for a mere $25 or less. Yes, I do plan to make a living from my writing, and writing adjacent endeavours, and yes, I will ask that you buy my book and one or more for a friend, because I have faith a shift will happen and more will embrace the literary talent and sweat and tears put into writing a compelling story.

Reading became my way to escape a reality I wasn’t ready for when I was young. It gave me a reliable excuse to hide away in the corner and still “be productive” as I dove into the Narnia wardrobe, took a journey with an Indian in a cupboard, and visited Oz. It didn’t matter what the weather was outside or who was yelling or running away, I was immersed in someone’s story and loving it. Within those pages, the breadcrumbs of characters, I was lead on a path that would define who I was, no matter the financial gain.

To sum this up, I write to be rich in more ways than financially. I write to be who I am, to find who I love and to embrace a society filled with people who love words and escapes as much as I do. The cost is too high otherwise.

Find your breadcrumbs, find the way you need to bring home the dough, and celebrate the writer who has changed your life. Even if you don’t consider yourself a reader now, if you don’t buy the books you may never find the one you were looking for.

Thanks for reading and for being a breadcrumb in my journey to self,

Sarah Butland
Author, Freelance Writer and Writing Coach

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