Jennifer Harshman’s bio is one of the things James Woosley asked me to send him for the book he and I are currently producing. It’s quite the undertaking: a compilation of pieces from approximately 100 different authors. So I wrote the rough draft of that bio. Before I share that piece with you, I’d like to reveal some vulnerability, because writers need to be reminded that they are not alone in feeling vulnerable. It wasn’t a comfortable process, writing it.
The voices of my family of origin echoed in my head. Some accused me of lying even though every bit is true. Others sneered that it doesn’t matter that it’s all true because my accomplishments really aren’t anything. I haven’t edited or ghostwritten for Stephen King (their yardstick for accomplishment in writing, editing, and publishing). Refusing to let those lying mental voices affect me, I chose to speak truth to them and remind myself, because sometimes we need that.
Just the fact that I lived through attempts to abort me is something (and that’s really something). That was followed by 19 years of abuse of all kinds, and I made it through it all. I also reached success despite the disabilities that were a result of all of that exposure. Every single day I’ve stayed alive—every single thing I’ve accomplished—has been an act of overcoming their mistreatment of me. So I should (and as much as possible, do) ignore their voices. Reality is pretty much guaranteed to be the opposite of what they say. I think it’s fair to say that I can abandon hope of ever measuring up where my family is concerned. How wonderful it is that plenty of other people love and like me, accept me, and see my accomplishments for what they are.
And Stephen King calls me a success: “If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” I’ve been paying the light bill (and more) with my writing (and editing) since 2009. So there’s that.
First draft of Jennifer Harshman’s bio
Jennifer Harshman started eating books (correction: reading books; reading books) and writing stories when she was three years old, and has consumed more than 17,400 books and millions of pages of online content as of this writing. “Only learn on days you breathe,” she tells her children, whom she and her husband homeschool, “and only read on days you eat.” She reads about a book a day and edits more than 3.5 million words a year, with an error save rate of 99.99% which, according to scientific studies, is impossible. That’s okay. Jennifer’s been doing the impossible since she was in the womb, and we won’t tell those scientists they’re mistaken if you don’t. Her clients love what she does for them, and they want to keep her to themselves.
Not counting her contributions to books such as this one, Jennifer has written 12 books so far, seven as a ghost, but under her own name will publish others, including some for writers. She also has written hundreds of articles and several children’s books, the first of which to be published is Mija, or the Little Apple Tree, a story about a stubborn but morally good young apple tree and the farmer who helped her, due out in the fall of 2018 by Phoenix Flair Press.
Jennifer Harshman is known around the 48 Days community as “That crazy lady who gets up at 2 A.M. to write and edit for six hours before her family even wakes.” Jennifer and her family became Orthodox Christian converts in 2012. She’s on the board at her church and edits and proofreads for Ancient Faith Publishing and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church’s Archdiocese of North America. Connect with her on Facebook or at www.harshmanservices.com
Accomplishments and confidence
Now, whether or not that draft will undergo any alteration, I don’t know. It is a first draft, after all. What I do know is this: I can be proud of my accomplishments, and you can be proud of yours. So keep doing the wonderful things you do, and write your own bio once in a while. It can give you a boost!