words of praise for The first ten years

With fierce authenticity and immeasurable courage, Courtney Romano delivers deep truths about the process of creating. The First Ten Years makes a space for you to meet yourself anew. We, as the readers, get to accompany Romano in her journey of waking to herself and her power to create. Humility and humor and gratitude run through her storytelling.

Romano supports us with questions about what lives behind the act of creation. The book’s structure allows us to breathe with Romano; the chapters offer a beautiful, firm architecture for the book. Even the organization of the book’s paragraphs and bullet points give the book a rhythmic and almost musical quality. Everything feels chosen and purposeful and connected. After reading, you might feel as though you collaborated with Romano, because her honesty and ability to empower others in their work infuses each moment.

Unlike other books of its kind, The First Ten Years considers the whole picture in a very alive way. You will not be guided to external goals. You will be invited to look inward, and by asking the right questions, you will begin to chart, redefine, unveil, awaken, write, play, sing, and share with purpose.
— Brigitte Ryan, actor
It will inspire you. It made me want to get up and do things and create things. I needed that kind of kick in the butt and that inspiration.
— Abby Woodhouse, host of Abby Reads

THE FIRST TEN YEARS reached #17 in Kindle Theater books on the first day of release:

First shots of the day in Queens.

First shots of the day in Queens.

From the back cover

Following her story from failed auditions to major stage success and all the day jobs in between, Romano uses her ten years of field research as a New York City actress to understand what it takes to make it in any creative career.

"You have something more to give” is the guiding mantra grounding Romano as she writes a timeless manifesto for creatives. The First Ten Years isn’t selling a six-point plan for success to the reader. It’s selling the reader to the reader. The isolated inner life of creatives (and all who feel the call to give something more) reflects through Romano’s theatrical ups and downs as she uses her missteps and achievements to curate an answer to the age old question, “Will I make it?”

The Day Job Complex, Following Your Sadness and Why No One Likes a Perfectionist are just a few sections that address the nuanced and delicate inner battles that creatives (from actors to entrepreneurs) fight when facing a blank canvas. Pulling those silent soap operas into the open exposes creative turmoil for what it is: an unnecessary block to our greatest work.

Blending anecdotes, creative philosophy and practical tips, each chapter ends with a set of questions and guided reflection designed to push the reader to uncover his or her own creative philosophy -- the philosophy that will ultimately serve as a loyal guide toward the reader’s own creative longevity and fortitude.

Whether you're heading out into the professional world for the first time, at a mid-career crossroads or wondering if it's too late to start your masterpiece, The First Ten Years is the creative call to arms for anyone with that internal voice whispering, “You have something more to give.”

The First Ten Years is a philosophical and practical guide to creative longevity. Using anecdotes from my life as a New York City actress, this book’s purpose is to inspire creatives in any field to get out of their own way, to embrace the realities of creativity as a living in our interconnected, independence-driven world and to step into their rightful place as the author of their own story.