Have you ever watched the faith of a child? I'm not just speaking of going to church but in all things with life. They believe they can do it...so they do. And when they fail they get up, brush themselves off, and jump right back into the fight. If only we, as adults, could have the same faith that they do.
How many times have you given up before you even started? Convinced yourself that following your dream was completely insane or too far out of reach? How do you feel when you give up on yourself?
I know what failure feels like. I lived with it for years, denying the desires of my heart because I listened to the little voices in my head telling me that I wasn't good enough. But children don't seem to have those little voices. Or if they do, their own shouts drown them out.
We can learn so much from our little ones. My son, who has an imagination that I could only dream of, decided this morning that he wants to write a book with mommy. He can't put together words yet, or color within the lines, but he has a dream.
As a mother, I'd be remiss not to encourage this dream. He sits for hours drawing his little pictures of dinosaurs, super heroes or sharks. He's passionate about his pictures in the same way I am with words. A perfect pair.
Yes, no one may buy his book, except the grandparents and big hearted family members, but that's not the point. My son needs to know that if you have a dream you can find a way to achieve it. So this afternoon, when we return home from pre-school, I plan on helping my little man write his first book. It will be a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.
How about you? Did you have anyone special in your life that encouraged your dreams? Did you reach them?
And if you didn't have anyone in your life spurring you on...let me be that person. I may not know you or ever meet you, but I believe in you. Why? Because everyone has a gift. I believe that each and every person on this planet was created for a specific reason and that reason is to be YOU!
Not the you that you are told to be or the you that has been molded to fit your boss's extreme expectations. I want you to be the person that daydreams of what life could be and makes a promise to try. Even if it's nothing more than taking 5 minutes today to research your field.
Do you need to go back to college? Take a summer class? Do an apprenticeship? Speak to the leaders in your field?
Whatever it takes...do it.
For those of you who want to follow the writing path:
· Start writing each day. Set aside a few minutes and write about anything. Most people thinking a writing career is easy...it's not! Discipline, dedication, long hours, brain overload, cramping fingers...am I making this sound enticing yet? Haha. The most important first step is to commit to writing something every day. It's a routine. Stick to it.
· Write what you love not just what you know. I'm a firm believer that your best writing will come from what you are passionate about. Do you obsessive over fishing, knitting, fantasy books, comics, etc? Think about the section in the library that you always visit. That's your genre. (If you're not spending any time in a bookstore or library and you want to be a writer then you need to start now. The best writers are avid readers!)
· Don't worry about being technical during your rough draft. Just let the words flow out of you. There will be plenty of time to edit later.
· Begin to research publishing. Do you want to try to find an agent and go with a traditional publisher or do you want to give ebooks a try? Either way, you need to have a solid grasp on not only how to publish but also the market. Do your research.
· Have you managed to finish your manuscript rough draft? Do a dance. No seriously, do it! That's a huge accomplishment. Writing a full length book is nothing to belittle. That takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I'm proud of you!
· This is where it can get tough. You've written a book that you love and now it's time to start slicing and dicing. Ouch! I've been there. Trust me, this step can get gruesome. Strip your novel down to the bare bones without compromising it's integrity. Word count is crucial if you are going to try to find an agent. Do your research!
· Think you've filleted your novel enough? Now comes the real test. Give your book to a few people that you trust and who will be brutally honest with you. Hearing "oh that's lovely" or "that would be a hit" isn't helpful. It's great to hear but you need to get to the nitty gritty. What didn't flow? What was confusing? Where should you add more depth or pull back?
· Take all comments on board and decide how you want to adjust your novel. My suggestion...adjust it to whatever degree makes you uncomfortable. Huh? Did that make sense? Let me explain. If you read through you're novel and don't take any of their comments on board AND you're perfectly happy with it...there is something very wrong. What you think of your novel doesn't matter. It's what your readers think. Remember why you are writing. Is it for you or to entertain your readers?
· Once you're certain that everything is smooth and shiny set your novel aside. Bury it in your bottom drawer and work on something else. Uncover it a few weeks or months later and give it a read through. Trust me...you will want to make some adjustments! Before you were too close to it but now you have some perspective.
· Are you done now? Nope! This is where the fun begins. No matter which form of publishing you want to pursue, it's going to take a lot of hard work, dedication and thick skin, especially if you are going to look for an agent. You will hear "no" more times than you ever care to. You will get cold form letter responses that will leave you in a teary puddle on your floor. Does that mean you give up? Heck no! Believe in yourself. Persevere!
Perseverance for a writer means on thing. Published.
You have a dream. Set your goals and reach them. The only thing stopping you, especially with the introduction of self-publishing, is YOU!