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Livin’ the Dream!

Never give up on your dreams - even if they change!

My writing dreams began in the mid-eighties when I started writing a novel as a creative outlet.  Before long, I dreamt of seeing my book in print someday, but for a very long time that seemed unrealistic. Just finishing was a daunting task as I snatched bits and pieces of time midst a busy life of motherhood, homeschooling, ministry, and part time work.

But once that dream had been planted, it never vanished. Years later I finally had a finished manuscript. Then I took a giant leap and shared my precious baby. That’s when I really found out what perseverance means. Rejection, discouragement and feelings of inadequacy became the norm. The school of hard knocks can be a cruel teacher, but is an effective one if you don’t let it crush you. I was learning so much that I couldn’t give in. It came down to a willingness to learn from my mistakes and carry on. There’s no room for pride or defeat.

Twenty-some years after the dream’s inception, it finally became reality when my first book got published. This was before the self publishing revolution was wide spread, so I was fortunate to get a traditional book deal, even though the publisher wasn’t one of the ‘big six’. Still, I’m grateful since I learned a lot about the industry by working with editors, agents etc. What seemed like a pipe dream all those years before was suddenly coming true. I thought I’d finally “made it”.

Until… a new reality settled in very shortly after! I naively thought I could just sit back and let the royalties roll in! What a wake up call! Apparently, I was set to traverse another huge learning curve about marketing and promotion. I also realized that becoming rich and famous probably weren’t part of the equation.

Fast forward to the present. Thirty-five years later, the writing dream is still alive and well. I am still compelled to write, but also still need to engage a good measure of self discipline in order to find the time, even though my children are grown and I’ve retired from teaching public school. Marketing and promotion are still a huge part of the game, and I keep learning new things everyday, just barely staying ahead of the curve. Some things never change!

Although the dream to write is still there, my expectations have changed, I think. The combined royalties from my twenty plus books and plays are higher than they were, but I haven’t become rich and famous – and that’s okay with me. I’m not concerned about the money.

My new dream is to just keep on writing as many books as I possibly can before I run out of strength! (It is doubtful I will ever run out of ideas!) With the current DIY publishing options available, I can do this without having to wait for the gatekeepers (a.k.a. agents and publishers) to let me in. I’ve already republished several of my own titles as the rights have reverted back to me, and I plan to keep on publishing new books as I write them.

If there is anything I hope readers take away it’s this: Don’t give up on your dreams! Dreams change and mature, but that doesn’t mean they have to die. As my friend Russ always says, “I’m livin’ the dream!” (And he just had a heart transplant!)

This post was first published on Inscribe Writers Online on August 21, 2020. I liked it so I’ve republished it here!

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