Saturday, December 3, 2011

From Where I'm Standing [4] - The First of Many

Thanksgiving has just passed, and like every year, it was accompanied by a lot of, well, thanks. I've read several tweets and blog posts giving thanks for anything and everything. Being that I am a writer, aspiring author, and blogger, the majority that I have seen are from those that fit in one or more of those three categories.

This post isn't about giving thanks (though I have a lot to be thankful for) but relates to the post Beth Revis did called "Thankful for Dreams" on her (very cool) blog.  If you haven't read it, go do so. I'll wait.

I agree with Revis that having a dream is paramount. Dreams, goals, whatever you want to call them, are internal motivators and things we can see and move toward on the horizon. And it is that feeling, that sensation of standing on the peak and seeing ahead in the distance the next point in the journey, that I have come to treasure. I'm standing right now on the the first of many points in my journey to being an author.

While I like to think I am equally reasonable and emotional, always using the best of both worlds, I would be lying if I said those things that speak to me in an intangible, and sometimes reasonless, way, were not what moved me the most. A good argument rarely wins me over unless the argument, almost literally, moves my feelings or thoughts to agree. But a sunrise? A song? A dream? Moved like a mountain into the sea.

Nothing moves me and motivates me to continue my journey to becoming an author more than that feeling of being on the precipice, on the edge of that next step. The step I'm on is rather far from my goal, since I don't yet have anything even close to ready for the querying stage, but just standing and being able to see the general road ahead pushes me to complete the step I'm on now.  That step involves finishing my first draft of my second novel, finishing the second draft of my first novel, the moving on to edit and revise that first novel, which may take who knows how many times to get a polished product.

But I can see that polished manuscript in the distance. I know that if I keep working, keep writing and reading and writing some more, it will get better, and the ebb and flow of working on it will produce the polished rock out of the jagged mess it once was. I don't want to put time limits on this, since the process is the process and it can take as long or as little as it feels like. But if I work, it will get done. And knowing myself and how long it has taken me to get this far, I think I will be able to start querying sometime in 2013. I know that sounds like a long way off, but really it's not. I hope that I can stay motivated so that maybe, something great (who knows what - maybe getting an agent, maybe finishing the series I'm working on - maybe something else altogether) will happen in 2014 (fourteen is my favorite number and this will also be the year of my ten year high school reunion). But only I can make that happen. If I don't work, then it won't happen.

This idea, this fact, that working on it will be the only way to get there is something I knew but was reiterated to my spirit when I went to the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville this past October. On a panel I went to, Myra McEntire (author of Hourglass) was asked by a member of the audience how an aspiring author could get published, like if they had to know someone in the business or what. Myra's answer?

Do. The. Work. 

Myra said she didn't personally know anyone with a book out there who hadn't done the work. No work equaled no book equaled no completion of goal. Dreams require work. If something is really your dream, is really that huge glowing thing in distance you want to run at and realize, you must do the work, whatever that work may be.

For me, the work is writing the same scene fifteen times, hating and loving my story, dreaming about my characters but being unable to remember how to spell the weird names. My work is going to be face-punching self doubt, reading a book on craft because I can always write better, reading as many YA books as I can, supporting my fellow aspiring authors and those who have their books on the shelves, helping others reach their goals, and never forgetting that I am the only one who can make my dream a reality.

So I'm going to use this first of many steps, this feeling of forward motion and of great things to come, of having something so immense and beautiful waiting for me, to walk, run, stumble, and crawl through this journey.

To do the work.


  1. This is such a poignant and moving post. I agree with you whole heartedly. Having a dream is one thing but working towards it is another. With all the distractions out there these days it's hard to put a time limit on anything. But even small steps add up.

  2. Thanks Lan! All we can do is keep moving! ^_^


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