A friend of mine just hiked to Everest base camp. Pretty amazing! I’m sure I would have given up after the first day. Even on his days of acclimation, he had to hike. No rest for the weary. He posted his reflections on Facebook today and I think a lot of his reflections and philosophies outline the journey many writers are on.
1) Don’t give up your dreams or let them die from inactivity; pursue them until they become a reality.
This really happened to me. I wrote The Weaver back in 2008 and Ruby Slips and Poker Chips a year or so after that. There was one year when I didn’t have a full-time teaching job, so I only substituted. During this year I wrote like there was no tomorrow. It is a passion for me. And I worked hard to get an agent. I sent my query letters, chapters, and synopsis to agent after agent. I wanted to do the whole Stephen King nail on the wall thing, but stuck the rejection letters in a drawer instead. My dream seemed to slip through my fingers and it wasn’t until I saw my friend Dan Alatorre’s writing contest on Facebook last July that I started to have hope again (just a FYI, I didn’t know Dan before the writing contest – we’re friends now.) Winning that contest has me writing again. Have you stopped writing? What might give you hope again?
2) Set a goal; have a destination; make a plan.
We always have the best laid plans. I wanted to write during the summer, but there was a house to clean, or a vacation to go on, or time to spend with my children. You have to make writing a priority if it is a priority. We can waste our life away on meaningless stuff, or we can get intentional about what really matters. I know that I can easily get sucked into watching Netflix or checking Facebook.
I’ve started journaling. I’m not perfect at it, but I write down my goals. John Lee Dumas’s journal called the Freedom Journal can help you accomplish a specific goal in 100 days. Here’s a link: www.thefreedomjournal.com
My goals might be overarching goals, or goals for that day, but I have them. Creating goals and thinking about the steps to get there is half the battle. After you do that, you have to execute. Back in 2015 I had the goal of losing 15 pounds. I weighed 152 pounds back then. I had to write down my anti-weight loss triggers. These were the things I had to avoid. These included ice cream, restaurants, the school lounge, absent-minded snacking, and cheese. Try writing down the anti-writing triggers for you. What keeps you from meeting your goals?
3) It’s important to have an experienced guide, someone who has taken the journey before and knows the way.
DON’T BE AN INTROVERT!!! Good advice from an introvert. I took the risk and reached out to Dan by entering his contest. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life (as far as my writing goes). But listen to what I just said . . . I reached out to him. He didn’t send me an email day after day reminding me to enter his contest. I had to do it. One of the things that kept me from self-publishing was I had no idea what to do. I kept telling myself that I was going to get together with my friend Allison who has had success, but as I said in #2, best laid plans.
Last week, I went to my first critique group. I read aloud a chapter from The Weaver and the friend I went with was amazed I could do that. Don’t let critique from an experienced guide bother you. They are helping! Because this group was mostly picture book and early reader authors, I hope to find a YA or novel critique group. Have you found someone to mentor you who has found success where you want to succeed?
Tomorrow I will give you my thoughts on my friend’s next three philosophies. Are you still pursing your dream? Do you set goals? Who helps you along the way? I’d love to hear your advice.