Growing up, I was the kid who spent 80% of the day in my imagination. I wrote stories all the time about distant worlds and fantastical people. I dreamed big dreams for my future. In third grade, I decided I was going to be an author one day. Now, at twenty-four, I have realized that dream. But what does that mean exactly? What does it mean to make a dream part of your reality? For a long time, I operated out of the fountain of hope. I hope I’ll be an author one day. I hope people will actually read my stories one day. Sure, I wrote snippets and pieces of novels all growing up, but I never finished one until after I was married.
What changed? In February of 2011, I was discussing my dreams for my writing with my husband. In his endearing and blunt way he told me, “If you’re going to be a published author, you need to just do it. If you’re really serious about this, you’ll make a commitment. Write for an hour a day. Every day. No exceptions. We’ll see what happens.” Never one to back down from a challenge, I accepted and do you know what? It worked. In a year of prioritizing my writing, I finished four complete first drafted manuscripts: three novels and one novella. The first of those manuscripts became my book Night Bells which was published in August of this year.
I realized something after I sat day after day at my desktop or netbook...dreams require hard work. In fact, dreams can’t come true at all unless you pluck them out of your head, give them feet and hands and set them moving in your life. Dreams are achieved only after you attach realistic and achievable goals to them. That’s when the magic started. In my childhood, the dream was: write a book and get published. When you think about it, that’s a pretty big undertaking. So, when my husband challenged me, he changed my thinking. It wasn’t any longer “Write a book. Get published.” It became, start a sustainable habit and see where it goes. In other words, the dream became condensed into an achievable goal.
After I proved to myself that I could keep up my habit of writing an hour a day, I started attaching more goals to my lofty dream of becoming published. I created editing goals, word count goals, and eventually...the deadline goal. I decided to self-publish, because it is such a “me” thing. I love being in control of every aspect of my work and I loved the idea of putting that much confidence behind my novel. Bit by bit and piece by piece, the novel came together and I made more “goals” for my dream.
Finally in the summer of 2012, I knew it was time. I would publish my book before fall came. And I did. I achieved a lifelong dream. If I hadn’t put the work, effort, and time into it, it never would have happened. In order to make a dream reality, you must treat it like a precious treasure. You must cultivate it, invest in it, and most importantly...work on it. Nothing gets done by sitting and “dreaming”. If you want those dreams to come true, get up and do something about them! You can do it. Anyone can do it. If you have some specific writing dream or reading dream...make goals, lists, and priorities and make it happen!
Thanks, Indie Book Blog, for having me as a guest today! I was thrilled to do a guest post for you all! If you’d like to know more about my writing journey, check out my website. If you’d like to read the fruit of my dreaming and hard work, check out my book Night Bells. It is available in print and eBook at Amazon and in eBook at Barnes and Noble.