When you invest in your dream, you invite success to come your way.
This is why I’m spending money to drive 1000 miles and attend the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. It’s why I’m willing to separated from my family for a short period of time. It’s why I allowed myself and my writing to be vulnerable by entering a couple of contests. It’s why I’m going to risk making a fool out of myself and pitch my work to agents and editors. It’s why I’m going to cram my days with workshops, classes, and face-to-face time with other writers who are skilled in the craft and business of writing.
Are any of these things guarantees that I will find an agent or a publishing contract this week? No. But by investing in my dream of being a published novelist, I am giving myself opportunities to succeed. The fact is, these writers, agents, and editors aren’t going to show up on my doorstep. I have to invest in my work before I can expect them to do the same.
And as I pack my van, load up the cooler with snacks and Dr. Pepper, stuff my luggage with sample chapters and one-sheets, and plug-in the borrowed GPS, I realize how blessed I am to have a wife and children who support my dream. They cheer me on as I chase this calling–this stewardship of story–and whatever success comes my way, I know it is theirs as much as it is mine.
Writer, invest in your dream, and invite success to come your way also.
I have a friend who carries a plastic spoon and fork around in his shirt pocket. When asked why said cutlery is part of his attire, he responded, “I never know when I’m going to meet up with some food.”
He chuckled, and then added, “You never know when preparation will meet opportunity. And I want to be ready.”
Confucius, eat your heart out. Especially if you have a plastic fork and spoon in your pocket.
Had I not just recently stumbled across a picture of myself, I’d be tempted to adopt my friend’s policy. But the picture was troubling…to say the least. Either I’m smuggling a ham in the front of my shirt or I need to call Jenny Craig. And I don’t remember smuggling any pork products. Therefore I’ve deduced that I haven’t been one to miss any cuisine consuming opportunities. Therefore, I will NOT be carrying silverware around in my pockets.
But I will take his saying and apply it to my writing journey. His “proverb” is very wise counsel indeed for the aspiring writer. I want to stuff my pockets with wisdom gained by experience. I want to work hard to learn AND apply the tools of the trade so that I can be ready when an opportunity to take the next step comes my way. But I can’t just sit around and wait for opportunity to seek me out. No siree, Bob (or Bob-ette)! I’m going to write…and write…and write some more, so that when the door of publication is opened for me, I can step through it.
It means that I can’t just start novels. I have to finish them. I need to have a few completed manuscripts “in my pocket” so that agents and publishers will know that I’m able to work hard and long. I want to show that I can last beyond the adrenaline rush that propelled me through the first few chapters.
Being a good steward of story means that we do the hard work of getting and staying prepared.
Are you prepared to meet opportunity? How do YOU stay prepared? Or, what is keeping you from being prepared? Please share your thoughts.