“I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes ’til I touch the sky
And I’ll make a wish, take a chance, make a change
~Kelly Clarkson, “Breakaway”
Someone asked me recently what my biggest dream in life is. Right here, right now, right at this very moment. And I didn’t hesitate even for a split second before answering that it would be to sign with a literary agent and take the next step toward getting With a Little Bit of Luck published. Of course, there was the sidenote about Prince Charming being dream number two, but we’ll leave him up to fate for the time being. The point is that there was never any question in my mind as to what that ultimate career goal is. There was the realization that it was an answer that’s different from what it would have been a few years ago, and also the understanding that that’s okay – but never once was there any hesitation.
Before I started writing my novels, I never would have envisioned how much work goes into it or how complex the road to publication is. Beyond the actual writing, there’s rounds upon rounds of editing, query letters and synopses, the quest for representation, and so much more – and that’s all before the process moves on to the next round! It’s so much more than I ever imagined, but it’s also so much more fulfilling than I ever imagined. Nothing can possibly compare to that feeling when you write the last word of the last chapter. It’s unlike anything I can describe, other than to say it’s a moment that somehow feels both surreal and monumental at the same time. Taking the idea that was once nothing more than a seed of inspiration, allowing it to blossom and transforming the story into words on a page – there’s honestly nothing like it. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t gotten a special feeling of accomplisment and joy from other goals that have been achieved and milestones that have been reached. I have, and I’m blessed to say I have so many memories I’ll treasure always. But with novel writing, it’s different in a unique way. It’s an entity all its own, and one that makes the long, complicated, and sometimes frustrating journey to publication so worth it.
That’s why the answer to that question came to me so easily. It’s because, even with the risks this journey requires and the dozens of stepping stones that must be reached along the way, I honestly can’t think of anything else I would rather do. It’s worth it to me to face the possibility of failure. It’s worth it to me to put in the hours, days, weeks, months, years of hard work that it will take to make my dream of being a published author a reality. Even as someone who has so much more to learn about this industry, I can clearly see that it’s worth it. Because getting to share that story that’s grabbed a hold of me and won’t let go? Getting to put my work of heart out there and hear that it affected someone, even in the smallest way? Getting to write for the pure joy and love of writing? Totally worth the risk of failure. Totally worth putting myself out there. So totally worth it.
So as I continue to query agents (and obsessively check my email as I wait for a response from one in particular — extra fingers crossed for her, since she has my partial!!), I’m also going to continue dreaming of what could be. I’m going to continue doing what it takes ’til I reach the sky. I’m going to make a wish and take a chance – and with a little bit of luck, hopefully make the change that I want more than anything. Because when you know whole-heartedly what you want to do with the rest of your life, how can you not pursue it?
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? What’s your biggest dream in life right now?