Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Living the Dream

When I first started my writing career back in 1991, I dreamed of someday being famous. I dreamed of piles of fan mail from kids everywhere and walking into bookstores where I would see a row of my book titles.

But then I found that writing is more than just writing what I feel, what I enjoy, what I dream. It's learning the craft, it's research, it's studying markets, it's find editors and publishers who like what I'm saying and how I say it.

Back then, every little sale; whether a short story to an obscure literary magazine or a personal experience essay in a church take home paper was something to celebrate. I still hoped for those mega book sales, but acceptance letters and the sight of something I'd written printed in a publication that people I didn't know would be reading made my head swim.

Then after awhile, the quest for publication became a goal and a challenge. I'd had tons of those short pieces published in lots of magazines and anthologies and newspapers. I was still hoping for the big time.

When that first book sale finally came, that amazing phone call, I was delirious and right away imagined my career had suddenly exploded onto new heights.

But the road was still tough and still is. Yet, I love it too much to give up.

19 book sales later with nearly 2000 articles, essays and stories printed, I've been slowly learning that the joy of writing is once again a joy of writing. I'm not a household name. My books have had some fun things go along with them, taken me on some fun adventures, but titles aren't on the lips of every child.

For a time, my sales have changed to work for hire sales with educational markets. At first I was embarrassed to say aloud where my contracts were coming from. But with the joy of each book, I've found that yes, again, it's the joy of writing that still thrills me.

And then I realized the other day that yes, I'm living my dream. I'm a writer. This is what I do every day. I get to come up with ideas and put them on paper and sometimes, they are published and other people read them. How amazing is that?

When I keep focused on that, I am back to being thrilled with every sale. As writers we sometimes compare our career to those who are more famous or our work to those big award winning books. And though it's not a bad thing to shoot for the stars, reach for the moon, and climb every mountain; it's even more exciting to find joy in the moment.

As I hold my newest work for hire contract, I feel that joy and it's amazing. Are you living your dream?


TheWriteChris...On Writing said...

So many times in a career we don't meet the expectations we hoped we would achieve. Who doesn't sometimes dream of becoming world famous? Yet, I still prefer my anonymity. The big bucks, that would be nice, too. The best part though is doing something that you have a passion to do. So I say, write on again and again!

Shirley said...

You said it for me, too--perfectly. It's a great career.

Debbie Simler-Goff said...

Thanks Kathryn for this post! I too had visions of incredible fame dancing in my head for quite some time. But somewhere along the way, acceptance with joy settled over me and now I'm happy to be utilizing my gift to the best of my abilities at this present moment. Not necessilarly to the heights of achievement of others, but to whatever the good Lord allows. Your post validates this for me. Thanks!