In which I ponder what I learned at The Book Academy, do some soul-searching, and give out an award.
I am realizing now that my notes for the other classes I attended at the writing conference are woefully inadequate for blog posts. I did want to talk about James Dashner's presentation entitled, "Things I Learned from Springville to New York." Side note: I was sitting in the right place at the right time, and James Dashner invited me to sit with him and some friends for lunch. That was cool. He had a great list covering topics from good writing to finding an agent to marketing your work. What impressed me the most was the story he told of being at a writing conference listening to a famous author go on and on about how great she was, and feeling really depressed because all he had was one small press novel with a bad cover. He said he dealt with that depression by setting a goal. A totally ridiculous goal, in his words, that he would quit his job and write full time within five years. You know what? He did it. Five years later, he quit his job and is writing full time. His book, The Maze Runner will be released this week. I was inspired by that story! I wanted to set a ridiculous goal of my own and make it happen.
Then I hit a snag. I couldn't come up with a goal. Dashner's goal was perfect because it was specific and concrete and measurable. I didn't know what goal to set. "Become a successful author in X amount of years," seemed a little too nebulous to me. How do I define "successful" anyway? I can't set a goal to quit my job, because I can't, in fact quit my job. I don't want to anyway (except sometimes). I'm a stay-at-home mom. I've always wanted to be a stay-home mom. I love being a stay-home mom. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Which got me thinking: Do I have to give up being a stay-home mom to be a successful writer? I mean, obviously this is a job that can be done at home, I'm doing it right now, right? But, really, what if I had to go on a book tour? It seems silly to even think about since no book tour is even remotely on the horizon. It worries me, though. Does being a good writer mean giving up being a good mother? Maybe I should have gone to the class on being a writer and a good parent. There were just too darn many good classes to choose from. I have a hard time defining myself as a working mom. That's just not me. But, obviously becoming a published author would qualify me as working. Sigh. Should I just give it all up to take care of my family? I sure don't want to.
I've been doing some serious soul searching over this. I don't know if I have the answers, but I have come to this conclusion. Writing is too important to me to give up. My family is even more important to me than that. Here's the thing. I think my family is better off for my writing. I am setting an awesome example of perseverance, determination, and following your dreams. My kids are smart, independent and creative. I have to think that comes in part from watching me write and develop my own talents. Most of them are old enough now to read my stuff and enjoy it. I totally love that. Who knows what the future might bring? Stay-home mom is not a job that lasts forever anyway. I'm going to keep chasing this dream, because it makes me happy to do so, and because I believe that it is part of God's plan for me. Even though I often doubt and sometimes despair, I really do believe that in my heart.
So, without further ado, my very own ridiculous goal:
Within two years, I will have a novel published or at least have a contract. Also, I will be presenting at The Book Academy or some other conference of similar size.
Do I have what it takes to make it happen like James Dashner did? He worked hard to achieve his goal. I will too! Woah, it's really kind of scary to put it out there like that.
Writing Roller Coasters was kind enough to give me the Super Comments award. Thanks! Since it's a comments award, I'm going nuts and passing on this award to everyone who commented on my Keynote Address post, my most commented post to date. If you commented on that post, the award is yours. Furthermore, everyone who comments on this post gets the award too!
Phew! The post is finished. Hope I didn't ramble you all to death.