A Writer’s Dream

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. Maybe it started when I learned how to read, or before that, when I received my first journal at age five. It was a beautiful little red velvet book with the words, My Diary, spun in gold thread across the center.

With painstaking effort, I wrote one and two sentence entries, filling about half the book. Journaling would become a lifelong habit, but my deepest love was for fiction.

A small sampling of a vast journal collection.

A small sampling of a vast journal collection.

Books became my escape, my most loyal companion. I loved losing myself in someone else’s words, falling into another world. At mealtime, I almost always had a book poised in front of my face. Somehow my parents allowed this. Perhaps my devotion to reading amused them, but I know most of all it made them proud.

Me, age 4, getting a head start on my dream.

Me age 4, reading in bed, circa March 1979

Now here I am living the first part of my dream. I’m a writer. I write. Even during those hibernation years after having my first child, I wrote blog posts and kept journals. Writing is how I process life; writing is the mirror I use to see the world.

But there is another part of my dream. One that I’ve held onto since I was a young girl devouring Young Adult books in my room, collecting them on my shelves.

I want my book there, too.

When I was about ten years old, I knew this. On the inside of my dresser, which I had transformed into a bookcase, I wrote the following affirmation on an index card:

“I will publish a book by the time I am eleven years old.”

As you can imagine, this story did not end well. The next year I crossed out “eleven” and wrote twelve,” and so on, until I finally ripped the card off and threw it away.

Looking back, I feel such empathy for my younger self, so full of big dreams. Isn’t that one of the beautiful things about childhood? How we believe anything is possible?

My little reader and budding artist.

My girl, reader, dreamer, and artist.

After graduating from college as an English major, naturally, I applied for and was offered a job at the local Barnes & Noble. I loved this job, and it was with regret that I gave my notice several months later when I got a publishing job in New York City. But working there, surrounded by books, I superimposed my name on the spines I arranged. My index card dream was still alive.

Here I am, nearly two decades later, writing with more confidence and joy than ever. I’ve had stories published in journals, which is thrilling, but I haven’t made it inside a bookstore – yet. That dream remains to be seen.

The truth is I have little control over this part. It’s based on the whims of others, on the now shaky venue of traditional publishing.

It may not happen.

All I can do is reach for it with my words. All I can do is keep writing.

What are your dreams? If you’re a writer, is traditional publishing your goal, or is self-publishing a viable option?

 

the prompt

 

I’m sharing this post on Mum Turned Mom’s The Prompt, whose word this week is Dream. Click here to see what other writers have to say…

 

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36 thoughts on “A Writer’s Dream

  1. I have been in love with expression and reading ever since I was a toddler. My dream is to publish a book by the time I am 16. I sure hope it can come true. 🙂

    But I really dont want it to be self published.

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  2. I’ve always wanted to publish a book—or as many as I could. I just have to finish the manuscripts already! But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that being a literary agent would be just as wonderful—help others reach their goals, too! We’ll see.

    Whitney | witandtravesty.com

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    • I think being a literary agent sounds like a pretty fantastic job. I know of several agents who are also published authors. It can definitely go hand in hand! Good luck 🙂

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  3. Wow Dana, you really have always wanted to be a writer!! I’m sure your dream will be realised.

    I self – published my book for several reason. We are fortune enough to live in an exciting era where it is a viable option, and I find it sad that it’s often regarded as a last resort.

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    • I sure hope so! But we shall see. I think self-publishing is a great option. It sometimes gets a bad rap from those who use it thoughtlessly, without proper editing, etc, which I know you did not. Congrats on your book! It looks fantastic.

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      • Thanks so much Dana. I put a lot of effort into it, and truth be told, spent a fair bit on the cover and edits. It’s such a shame that people self-pub without making the book as good as it can be first 😦

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      • Yes, that is the problem, isn’t it? Some people are just so eager to get their work out there, they don’t put in the time, effort, and financial contribution to make it shine as others, like yourself, have done.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Never lose hope Dana. I have found that when I really want to achieve a goal, that I need to surrender it. Its not to say you stop moving forward or opening doors but rather a trust in a bigger process. Your writing is wonderful 🙂

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    • Oh, thank you so much! I think surrender is a good point, especially regarding traditional publishing. If I can surrender that idea, I can focus all of my energy and passion on the words themselves, not where they will end up.

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  5. It’s great that you are fulfilling your dream to be a writer. Maybe you haven’t got that book out there yet, but you are working towards that goal. It takes time and it’s not easy – as I have found, having been working on my own manuscript for some time. Keep going and doing what you are doing and I’m sure you will get there.

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  6. like you books were my escape as a child as well. In books i could be anyone I wanted and didnt get bullied at school! I wish you so much luck with your writing and hope you do get published on day very soon

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  7. It’s so wonderful to read about your dream, and how you are fulfilling it. As Nicola says, you might not have that book out there yet, but it will come. You are a writer. I love your line ‘Writing is how I process life; writing is the mirror I use to see the world.’ This really resonated with me; writing gives me clarity. Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

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  8. Yes, just keep writing. I’m impressed by the network you’ve already built. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t achieve your dream.

    I was similar to you with diaries, journals, letter writing- but I actually never considered being a writer. I most closely associated with poet when I was younger. Then I was thinking about law school or Phd in English Lit- while I was miserable at Random House and looking for a way out, I discovered MFA programs. I admit I went that route because it was only 2 years of school. But it was the first time I thought of myself as a “writer” even though I’d been a songwriter and knew I loved words.

    Only in the last couple of years have I come to see being a writer as who I am. My struggle, I find, is that as a writer with a writerly personality, it really goes against my nature to market and promote my writing. So, in terms of the whole business side of it, I am intimidated. At the same time, I spend so many hours on the writing and feel like I bleed sometimes when I write that it’d be nice to get some acknowledgement/or money. But then I think, OK- so first I have to do all this writing- and THEN i have to go out and figure out how to get it out there? It overwhelms me, and it’s something I’m working on right now.

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    • I think my love for books and stories translated into, “I must do that too!” You were a song writer, too, right? So poetry makes a lot of sense.

      For years I thought, no way MFA, but that was mainly b/c my (kinda shitty, but not totally ill intentioned) college professor told me I shouldn’t bother applying, but after I melted that chip off my shoulder I started a wonderful MFA program when I was 30, and it was the best thing I did for myself, and at just the right time.

      You are such a talented writer, it is clear in your posts, and I’m sure in what you’ve written beyond your blog. You have touched so many with your words already, and why not be recognized for it, why not get paid for it?

      It is challenging though, to figure out how to come to terms with the writer self and the professional self. I am looking forward to hearing how you work it all out…

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  9. Never give up on the dream! You are clearly a talented writer and I’m sure you’ll get there. I think it’s wonderful the way the world of publishing has opened up now and I think self publishing is a wonderful option. Many writers end up with a traditional publishing deal having gone down the self-pub route first and others do both at once. The world is your oyster. I predict your childhood dream will come true. xx

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  10. Same! Although I never thought it would happen by age 11. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and a photographer – with my books on shelves and my photos on walls. The photos things have happened! I am in one anthology and just accepted into two more so I’ll be in three books come spring.
    None my own books, though. I hope that’s my next goal.

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    • Clearly, I was a bit ahead of myself with the whole book-by-eleven thing 🙂 Congrats on your anthologies! That is so exciting, and having your own book next is a fantastic goal.

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  11. So much has changed since I first started writing in about 2007. At that point, self-publishing was really seen as a desperate option. The landscape has changed tremendously. I don’t have a book in me at this point, but yes, it is something I would consider. I would probably try traditional first though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hasn’t it? I remember in 2000 (!) when iUniverse first came out and it was like, oh how cool, and then oh wait, how pathetic. But now it’s a totally different world, and I too will try traditional first, but I wouldn’t rule out self publishing. When people do it right, it can be incredibly successful.

      Liked by 1 person

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