I am a huge fan of the GO! Teen Writers blog and am thrilled they have published a Go! Teen Writers book. I'm even more thrilled that Jill is here today talking about respecting your writing dreams. If that isn't enough Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson are graciously allowing me to giveaway an e-copy of their book to one commenter.
Leave a comment from now until Friday, March 28th and you'll be entered for a chance to win!
About Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson:
Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson have written a combined two dozen speculative and contemporary novels for teens. They also blog obsessively at www.goteenwriters.com. When not writing or blogging, they can be found at the teen table at writer's conferences or wherever chocolate is being given away. Come hang out with Stephanie at www.stephaniemorrill.com and Jill at www.jillwilliamson.com.
5 Ways to Respect Your Dream
By Jill Williamson
You may have heard my story about how I wanted to be a fashion designer when I grew up. How I chased that dream to New York City, then to Los Angeles, worked in the industry, and eventually started my own business.
After I left the fashion industry and started writing, I daydreamed, big time, about how successful I was going to be once I got published. I just knew I was the next J.K. Rowling. So I took my half-finished book to a writers conference and pitched it to an agent.
And I got rejected, big time.
Shortly after I had a major pity party, a huge “Ah ha!” moment seized me.
I hadn’t respected my dream of writing a book.
I had totally respected my dream of becoming a fashion designer. I learned to sew when I was nine. I made or remodeled my own clothes. I designed my gowns for formal dances. I studied famous designers and could tell you the life story of people like Coco Channel, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren. I learned to draw and how to design fashion collections. I went to fashion college and graduated. I worked in the industry and started my own businesses.
I knew fashion well.
But writing? I’d written half a book and expected to publish it for a million dollars. Ha! Talk about ignorant.
So over the next five years, I put in time respecting my dream. I finished my book. I edited it. I joined several critique groups, let people read and edit my story, then I rewrote it again. I read books on the craft of writing fiction. I had some articles and short stories published in magazines. I submitted my story and got rejected a ton. And I wrote more books.
Eventually, the sixth book I wrote got published.
Here are five tips to help you respect your dream:
1. Declare what it is that you want to achieve.
I meet a lot of people who like a lot of things. They say, “Well, I like writing, but I also want to be an actor and write screenplays and be a singer too.” That’s great. And you have a long life ahead of you and might very well do all those things. But you can’t do all of them now and do them well. Pick the one you like best and go for it. Declare your dream to yourself and others. Make it known. And be loyal to it until you’ve given it your all.
2. Believe in yourself even if no one else does.
People might laugh at your dream. Who cares? Find people who’ll support you, and talk to them when you get discouraged. You have to believe that achieving your dream is possible. If you doubt yourself, you’ll make excuses to give up.
3. Learn all you can about your dream—and don’t stop learning
Learn by doing, reading, and learning. Go to college for it, if you can. If not, read books on the topic of your dream. Become an expert. Interview people in your chosen profession. See if you can job shadow someone. Look for workshops or conferences that will help you learn more about how to achieve your dream. There is always more to learn, no matter how old you are or how many years you’ve been a professional. Remain teachable.
4. Practice your dream—and don’t stop improving
Do the thing! Sit down and get it done. If you’re writing books, write! Finish the book. Edit the book. Then write another and another. Don’t stop. Practice makes perfect, so keep at it. There is always ways to improve, no matter how many books you might have in print.
5. Don’t give up
As Journey sings, “Don’t stop believing.” Keep at it. There will be hard times. But if you love your dream and are passionate about it, you’ve got to keep at it, no matter what. Even if you can only work at it for fifteen minutes a day. Do that. It adds up.
Don’t procrastinate and don’t neglect your dream. Respect it by declaring it, by believing in yourself and finding people who believe in you, by learning all you can and more, by practicing and perfecting your craft, and by never giving up. You can do it!