I assume most folks reading this blog are either writers, want-to-be writers, mystery fans, fans of writers in general, or someone who might be looking for a life.
The dream of becoming a published writer can be a fun thing to entertain–especially if you don’t know any actual writers. Your imagination can go anywhere, picturing the wonderful life you would lead as a published writer. Everyone daydreams as they go through life. I certainly did. As a kid, I daydreamed of all sorts of careers I might one day pursue. The younger you are, the more unrealistic your ambitions will seem to your older self.
When I was 6 years old, I saw Margaret O’Brien in a movie. She was a kid my age, didn’t look all that different from me, and she got to do “pretend” stuff. I was big into “pretend” stuff. Then when I was 8 years old, I saw Miracle on 34th Street. Nine-year-old Natalie Wood played the part of Maureen O’Hara’s daughter. I adored Maureen O’Hara. She very closely resembled my own mother, and I daydreamed endlessly about playing the part of her daughter in movies.
Fast forward to reality and the adult years. A “movie star” career was not in the cards. But the idea of becoming a writer wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. So during boring tasks like washing dishes and folding laundry, I’d dream about my fabulous career as a writer. Rich, famous, toast of the town (which town I never gave thought to) and hiring people to do what I was currently engaged in doing. Yes, that was the life for me. Just become a famous writer.
Those dreams were so far behind me when I actually became a published writer. By that time, I knew a thing or two about how this journey would likely play out. Number one, rich and famous wasn’t even on the list anymore. When you consider the number of writers in this world who are actually able to completely live on their earnings as a writer, you realize the daunting challenge of it all.
Getting people interested in reading what I wrote was the thing for me. If everybody in the country each bought one copy of my first book but never read it, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? I’d make a one-time killing in sales, but nothing else.
I realized years ago the important thing is to pursue your dreams. The best way to do that is visualize what you actually want, and get busy doing it. And strangely enough, even a very low list writer like me (meaning not well known at all) can be admired by the people who read their work. On more than one occasion I’ve been asked to pose for a photo with someone who just bought one of my books. They are so impressed that I’ve written and been published. They think I’m the “somebody” I always wanted to be.
It’s a pretty terrific feeling to encounter a fan like that. It bolsters my confidence and does wonders for the ego.
Whatever your dream is, make a plan and see what happens. You never know how it’ll play out.