“I’ve learned that we need to examine closely the seeds planted in childhood;
those early dreams might be the best indicator of where we can find life and fulfillment now.”
When I was in the fourth grade, my dream was to become a writer. That year, I won a story writing contest. My piece was published in a local student anthology. I attended a luncheon with my teacher, where we met a real, live author. A seed had been planted.
I spent the next couple of years writing, encouraged by my teachers. The dream of being a writer rooted deeper into my soul.
And then in seventh grade, my poem was rejected from the more competitive secondary school anthology. (No doubt for the best, I can say in hindsight.) I was thin-skinned and lacked resilience, and I quickly surrendered all dreams of becoming a published author. I let that tiny dream be plucked from my heart by one early failure.
Sometimes A Dream Takes A Long, Winding Road
Whatever roots might have been left of that dream shriveled in the years that followed. As I grew older, I came to better understand that writing was a difficult career. I realized that publication wasn’t as easy as my early success might have made me believe.
I still wrote—journals and letters and college papers and long-winded emails during a semester abroad, and eventually social media posts—but it was mostly private, or for a very small audience.
When I was an adult, a mentor looked me in the eye and said, “You have a book in you.” In that moment, something shifted. The seed I thought had died had perhaps only been buried deep, lying dormant.
I thought it would be “cool” to write a book, but I didn’t know how to go about publication. Nor did I have any story ideas. With a dearth of story ideas and no understanding of the publishing world, it was obvious to me that it would NEVER happen.
And then, last August, I had an idea for a story, and I wanted to write it. I told my husband that if I woke up early every morning and wrote just one page per day, I would have a book at the end of a year. He encouraged me to go for it. When a local writing school advertised their online novel writing class a few weeks later, he encouraged me to go for that, too.
In my writing class, I learned the fundamentals of novel writing and how to market myself as a writer. I created a website and social media channels, and I blog weekly and post regularly. Over the course of those nine months, I also wrote a novel. I’m now editing it in preparation to query agents. In a year of collective global struggle, I received the gift of flourishing as I rediscovered a dream. That latent seed sprouted and began to grow.
As long as I believed I would NEVER be a published author, it was true. I NEVER took any steps toward achieving that goal, believing it to be unattainable. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’m still not a published author, but today I’m miles closer to that dream than I was a year ago. I don’t have any guarantee of the eventual outcome—that tiny seed planted long ago in elementary school—but I can confidently say that I’m working toward the fulfillment of that dream.
I’ve learned that, with the right resources and mindset, I can make significant progress in the direction of my goals. I’ve learned, through writing, editing, meeting deadlines, and receiving critique, that I can do the hard work. I’ve learned that we need to examine closely the seeds planted in childhood; those early dreams might be the best indicator of where we can find life and fulfillment now.