Living the Dream

 By: Sandra Yuen MacKay


  – “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” – Alexander The Great –

  Believing in your abilities goes a long way as a writer. I posted this quote on a sticky note beside my computer. It comes in handy when the agony of writer’s block takes over. I procrastinate, distract myself and find twenty things to do other than write. The screen remains blank until my muse returns.

  This saying is also useful when I receive rejection letters from publishers. Writing the “Great American Novel” is a desirable goal. However, how many of us invest the time and effort to make this dream a reality?

 One of my first creative writing instructors told me that my work was good enough to publish. I sent out submissions to magazines and journals.

  I was having coffee with a friend who asked me how the writing was going. “I don’t think I’m cut out to be an author,” I said. “I got rejected three times from this art magazine.”

  She shook her head. “You’re giving up after three rejection letters? Go and talk to them. Introduce yourself and keep sending them your writing!”

  Soon after I was published in that magazine and other print publications as well. I also taught creative writing and began to write more complex, longer works.

  It’s great to have the talent to write, but monetary success partially depends on marketing skills. It would be a perfect world, if we all had agents and publishers looking out for our best interests. However, the reality is no one will know you as a writer unless you put yourself out there. In ways, it’s like running a business.

  So you’ve fostered your writing and found a unique voice. Perhaps you’ve shown your stories and/or poems to fellow writers and received advice and suggestions. You’ve taken writing courses and participated in writers’ forums. Now is the time to approach publishers if that is your goal.

  Make sure your work is the best it can be. Judge it not as the author, but as a skeptical reader. What makes it memorable? What is not essential? Who is your audience?

  Skill as a writer can be learned. Natural talent puts you in good company. There are good writers who aren’t published and there are not so good writers who are published. Don’t be afraid of failure but treat it as a learning experience. If you’re going to dream, dream big. Your goals in writing are within your grasp. It may take time, but nothing is impossible.

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