Just Sheep In Wolves’ Clothing.

 “Obstacles are those frightening things we see when we take our eyes off our goals.”

Henry Ford

Being human, it’s all too easy to talk ourselves into and out of things; especially when venturing outside of our comfort zones — you know, those times we’re sure we’re delusional in lieu of inspired, scribblers instead of writers, fooling ourselves instead of honoring our proclivities as we measure success and worth in ways that turn perfectly good dreams into the playthings of children.

When we’re staring into the eyes of our dearest dreams, it’s easy to convince ourselves to give up or to run like hell in the opposite direction, a.k.a., in the direction of the safe and familiar (and adult), whether or not it makes us happy to do so. It’s safer not to put ourselves out there, not to risk failure, not to expose our soul and its multi-colored dreams, not to let ourselves believe we may have what it takes to reach our goals — because falling short could be quite a painful wake-up call, indeed.

What if we don’t make it to our chosen destination? What if Fate and Destiny conjoin in a conspiracy against us with a different outcome in mind?

At least it won’t be because we turned tail and ran. It doesn’t mean we’ll stop writing. And, as long as we keep writing, we make new hope, new possible outcomes, new destinies.

The truth is, there are many, many aspiring writers and only so many books published in a year — approximately 172,000 — and only 1000 of those books sell over 50,000 copies. (Yikes.) Looking at it that way, it sounds sort of bleak …

And yet, it sounds possible. Compared to many other things, such as a singing career (when your singing voice shatters glass), winning 186 million in the state lottery, or owning an elephant AND a zebra, it’s possible. With hard work, sacrifice, doubting moments, inspired moments; with seeing obstacles, if you have to see them, as no more than a shirt and a pair of jeans tossed over a chair; it’s just a shirt and a pair of jeans throwing a respectable shadow, not a midnight marauder waiting to pounce.

Fear is like that; it throws a shadow much larger than the concern, itself. It’s just sheep in wolves’ clothing, life’s well-meaning tests to see if we really, really want something and if we really, really mean it.

It’s the only way to weed out some writers from others as we circle 172,000 musical chairs, poised to spring when the music stops, our sparkly manuscripts hugged to our hearts.

There’s an easy way to lose that chair, and to give up your chances: by seeing those obstacles as wolves in sheep’s clothing, instead. To question yourself endlessly, doubt yourself completely, to turn perfectly good dreams into nightmares. All you’ll do is waste precious time you could be investing in writing, reading and learning craft.

All you’ll do is become your own dream-killer, before fate and destiny have a chance to take over the reins. Thinking about it that way, being an unrequited writer has much more appeal. And, riding the wild dream no matter how it turns out, whether or not it leads to publication, will result in the greatest gift of all: being true to yourself and your dreams, because, as we always hear, it’s the journey, not the destination that counts. It’s also the journey that makes for the BEST writing.

“What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.”

Beethoven

Lucky for us, we can write all about it; we can weave our fear and hope into a poignant pattern that resurrects the dreams of both writers and readers. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream, you know. Who would want it any other way?

” … To feel the width and amusement of human life: not to strain to make a pattern just yet: to be made supple, and to let the juice of usual things, talk, character, seep through me, quietly, involuntarily, before I say Stop and take out my pen.”

 Virginia Woolf

A Writer’s Diary

And so I whisper comforts to myself, as my partial in hard-copy makes its excited way to the big city, New York City, along with my hopes and dreams: at least you continue on the wild ride. At least the journey is exciting and inspired. Don’t forget; don’t forget to value that.

I won’t.

I promise.

The joy of fresh office supplies!

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12 Responses

  1. Em,

    Your posts are always so gorgeous. Love this line, “All you’ll do is become your own dream-killer, before fate and destiny have a chance to take over the reins”.

    How true. It’s terrible the way people talk themselves out of things, or think they need others’ approval.

  2. Good luck on the partial to NYC!

  3. Thank you, Tasha. I approach blogging as serious writing practice, and it’s been great in that regard.

    Overall, though, if it weren’t for you and your pompoms, (and everyone else, too, helping to keep my spirit bolstered) I’d probably be a crumpled, shrunken, neurotic writer.

    As always, your support of my writing means so much to me. : )

    Em

  4. Thank you, Venus! : )

    I just received another full request this morning, so, if this present partial to NYC doesn’t work out, I have two wonderful agents in waiting for June.

    I’m just keeping everything crossed!

    Em : )

  5. OMG- another full request!

    You’re totally rocking, Em. (toes and fingers are crossed for ya)

  6. Hopefully, one of these times I’ll be rockin’ the agent contract.

    : )

    In the meantime, I’m so grateful that the book keeps getting chances.

    I wish you were an agent, winks.

    Em

  7. Em, Another full request. That is so exciting!! I want to jump up and down with joy! Keeping my fingers and toes crossed firmly. 🙂 All the best. Your writing is brilliant and you deserve this!

  8. Awwwwwwww, thank you, Venus. : )

    I, too, have everything crossed that I’ll find that “one” agent who gets my writing and connects with it. And, I remain very, very grateful for the requests that keep coming in and the new chances they bring.

    I’ll definitely let y’all know the second the good news comes — and, in the meantime, I’ve started my next novel. It’s the best remedy I can find to keep the hopes and dreams soaring.

    I hope your weekend is wonderful! : )

    Em

  9. Hey, you are definitely on a wild ride there, Em. I’ve got the pom poms, and am cheering madly. Don’t forget that you have already succeeded at a) completing a novel and b) facing your fears in querying agents. You rock!

  10. Thank you, Uppington.

    Received the thumbs down on the full just this morning, but, with a personal rejection that contained wonderful praise. The praise itself put a spring in my step. As my husband said, I’m getting closer. : )

    I sent out another full tonight, (easy because I already had the full together) and I have a partial to send out, also; at least, the partial will go out when I’m back out of bed from this terrible bug, and can format it to the requesting agent’s preferences. I caught something that put me in bed the last four days. I haven’t been this sick since I was a child. Strangely enough, it was just the break I needed from work and the computer.

    Thanks, as always, for your friendship and buoyant, writerly support. : ) It means more than words, and writer to writer, that’s a lot!

    Em : )

  11. You got a personal rejection with wonderful praise? Do you know what this means? You are definitely on your way, my dear. (flailing the pom poms madly about)

  12. It is pretty thrilling, but, I have to admit, I’m just straining at the bit to move to the next “level”.

    I was always so afraid I’d get feedback along the lines of my writing being klunky or grammatically inept or too telly vs. showy, etc. and etc., but I haven’t rec’d that sort of feedback at all. It’s a relief.

    I’m just down to an agent falling in love with the story, period.

    Em

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