In Search of 100 “No’s”

If you asked me in third grade what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you a writer.  I vividly remember being shuffled from team to team during a sentence building competition so that each team had a chance to win–I was that enamored of words.  Maybe I was a strange third-grader, but I loved words and putting them together and making stories.  I still do.  Writing has been my most consistent interest since I was little; it has always been on my mind, and I’ve created space for it in my life in one way or another since I was small.

When I was in college, one of my majors was English.  I even won an award my senior year for my work as an English major.  I dreamed of becoming published one day, yet I’ve kept my writing secret for most of my life.

Are you really chasing after your dreams long enough before giving up?
Are you really chasing after your dreams long enough before giving up?

I started this blog to have an outlet for my writing, yet I still have a strong desire to see my writing in print.  More than anything, I’d love to become an author of children’s books.  I’ve had this desire since before I had children, yet I never really pursued publication.

Why not?

I’ve asked myself this many, many times, and it all boils down to this:  fear.  I have fear of being laughed at for wanting to be a children’s author after my expensive academic degrees.  I’m afraid that if I ever did get published, no one would read my book.  Mostly, I’m afraid that I’ll be vulnerable, put myself out there, and then be told that I’m not good enough and never, ever get published.

Never ever is a very long time.

I’m tired of being afraid of something that has never happened. Because the reality is this:  it will never happen if I don’t pursue it.  I suppose that there is a small chance that after I die someone could find some of the stuff I’ve written and get my work published posthumously.  That would be nice, but I would no longer be around to enjoy it.

Publishing is changing rapidly, it is notoriously difficult to achieve nowadays in traditional publishing houses.  I could always self-publish, which is what I am doing here on my blog.  I like that tremendously–it is fast and gives almost instant gratification for my hard work.  Yet I still have book-lust, and I especially love beautiful children’s books.  I have many fond memories of being curled up with a book as a child, and I love seeing my children exploring the pages of a book.  I love cuddling them and reading to them using my silliest voice.  Although I love an e-reader for travel, I will still choose to lug around a heavy one-thousand  page hardback most of the time.

So I’ve decided to seriously pursue publishing children’s books.  I’m treating it like it is my J-O-B until it is my job!

And to make sure I don’t give up too soon, I’m setting a goal.

Here it is:  I’m going after one-hundred no’s.

If I’ve gotten one-hundred slammed doors, then I can pursue something else and sleep well at night knowing that I gave children’s publishing a good effort.

I hope that one person in those one-hundred will like my story enough to take a chance on it.  I’ll never know unless I go after it, though.

Setting a goal of how many fails you expect to get before a success can help you stay persistent in achieving your dreams.  Do you want to land a killer job?  How many resumes do you need to send out to get it?  How many contacts do you need to make?  Making a plan is important, and planning on some failures along the way can make all the difference in whether or not we persist or throw in the towel.

How many no’s should you plan for?  I think it depends on what your goal is.  Talk to people who have done something similar to your dream.  How long did it take them to get there?  How many “no’s” did they get before they got a “yes”?  This can help give you perspective and truly understand the kind of tenacity you’ll need to get where you are going.

Have you also allowed fear to keep you from pursuing your dreams? Do you think one-hundred no’s are a big enough goal?


Read on, my friend...

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