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Following Your Dreams (Ft. Tangled gifs)

So I know I've already talked about this many times on here, but since I was kind of out of ideas on what to write for this blog, I thought this was worth sharing on here. On Instagram the other day I posted about following your dreams. Over Christmas... well it was a few weeks after Christmas, but same difference ;) my best friend and I exchanged gifts and he got me something really sweet. A dreamcatcher necklace with three Tangled pins on it and explained how it was a reminder to follow my dreams since he knows that I want to get traditionally published this year, or at least try to. I actually hadn't really thought of what I'm doing as following my dreams, but its true. The one dream I've had since I can remember was to be a published author.

Through self-publication I have been, but one of my other big dreams is to be traditionally published. But because I am so goal oriented, I've only thought of it as a goal to achieve, something to check off a list for a long time. It wasn't until the dreamcatcher necklace he got me that I realized that it is a dream and to pursue this path of publication is pursuing a dream of mine that I've had for a long time.

As I was writing up the Instagram post I started to ramble and realized that Instagram posts only give you so many words. A lot more words than Twitter, but not enough words to be able to say all I had wanted to say. And then I realized, hey, I've got a blog. I can ramble and say whatever I want on there, so here we are. What I was saying on my post was I just wanted to remind others, especially writers like me, to continue to follow their dreams, their dream of being published. Even in the midst of insecurities and doubts, don't give up because in the end its worth it.
The writing and querying process lol

Sometimes I think why am I putting so much work and effort and energy and time into this? What if nothing ever comes of it? What if I'm just doing all of this for no reason and I never get published and no one ever reads my books? After all those doubtful questions run through my mind, I then remind myself that I don't write to get published or to make money or to even have readers. I write because I can't not write. To not write drives me crazy, makes me depressed and just frustrates me and puts me in a bad mood. When I don't get to write... it's just not good. I write because I was given this gift of storytelling through words and given this drive, this need to use this gift. God didn't give this gift to me to make money or become famous. He gave me this gift because it makes me happy and to further His kingdom. To reach others through my words. And then I remind myself that it is all worth it. That I do this because I love it, it brings me true joy to get to write. But also that God has a plan for me. He has a plan for my gift and He has a future already mapped out. He knows my deepest desires and dreams better than even I do, so He's got this. I just have to trust in this time as I do pursue this dream, this desire, that He will open the doors in His timing. It may not be my timing and I'll have to accept that and be Ok with that, but His timing is perfect and He's got this.

So yes, the end game for a lot of us writers is to be traditionally published. To snag an agent and get to walk into a bookstore and see our books sitting on the shelf (how amazing would that be??), but that isn't everything. And honestly, I've been doing a lot of research because I want to know what I'm signing up for in trying to get an agent and become traditionally published, I don't think any of us writers write or put ourselves through the long and hard process of querying for the money. Unless you're like J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare or like Rick Riordan, you aren't going to become a millionaire. You aren't going to make a ton of money. Not as much as other people make in other careers. I was really surprised to hear that because that means the authors who's books are plastered all over Instagram and are raved about, don't make as much as I thought they would. All that to say, if you know all that and you still keep writing and plugging away and trying to get published? I'd say there's a pretty safe bet that you don't write or go through the process of publication, either traditionally or self-published for the fame and fortune. You do it because its a dream. It's a desire and for those like me, you just have to write. There's a need to write because it brings you real, pure joy to create worlds and people through words.

When I did that research (and actually found out most of what I just said from an author who was being super honest about the technicalities of the publishing business) it was kind of disheartening. I thought, why am I putting myself through all this, doing all this work if I do get published and don't get paid nearly enough for all the work I do? And then there's the fact that most authors have to do all of their own publicity, set up their own book tours and readings and signings and pay from their own pocket for most of it. Really the only thing publishers do that you can't do yourself is get your books in stores like Barnes and Nobles. I'm not saying all of this to be super discouraging, I'm just saying what was going through my head when I learned all of that. It was kind of discouraging to be honest.
But then I realized, I don't want to get published for any of that stuff. I want to be traditionally published because I've never tried it before and I want to branch out and try something different. I want to see my book on shelves in Barnes and Nobles. I want to reach more readers, more people. I don't know if publishing houses help with that but right now I'm having a hard time promoting my books by myself. And overall, I'm pursuing this path because its a dream that I would love to see fulfilled.

First I want to say, don't give up on your dream. If you're dream is to get an agent and get traditionally published, to see your book in stores, don't give up. No matter how many rejection letters you get, no matter how many doubts and insecurities float around in your head, don't give up because this is your dream and writing is what your meant to do! Don't let your doubts and fears get in the way of that.

And second of all, if I'm being completely honest, I had to really think about why I've decided to take this path. I think its a conversation you need to have with yourself. For me personally it was something I've had to think about for myself and talk to with God. Why have I chosen to spend 2019 getting my book ready and querying agents and publishing houses? Why am I doing this? For me, it can't be for the money. It has to be for another reason and honestly, I'm still figuring those reasons out. I know at least a few. It's a dream of mine that I want to see fulfilled. I like making goals and completing them and this is one of my goals. I plan to complete it or at least give myself enough time to try and complete it. Another reason is reaching more readers, seeing my books in store. Not having to go through the exhausting process of formatting my books on my own (that's a huge reason that I would love to be traditionally published. I hate formatting my books and it would be amazing if I could have someone do that for me). Right now, I don't think I would mind being the one in charge of writing the book and handing off all the technical stuff (even cover design) to someone else. I realized while self-publishing four books, how nice it would be to have others handle the hard, technical stuff.

This doesn't so much have to do with traditionally publishing and more just my writing in general, though it does effect the way I go about finding an agent or publishing house or both but one of the main reasons I write is to further the kingdom of God. Like I said in my last post, Fawkes has heavily inspired me to use my writing to inspire others and to show my faith through my work. Through my character's values and journeys and the themes of my stories. Because of that and because I have strict rules on the content I will or will not put into my books I'm going to have to be extra careful and picky on what agents I query.

So yeah, be like Rapunzel and chase your dreams! Leave that tower of fear and doubt and worry and just jump right in.


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