Dreams Don’t Die, They Simply Change, and That’s Okay

dreams don't die 1

One of my first childhood dreams for my future was when I was somewhere between eight and nine and just knew that I was going to be a New York Time’s Best Selling Author by the age of thirty. Needless to say that has not yet come true and I am almost forty. I spent a lot of time last year continuing work on my novels all while submitting other novels to various agents. I got a rejection letter from almost all of them (some still haven’t responded yet, which I suppose is a response in itself) but they weren’t the regular form rejection letters. They were all nice and complimentary of how well my writing is and how the story sounded intriguing yet it was not particularly what they were looking for. There were a few who even made some suggestions of certain areas of the story in which to make it a little stronger but still making sure to let me know that they thought I had great potential of getting traditionally published down the road.

I suppose that the fact that they didn’t send back something generic and formal and actually took time out of their already busy schedules to personalize my rejection a little more means something but in the end a rejection is still just that. I’m not going to lie, I was beginning to doubt myself and my writing ability just a little bit but then I decided that this year was going to be the year of no excuses and I was not going to let someone else’s approval stop me from putting my work out there. Truthfully, that I’m not further along in my career as a published novelist (and not just someone with about four or five novels just sitting completed on a flash drive) is my own fault.

My first time being published was back in 2010, and it was by a small publishing house, and if I look back now I honestly wasn’t ready for the business part of being a published novelist. I was also a little too excited and a little too naïve in thinking that this small publishing house would do the same things as a traditional publishing house, in terms of marketing and publicity. I wasn’t really knowledgeable about social media and how best to use it to market myself and when it came to promoting my own book, well I tended to shy away from putting myself out there. I know more about social media now as opposed to what I knew then and I think I am more ready now then I was then to be published.

You know they say be careful what you ask for because you just might get it and in terms of receiving something that you’re simply not ready for yet, that saying couldn’t be more true. I used to tell people that I regretted my first experience with publishing because I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know what I had gotten into when I signed with that small publishing house. It wasn’t a very successful experience and I had expected to just be able to write and let someone else handle the rest. That was misguided thinking but now those lessons that that experience taught me are priceless.

Now, because of that experience, as I get ready to reenter the arena as a published author by publishing my own work, I understand all of the work that the process will entail and while I am not yet a marketing or social media genius, I am substantially better at it then I was then and what I don’t know or understand I am prepared to research and learn. I was smart enough then to make sure that I got my rights back to my novel that was published back then in a reasonable time and I plan on republishing that novel (possibly renaming it what I wanted to name it to begin with) because I still believe in the story that lied within those pages.

We tend to waste time trying to control things that are not within our control instead of focusing on what is. We do ourselves a great disservice when we hold onto the notion that we can somehow go back and change the mistakes that we made before. Sometimes we have to learn how to let go of the dream that we started out with and grab on to the dream that has bloomed where the old one once was. Now I’m not saying that I don’t still desire to be published with a traditional publishing house but this is the year of no excuses right, so to waste time waiting for that to happen when I have ISBN #’s waiting to be used for my own novels would be pointless. The things I dreamed for myself ten or fifteen years ago aren’t really gone, they’ve just morphed into newer, bolder dreams that require me to have the courage to let what once was go and grab onto what can be now. Are you ready to let go of the dreams that didn’t survive your past and grab onto the dreams of your future?

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Who’s Still Afraid of Rejection? Oh Yeah, That Would Be Me

“Believe in yourself and in your own voice, because there will be times in this business when you will be the only one who does. Take heart from the knowledge that an author with a strong voice will often have trouble at the start of his or her career because strong, distinctive voices sometimes make editors nervous. But in the end, only the strong survive.”

~Jayne Ann Krentz 

Yes, I said it.  As much as I try to convince others not to be afraid to go after what they want for their dreams and to not always be afraid that someone is going to say no, I have not yet been able to take my own advice.  But isn’t that how it always goes?  You tell someone to go for it, don’t be afraid, go big or go home, and all of those other motivating and encouraging things you say to your friends, that you whole heartedly mean when you’re saying them, yet somehow you still can’t apply that rule of thumb to you and your life’s dreams.  

I can’t seem to move out of my own damn way.  I keep putting it on my to do lists that I have to get these query letters to these national magazines that I’ve been dying to see my writing in, or the query letters to this list of agents that I want to possibly represent me, and yet when I go to type up the letters, or even just a simple letter of introduction, I get so caught up in trying to make them perfect.  I’ll get the letters done but then when I go over them it just doesn’t scream perfection and I get worried about a rejection that hasn’t happened, and one that can’t if I don’t ever send the damn letters anywhere.  

I can’t figure out why I always do this to myself.  I know I’m not perfect and while you hear people always talking about pitching the perfect pitch and not sending imperfect query letters out, I know that all of them couldn’t have gotten it right all the time.  Their letters couldn’t have always got them a guaranteed acceptance from the publication or agent of their choice.  So why is it that I can’t get the notion of perfection out of my head?  

It’s seriously holding me back and the truth of the matter is that the most imperfect query letter is the one that never gets seen by anyone.  Next week I am going to make it my mission to get up the courage with being okay that I’m not perfect and that my letters most likely won’t be perfect, but at least they will be sent out, and at least, if they do get rejected by everyone I send them to, they were still seen. 

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

http://www.passionatewriterpublishing.com/thediary.htm

www.lulu.com/ladybugpress

10 Commandments of a Successful Writer

Today I started thinking of things that I could do to be a better, more successful writer.  Things that I am not already doing or that I am not doing enough of.  I began thinking if there were Ten Commandments for a writer what would they be.  So I compiled a list of some things that I think should be a commandment for a writer to follow, at least one that wants to be successful at it. 

  1. Write Every Day (No Matter What!)
  2. Start a blog and blog frequently, if not everyday
  3. Make your presence known on the internet.  If you don’t have one already, get a Facebook page, a Twiiter account, and a LinkedIn account.
  4. Maintain your presence on the internet by committing yourself to social networking daily
  5. Read about the Business of writing and your craft.  You can never know too much about what it is you love to do
  6. Trust your talent and your skill.  If you don’t believe in your talent, who else will
  7. Get a thick skin because there will be rejection letters, probably more than you would ever like to see, but you have to keep believing in your talent.
  8. Read consistently.  You have to be a great reader to be an even better writer.
  9. Network with other artists, not just writers
  10. Start calling yourself a writer to the rest of the world because you are one. 

Well the list probably isn’t perfect but those are definitely some things that I know that I need to work on to become a better and more successful writer.  What would you guys add to this list or better yet, what would your list read?  Until tomorrow…Always strive to be a better writer than you were yesterday! 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://writetobe.wordpress.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmetta-Carpenter/1069480310

http://www.passionatewriterpublishing.com/thediary.htm

www.lulu.com/ladybugpress