I recently went to the graduation of a good friend’s daughter. Something about her Salutatorian speech has stuck with me: don’t be afraid to change your dreams. This is why I love teaching. Every now and then, teenagers will have a moment of brilliance that makes me stop and think. Her statement was one of those times.
For the past ten years, I have been working toward one goal:
make a living as a writer. When I started, that meant getting a traditional
publisher. So, as I have progressed, this is my goal. I query agents. I query publishing
houses. I read rejection letter after rejection letter and believe that my time
will soon come. I just have to be patient. If you have been following this
blog, you will know I discuss a lot about what it means to be successful. As I solidify
myself in the world of adulthood, I find my teenage fantasies are slowly
becoming more realistic. But, while my definition of success has changed, the
goal has not.
Today’s publishing world is filled with more paths than I
have ever seen before (and I am still a youngster as far as experiences go).
There’s the same self-published and traditional route. But then there’s the
print-on-demand route, which seems to be the black sheep in between. But,
recently, self-published has branched into the straight to e-book author. And
the traditional route has split into smaller houses, or even independent
publishers. Depending on the group of writers, one route is held above another,
but it’s all subjective.
What I found myself debating this week was what it means to
change a dream. Does that mean giving up? I used to criticize my brother for
giving up his dream of being a graphic designer at Sports Illustrated Magazine.
In college, he would post motivational phrases on the mirror to help drive his
decisions. Then, he turned thirty. I asked him if he was still searching for
Sports Illustrated and he said no. He decided the management area is more of
what he wanted. At the time, I thought he was giving up and accepting something
else. But now, I wonder if he just changed his dream—and if that’s okay.
Because I’m analytical in my pursuits, I also wonder how
switching publishing paths would relate. Is choosing another path giving up on
a dream? Or is it adapting, changing the dream to suit a better purpose. After all,
isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over but
expecting different results? We talk about timing and luck, but does the time
come when one must try a different strategy? I still believe in my ability and
want to publish. So am I truly selling out if I switch paths? Could switching
either lead to the original goal in a different way or, perhaps, lead to
something better? I have no answers for you today, maybe in a few weeks. Just
thoughts to ponder right now.