Monday, November 30, 2009

As Dreamers Do...

"When you wish upon a star,
makes no difference who you are,
anything your heart desires will come to you.
If your heart is in your dreams,
no request is too extreme,
when you wish upon a star as dreamers do." -- Music by Leigh Harline / Lyrics by Ned Washington

Faith is the light that brightens our darkest moments. We need faith to stay true to our vision no matter what.

I spent my wild high-school years in Orange County, Southern California. I adored Hollywood but my true home was Disneyland, the enchanted land where magical dreams come true. Walt Disney was an innovator, a pioneer and an unabashed dreamer who fueled his vision with a sense of optimism that would not be dimmed no matter how many clouds darkened the skies. We have only to consider his fantastic legacy to realize just how far we can go if we hold fast to our dreams and let faith in our destiny guide our way.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." ~~Walt Disney

Ah, courage. Yikes. It's one thing to bask in the lovely fantasy of being a best-selling author, signing books (not to mention contracts!), and quite another to scrape up the courage to tackle each phase.

The Dreaded Synopsis.
The Horror of Endless Editing.
The Revision That Would not Die.
The Curse of the Unwoven Subplot.

Each and every aspect of our budding career requires us to believe. To have faith. And to have the courage to tackle the inevitable fear that arises when those clouds roll in. We may chide ourselves for our procrastination—our innate talent for avoidance. Yet the issue often runs deeper than we realize. We need to remember that it really is scary out there. As budding authors, we're confronting the Great Unknown.
Imagine your fingers are the shaking legs of your inner self, and you're pushing, saying, "Go ahead, step off that cliff. It'll be fine. Trust me."

Of course it will be fine but our quaking fears don't know that. Yet. That's why we need to keep moving forward. We need to push ourselves a little bit further each time.

Remember the first time you rode a bike? Remember the wobble and pitch, the fear of crashing? Ah, but the terror of balancing on those thin wheels fades with repetition. The quaking panic of being a writer also dwindles the more we write. Before you know it, you’re steering through plot twists, climbing mountains and changing gears with ease!

"If you can dream it, you can do it." --Walt Disney

Anything we want to achieve, we can. That's the secret all successful people share. Action is the vehicle to make our dreams come true. However, it does no good to visualize without taking action. You can sit on your lawn all you want, visualizing cut grass. Those blades will continue to grow until you get out the mower.

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." --Walt Disney

Hah! Aye, there's the rub, eh? There's a huge difference between wanting and doing. Discipline is required. As is Focus and Determination. Those books won't write themselves. Dang it. *heh-heh*

"When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable." --Walt Disney

No half-measures. No "I sort of think that maybe I might just be able to write if the heavens open up and give me a sign and the weather cooperates and every circumstance happens just right. Maybe."

Say it. "I'm A Published Writer."

Believe it. “I Am A Published Writer.”

Then… make it happen. How? Writer's write. They persist. They push. They don't let up. Ever.

Keep writing, keep querying, keep perfecting your art. Seek out and utilize critique partners. Pay attention to the craft of every book written by the authors you love. Hold fast to your dream, keep the bright vision of your success like a beacon in the night and You Will Make It Happen.

“Somehow I can’t believe there are many heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret can be summarized in four C’s. They are: curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of these is confidence.” –Walt Disney

The four C's. This formula works quite well for writers, wouldn’t you say?

Curiosity. What might happen if a shy, awkward girl with psychic powers was cruelly tormented by high school bullies? Stephen King wondered just that and his curiosity propelled him to pen the bestselling novel, Carrie. A maddening sense of curiosity is vital for an author. Let your curious nature propel you to discover answers, truths and more questions that any reader has ever imagined.

Courage. Six hundred is the number of rejections Jack London piled up before his books found acceptance. Madeleine L’Engle was turned down twenty-nine times and Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language. Clan of the Cave Bear, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Valley of the Dolls, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, any of these books sound familiar? They were all rejected and if not for the persistence of their authors, we would never have heard of them at all.

Constancy. Be relentless in your quest. Successful writers continue to write, continue to query, continue to strive to reach their goals. There’s no room for second-guessing. Clear out any doubts that clutter your mind. When needed, seek out other writers to offer encouragement and support. Doubts can strike fear in every writer so trust me, you’re not alone. Be determined to stay true to your course no matter how the winds might blow.

The most useful of all traits to add to your writer’s toolbox is Confidence. You must believe because you are, and you will be, exactly what you believe you can be. The old saying was, "I'll believe it when I see it." Let’s rewrite that to be more realistic. “I am a success and I'll see it when I believe it."

Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it's done right.”Walt Disney

Plug away and keep the focus. We all start with a cool idea. We type feverishly until we've carved out an incredible story. Invest endless hours of editing. Only to be hit with the critiques. Back to work on the new revisions. Uh-oh, now comes the realization that a subplot needs to be expanded or doesn't work or drops off… and what the heck happened to Scruffy the dog in Chapter Three anyway???

We begin with the barest wisp of notion. Out of that tiny, almost imperceptible seed a full-grown story blossoms. Amazing. Freaking Amazing. Truly it seems impossible, when we think about it. What started out as letters became words. What began as words became a sentence. Out of the heart of our imagination sprang a tale.

“It's kind of fun to do the impossible.” –Walt Disney.

Yeah, Walt. I'm with you on that one.

Have a great week, everyone! Dare the Impossible. Dare to Dream. Even more importantly, Dare to WRITE!

See you next week!

--Chiron O’Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between the Lines.


Anonymous said...
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Ann Victor said...

Yay! No I'm ready to tackle the week and catch up. I was beginning to feel panicky because I'm behind on my research schedule for my new book, but you're right! It's more than that, it's that dreade fear of the unknown. Where is this book going to take me? Will I get it right? and a dozen other fears! But now I'm inspired and I'll just leap off the cliff and carry on making steady progress, step-by-step (and remember all 600 of Jack London's rejections!!) :)

Ann Victor said...

Sorry. early in the morning here! That should be... "NOW I'm ready..." (not "No I'm ready"). :O

Chiron said...

Hey Ann!

Yes, knowing of those six hundred rejections really spurs me on too. In my research for this essay I found so many cases of astonishingly good authors being repeatedly rejected, I knew I was in good company. *grin*

We all face similar fears. The important thing is to move forward one page at a time. Take THAT, Great Unknown!! *laughs*

Glad it helped, Ann! Always lovely to see you here.

Big smiles,

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