Our guest blogger, Danyelle Leafty, has been an active member of the QT community for a while now. She is a positive, generous and talented member of our forum over on the main QueryTracker.net site.
Goals by Danyelle Leafty
A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you're fast asleep...
And we all have dreams, right?
I dream that one day I will be caught up on housework. That I will be able to cook gourmet meals that everyone will not only eat, but love to eat. That I will be able to find those important papers WHEN I need them, and not a week later.
And then there are other dreams--the ones I know can come true.
One day I will be published. I will be the best mom and wife I can be, because I will be the best person I can be--and my capacity for "bestness" will change based on a whole slew of things including atmospheric pressure, and it's okay. I will have a full, happy life, no matter what I get hit with. I will celebrate. I will find joy.
But how to turn these dreams into a reality? For me, the first step is positive thinking.
If I don't believe it's going to happen, it won't. (Except for rare cases like laundry, dirty dishes, and taxes.) I have to believe that, while things may not turn out exactly how I envision them from the beginning, that they'll happen. Because not believing in your own dreams is like slamming the oven door on a delicate soufflé. There is no substitute for believing in yourself. Your family can't do it. Your friends can't do it. Your associates and neighbors can't do it.
But they can help when the storm clouds roll in and you watch the waters begin to rise. They can help plug those tiny leaks in the roof that you hadn't noticed before. They can help fill sandbags and lay them out. And if worse comes to worse, they can bring along a bucket and a boat if you need to bail or make a quick getaway.
But something that really struck me, was the need for goals.
A dream is just a wish until it's written down. Then it becomes a goal and has a chance of turning into a reality.
To be honest, my publishing goal was modest. My goal is to find an agent that I connect with who will then find a publisher that will love my project. *clears throat* And then I will have to figure out how to find an audience who will be willing to help support my book habits.
But all that changed while I was at a writing conference. I was listening to a panel of authors that were all doing very well for themselves, one of whom happened to be Aprilynne Pike. They were talking about the pros and cons of having an agent and going with a larger or smaller press.
I perked up at this point, because if the agent plan didn't pan out, I was considering going with a smaller press. And then she brought up that GOAL word. Deciding where and to whom you submit to has a lot to do not only with the industry, but with your goals.
From the outset, she wanted to be a very successful author that reached a larger audience. (I can't remember completely, but she might have mentioned something about the NYT Bestseller list.) And a small press, with that goal in mind, wouldn't work as well as finding an agent who would then submit to one of the bigger publishing houses. This also meant that she had to write to that broader audience.
I thought this was brilliant advice, and decided to follow it. I've found that having a goal to be published by one of the bigger houses and possibly make NYT Bestsellerdom changes the way I look at writing. If I want to reach a broad audience, I can't just write for myself. Make no mistake, I still write from my heart, but I do so consciously. I have a story to tell (lots of them, actually), and darn it, I want to reach the most people I can. Not because I want my head on a postage stamp, but because I believe I have something of value, and I want to share. (That, and have you seen how many awesome books have come out lately? :p)
Having this goal has also shaped how I'm approaching the agent hunting as well. Rejections, while not a barrel full of fun, don't sting the way they used to. Because my goal has changed. I'm not just wanting an agent, I'm wanting to find my agent. The one who will believe in me when nobody else (in the industry) does. An agent who will get my work, love it, and help me take it to the next level. Not just someone who likes my work enough to take a chance. I finally get the whole falling in love thing.
So when those rejections come, its more like sitting in a shoe store surrounded by shoes and tissue paper rather than sitting against the wall at prom. The rejections aren't cute boys avoiding eye contact and shuffling past at high speeds, leaving me to wonder if I used enough deodorant or if I forgot to tame the unibrow. No, it's more like trying on a shoe and finding that it doesn't fit as well as I'd hoped.
But somewhere under all that tissue paper is the one shoe. The one that will not only fit, but will work so well that I will feel as though I'm walking on clouds because I can't feel the hard ground anymore.
So, back to dreams.
Want to have your dreams come true? Then pick the ones that must come true--that you will see through to the end whether it's bitter or sweet. Believe in yourself, and find lots of people (also called friends) that can help buoy you up and believe in you when your well runs dry. Write down your dream, thus changing it from a vague wisp of wonderfulness into something that can breathe in reality. Write those goals down to make them real and to remind yourself when you need it most.
Because goals not only have the power to change your perspective, they have the power to change the world.
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We appreciate Danyelle agreeing to be our guest today. You can read more from and about Danyelle on her blog.
The QT team wishes everyone a happy and productive week.