Kudos and huzzahs to my friend Janet Grimes. Janet sent me the following e-mail to update me on her "dream accountability":
From the time we first heard rumors of Tommy's job transfer, now almost three years ago, the only plans I ever had were to move wherever he ended up and get some sort of job. My resume is unique, and if I've been able to prove anything through the years, it would be that I'm a hard worker and willing to learn anything. I would soon realize, however, that these skills don't convert easily into job interviews in Detroit, Michigan.
For the first time since I was fifteen years old, I found myself without a job. This unexpected time off allowed me to go on a mission trip with my youngest daughter, Malloree. It provided time for me to be still long enough to answer the question as to what I really wanted to do with my life. At the same time, the moving process forced me to sort through boxes of stuff I would not touch for any other reason.
And it was there that I found my answers - in the keepsakes packed in forgotten boxes, in the stillness, in my heart - I still want to be a writer. That is all I ever hoped to be, but was afraid to admit it.
This is not news to those who know me best, but I suppose it was a dream that deep down, I found several excuses not to pursue. During all those years of making a living, I could dabble in it without being held accountable for any accomplishments. I could dream about it without anyone asking how I was progressing.
I attended my first Writer's Conference back in June, and have been on fire ever since. I realized that in order for the writing world to take me seriously, I must first do so myself. This is no longer just a hobby.
The e-mail then goes on to outline some of the concrete steps she has taken to pursue her writing dreams:
* She has established her own website just for her writing pursuits.
* She has accepted a position as a book reviewer for a major Christian publisher (her preferred niche).
* She has a dedicated e-mail that links to her site
* She has established a Facebook Fan page for those interested in her writing pursuits.
* She also mentions her first online byline and states that she has been asked to provide more copy as an Editorial Contributor.
This is a writer who is pursuing her dreams. She has realized that her dreams were given to her to act upon, and shares my beliefs that one day we will be held accountable for what we did on this earth to make our dreams reality.
This month, I am teaching a Writer's Workshop to over 20 creative souls at the Bridgman Public Library. I am also continuing to facilitate the Writing Practicum every Tuesday evening. I am challenging the writers in both groups to take that Next Step -- whatever that might mean -- to make their dreams of being working writers come true.
Part of making a dream a reality is accountability. Everything I challenge "my writers" to do, I do myself. I continue to send out queries and push myself to the next level up the ladder.
I hear my own advice to writers ringing in my ears: No one is more committed to your success than you are. You have been given a dream for a reason. You owe it to yourself, your dream, and you future readers, to do everything it takes to make that dream a reality.
So, here's to Janet, and to every other writer out there who refuses to rest on his or her creative laurels. Set your sights high. Then take the next step necessary to reach that prize...