I Dreamed of Being a Writer

Once upon a time, there was a girl who dreamed of being a writer.

She was captivated by words and the way the stories would dance around in her head, begging to be told. She was an only child, a lonely only child, and words were her best friends. She wanted to write books for children and adults. She wanted to write poetry and novels and articles and short stories. She wanted to teach others how to get started writing and motivate them even when they felt discouraged. She wanted to go to classrooms and libraries and writers’ conferences and talk to people about reading and writing and creativity. And most of all, she wanted to live happily ever after. But she was scared.

She didn’t know where to start. She didn’t feel smart enough or talented enough or educated enough to do any of those things. She was sure that no one would ever want to read any of her stories and that she would never see her name on a book in the library or the bookstore. Even when she finally started writing, she never, ever stopped being scared. She used to get so scared when she tried to give a speech that she would throw up ahead of time. She wrote lots of books and stories and sent them out to publishers but they all came back. She got so many rejection slips that, for a while, she considered giving up altogether.

Because she was scared, it took her a long time to build up the courage to follow her dreams. Luckily, she was more stubborn than she was scared.She spent a lot of time thinking about writing, reading about writing, and talking about writing. (She probably didn’t spend enough time actually writing.) Eventually she surrounded herself with people who supported her dreams and helped her learn her craft. She made mistakes, started over, fell down, got up, and always tried again. She hung motivational quotes all over her house. She met other authors and joined SCBWI. She went to writers’ conferences. She talked to editors and agents. She joined critique groups. And she sent her precious stories out into the publishing world.

Sometimes she got rejected. Sometimes she got published. But she always kept on writing.

She published her first book, then another. She sold a poem, then a short story. She went to work for a newspaper and learned how to write articles. In time she published more books and short stories and articles. She started to teach writing, sharing what she had learned while trying to follow her dreams. She gave writing workshops and led writing retreats. She did school visits and spoke at writing conferences and libraries and bookstores. (And she finally learned how to give speeches without throwing up.)

Once upon a time, there was a girl who dreamed of being a writer. She was captivated by words and the way the stories would dance around in her head, begging to be told. So she wrote and she wrote and she wrote.

She learned that words were the bridge to anywhere she wanted to go and anything she wanted to know. She learned that the secret, the real secret of writing, was to peel away the layers of herself and release the power of her own emotional honesty. She learned that dreams do come true—if you believe, if you work hard, and if you don’t give up.

And yes, she lived happily ever after.

Oh wait, were you looking for the moral to the story? It’s there but so many people fail to see it.

It’s not about the dream.
It’s about being willing to do the hard work to make the dream come true.

—Susan Taylor Brown