Monday, February 22, 2010

Is aspiration the only requirement for success?
Is motivation the only underlying theme we need
for our inevitable victory?

Sometimes I think that's all it takes.
We just need to want it badly enough. Reach high and
somehow you will achieve greatness.
Other times, I think that's a load of crap that my second
grade teacher, Mrs. Courren, started telling me.
"You can do anything you set your mind to."
"Believe in yourself."
"Dream big."
And all that other bologna, these overly-encouraging
teachers shove down their ignorant students' throats.

I mean think about it. I could say that I aspire to be an Olympic
athlete. I mean, c'mon, who doesn't?
I would love to receive a gold medal in marathon runnning.
Again, who wouldnt?

But just because I want this or dream about it doesn't
exactly make this possible. A 5'1'' little white gal who averages
an 8.5 min pace and has to take 5 strides for every one of yours
isn't exactly "olympian" material.
Right? Right.

Today I got my first short story back. B. I can't think of a worse grade.
To me, B says "average, ordinary, eh." That's not exactly something
I want my teacher to be thinking after reading something I put so
much time and energy in.
So immediately following class, of course, I had a mid-college
"What-the-heck-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life" crisis.
[The best pick-me-ups I have found consist of Cane's chicken
and Glee music. Put together for best results]

I want to be a writer, an editor for a large publishing house.
I have an internship. I read all the time. I frequently practice writing.
But is that enough?
Is this aspiration, this dream all I need?

At what point do we stop "dreaming" and start "seeing"?
I think I need a strong dose of realism from time to time in order
to keep myself from wanting too much.
I don't want to be like the 8-year-old I nanny, who desperately
wants to be an NBA player. Sure, it's cute. But it's not going to
happen. I mean, take one look at him and you'd agree.

I sound a bit pessimistic, don't I?
I guess I'm just trying to put things in perspective.

Sure, I'm "working" toward my goal. I'm not just audibly saying that
it's something I want to do like my silly Olympic dream.
But, even with all this hard work, who's to say that it won't all
be in vain? Who's to say that I could work the hardest, be the
most diligent and most emphatic about wanting this to occur...
yet it still may never happen for me.

I guess the answer is to be a mixture, a "reamer" if you will.
We shouldn't stray away from our dreams, yet we should
have a proper perspective for our possibilities.
After all, what are we without dreams and goals?

I guess I just don't want to be blindsided. I don't want to look
up from my the pages of my life in 5 or 10 years and wonder
why it didn't work out the way I hoped, the way I planned.

I want to dream big, but in a realistic sphere. I want to be
a reamer.

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers
of the dream. Wandering by lone sea breakers, and sitting by desolate
streams. World losers and world forsakers, for whom the pale moon
gleams. Yet we are movers and the shakers of the world forever it seems.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Practice Makes Books?

My first story was due Monday.
Needless to say, my weekend was basically non-existent.
I sat in my red, plush sweats on my unmade bed,
stuffing wonderful Valentine's Day chocolate and Orange
Juice down my throat, staring at my computer for hours
and hours and waiting for some stroke of brilliance to occur.
You would think after all that work, all that time, effort,
and sweat - you would be at least a little pleased with
your finished product.
No sirreee.
I've decided that crafting fiction is just not my thing.
It's something I wish I could do. I wish I could pull wonderful,
fascinating worlds from my buns and cause my readers to
empathize and truly care for my characters.
But no.
This is a very difficult thing to do. And I just haven't quite
mastered it yet. I realized this weekend that I may never will.

I think writers aren't given enough credit. I mean it's one thing
to come up with an initial premise and be able to say, "Hey this
would make an awesome story." It's another thing entirely to
actually create something that people would want to read, a
real page-turner.
I guess that's somewhat obvious.

One of my dreams in life is to be on the Barnes and Noble
shelves some day. I want to write a book that people will
choose to read, flipping through the crisp, new pages,
glancing over the back cover, thinking "I can't wait to get
home so I can read this!"
That's usually how my buying-books-process goes anyway.

There's no real formula to it. I tend to gravitate to the really
pretty covers with exquiste fonts and elaborate pictures.
Or, I lean toward the most atrocious ones.
There's simply no room for "ordinary" on my reading list.
I can't decide whether I want my book to have an
awesome or hideous cover... but I guess I'm getting
ahead of myself.

Maybe someday I'll be a household name
like Nicolas Sparks or James Patterson (although let's
pray I have better technique than them).
Maybe someday people will wait up all night in front of
B&N in the freezing cold just to get their grimy hands
on my next novel. JK Rowlings and Stephanie Meyer can

Maybe, Maybe.
I guess until then I'm stuck with practicing, which can be
real hard. Writing a Novel is going to kill me in the fall.
I guess it's a good think I like what I do :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Aspiring Zealot.

My boss has graciously let me try my hand at conceptual editing this week. Since this is exactly what I want to be doing post-graduation,
I couldn't be more thrilled. It's quite the challenge, I must say. A copy-editor's mind is completely different. Polar opposite, actually.
They look for simple flaws and tediously strain to fix the grammatical inconsistencies, misspellings, punctuation squanderings, and so forth.

A conceptual editor, however, looks at the whole work. Does it flow? Is it, well, readable? Does it make sense? Do your characters lack depth,
or a legit reason for appearing in your story? Is your plot plausible within
your story's realm? Is your dialogue draining? Etc Etc Etc.

My book is about leadership, a non-fiction work. I'm thankful my first
will not be a fictional world where people and places are created and
fashioned from theauthor's mind. I'm excited for that part of editing,
but I'm not quite ready yet.

This book isn't necessarily quality writing, but I love the message.
Leaders influence. They aspire to be great and help make others great!
It's been an eye-opener, for sure.

I don't want to be someone constantly sitting on my bunzippitydodas,
always waiting for "my big break." Those that succeed and inspire others
to thrive are consistently and passionately seeking knowledge, striving to
make themselves better within their specific field of interest.
They practice. They read. They talk to people. They listen.

That's how I want to be.

With a mission, with a purpose.
Zealously seeking to make myself better and acquire more
knowledge about books, writing, editing, and the wonderful
world of publishing.

I make a point to read outside of work, outside of school.
This book has encouraged me to take this even further, challenging my
mind and breaking through various genres.

Aren't we blessed to live in a place where this is possible?
We CAN be great. We CAN achieve success. We CAN motivate others
through our example and purpose-driven life.

... We just need to get off our buns and do it.