When’s the last time you worked because you really wanted to? What was the last project you completed that you were really proud of? It is so easy to get caught up in jobs that just pay the bills. While working is essential for keeping finances afloat, it should not be everything.
I am at work-at-home mom who specializes in finance writing. I enjoy my job, but let’s be honest. Writing about taxes and retirement all day can leave one bored to tears. My true passion has always been to write children’s books.
Only You Can Put Power Behind Your Passions
I was so excited when the perfect idea and story for a children’s book popped into my head one late night. I quickly wrote it down and put it away. I could not get the story out of my head, even though I knew it would be nearly impossible to find a publisher for it. Agents and publishers want author/illustrator combos or celebrities or someone with a huge following. Being a good writer is not good enough on its own.
I realized that the only person who could make my dream come true was me. I couldn’t sit around and wait for that special deal to come or for an agent to magically pick up my story from the slush pile. I felt a little piece of me die every week that went by without getting a response from the agents I pitched to. I doubted myself. Maybe I am just not good enough.
The truth is that some of the most successful books and projects were ones that were originally rejected or failed. Most of us know of J.K. Rowling’s story of her humble beginnings and many rejections. She is only one of many people who was rejected initially and then went on to be successful. We can’t always trust the validity of rejections or failure.
The Day My Dream Became a Reality
My next step was to ask people their brutal, honest opinion of my story. I told people, “If it is a stupid story, tell me now. I won’t be offended, and you will be saving me a lot of time and money.” Everyone that read the story laughed at funny parts, said “aww” at the sweet parts, and said they loved it. I let them know how much was at risk if they weren’t honest, and they gave me their honest feedback.
If you have an idea in your head, bounce it off a few people who you trust. Be prepared to get the worst feedback, and don’t get offended if your idea is not well received. It is possible that your idea needs a little more time to cook in mind and imagination.
Next, I did some research and discovered several Indie writers who are creating children’s books and selling them on Amazon through Kindle. I was surprised to learn that many of them are actually successful. So I set out to do the same. I interviewed several illustrators and finally found one that just clicked with my story. It was as if she were taking a peek into my imagination when she sketched out the story.
In January, I was able to publish one of my children’s books, How to Sell Your Sister for Fun and Profit, on Amazon. I remember holding the printed book in my hand for the first time. It was so exciting and fulfilling. My dreams were now tangible.
What If I Fail?
It is so easy to hold back on your dreams for fear of failure. Failure stinks. My book has been out for six months and it would be considered a “failure” in the book world. I’ve only sold about 100 copies. I am not collecting any huge royalty checks and Oprah is not begging me to be on the cover of her magazine.
I didn’t fail myself. That might seem trite, but I accomplished something I set out to do. I am proud of what I created and will no longer have the “what ifs,” had I kept that story shoved in my nightstand drawer. I was able to sit down with my girls and read them “the story mommy wrote.” When they grow up, they will have a tangible piece of me and my passions. They will know that I pursued something I was passionate about, and they should too.
The bottom line is, stop stuffing your passion or dream project into the drawer. It will never be the perfect timing and you will never have the perfect amount of money to start – that’s just not how life seems to work. Any step forward is a step in the right direction, so take that small step today. Don’t let your life pass without fulfilling your soul’s deepest dreams and passions.