For those who may not have heard the news, this week I was thrilled to learn I was a finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest, in the mystery/suspense/thriller category.
For me, this was a turning point. I think for every aspiring writer, there comes a point where you question "the dream." Is this a pipe dream I'm pursuing--a pie-in-the-sky daydream with little hope of realization? Or is becoming an author an attainable goal? Is my writing a hobby that I dabble with, or a vocation to pursue whole-heartedly?
And that has been a tough question for me to answer.
Now, it's not that I have been treating my writing like a casual hobby--like the embroidered tablecloth my family has been working on for four generations, which will probably never be finished. I've studied and researched, and analyzed. I've joined critique groups. I've attended conferences and entered contests. I've written and re-written, and re-written again. I've embraced the criticism (eventually), deferred any praise. But my focus has been on craft, on doggedly developing my writing. And while I have spent time learning about the business of publishing and how it works, I've not spent much time looking up to see what's on the horizon.
I've not taken the time to dream.
Well, now the dream I've been afraid to dream is one step closer. Not that I'm there yet--I still have many milestones yet to cross. I'm still unagented. And I've only just begun querying my first completed novel. But the difference is that I now dare to believe that I will someday be published. Maybe this novel, maybe not, but somewhere along the line, I believe I can come up with the right project to capture the attention of an agent, then an editor (or vice versa) and achieve the dream of being a published author.
But until then, as Solomon said, "A dream comes through a multitude of business." So back to work.