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  • Jenn Bailey

Taking big dreams seriously, and pragmatically

I’m fresh from reading Kate Angelella’s post On Dreaming Big and Why It’s Essential. It is spot on. Listen to her advice–every one of us can use it, no matter where we are in our writing journey.

What struck me so hard and made me choke up was that Kate gave us all permission to believe–in ourselves, in our work, in our dreams. That’s powerful. In this goal-oriented, “what have you got to show for it” culture dreaming can be a tough thing. I don’t’ think we often give ourselves permission. With the crush of day-to-day demands dreaming feels selfish. That’s why I felt liberated when the wise and wonderful Kate Angelella offered it up. Permission to dream. What a glorious thing.

And that is why I’m going to give you permission to do something else. I can do it too. When I graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts, they said I had, “all the rights and privileges” so there you go.

I hereby give you permission to take your dream seriously.

I mean it.

Are you finding that difficult? Do you feel that word “dream” is too unattainable? Too “pie in the sky”? Too ethereal? Fine. Make it more concrete. Call it a goal or an aim or an ambition. You’re a wordsmith. You find the right word. Just make it a serious one.

You want people to read your work? You want agents and editors to offer you representation and contracts? You want librarians and reviewers and booksellers to recommend your titles and anticipate your next manuscript? Then treat yourself, your time, and your work seriously. Treat it with the respect it deserves. There’s plenty of rejection in this industry. Don’t be the first person who says “no” to your dream.

It is going to take courage. You are going to have to take your big beautiful balloon of a dream and walk it through the thorny thicket of self-doubt. You’ll have to pursue your goal over the triple hurdles of dejection, discouragement, and downheartedness. And you’ll have to guard your ambition from the good intentions of your friends and family. They support you but don’t always know-how. “You write for kids so, not that hard, right?” “Do you make any real money at that?” “How come you’re not on Ellen?”

It’s not going to be easy. You’ll have to work for it. But you knew that. All serious dreams take serious work. And you, my friend. You have a serious dream!

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