Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pursuing Dreams

Setting goals....making pitches...getting things done....Springtime, like the New Year, seems to infuse everything with a new energy, doesn't it? The world seems to speed up.

Here in Lancaster, PA, the forsythia are about to bloom, crocuses are beaming bright, and green shoots and blossoms are everywhere on the cusp of bursting. I love this time of year!

Not surprisingly, I end up setting a lot of my novels in the springtime, that time of year when promise seems just around the corner. My May release, Fire Me!, is set in springtime Washington, DC. For those of you who live there or have visited DC in the spring, you know it's especially beautiful, with the feel of a European city in some quarters--tree canopies hanging heavy over streets, cherry blossoms floating in the air.

Springtime always seems to ask a question: what next? And that's the question my protagonist, Anne Wyatt, has to answer by the end of the novel. She starts the story thinking she's headed in one direction and faces a crossroads at the end.

In fact, she had all but abandoned the field in which she'd studied (art) and finds herself constantly questioning that decision by the evening of this one-day tale.

This got me to thinking how many of us start out on one path and end up on another. Believe it or not, I started out opera singer! I studied voice at a music conservatory and then bumped around various performing groups (including the Washington Opera, which performs in the Kennedy Center) before realizing that my true dream was writing.

I arrived at this point by asking myself a simple question -- if you won the Lottery tomorrow, what "work" would you still want to pursue? Writing novels was the answer, as clear and bright as those yellow buds outside my window.

So what vocation would you still pursue, even if you were independently wealthy? I'd love to know!


  1. Exactly! Friends are often amazed when I say that same thing... that if I won the lottery I'd still keep writing. Do what you love, and all that!!

  2. Libby, I think all true writers have the same mindset as you do: Rich or poor, the one constant is writing. I wouldn't give up writing no matter how much money I had in the bank; it's what I am/what I do. My life would be very empty without it. If I did win the lottery, perhaps one thing would change: I'd start my own company to publish other writing lifers like myself.
    Margay Leah Justice

  3. Margay, that's a terrific dream -- publishing other "writing lifers." What a great term for us!

  4. Yeah, the desire to write starts young and never gets old. I know when I'm on my deathbed, I'll still be trying to get that last bit of story down on paper before I go!

  5. I think ALL writers would be happier if they were independently wealthy. That way "work" wouldn't steal time away from the writing!

  6. Definitely writing, Libby. Although because of my college journalism advisor telling me I had no future in fiction writing, I moved into fashion merchandising, but then ended up as a corporate headhunter until I sold my first two books. So who knows where that path will take you. Still, I picked up some great character material along the way.


  7. I know precisely what you are talking about Libby. When I was 9 I knew I wanted to be a nurse - check. I have always loved it and still do. Whenever I would ask myself the lottery question my honest answer is that I would keep nursing my babies (albeit very part time!) and that I would love to open a book store! I always wanted to immerse myself in literature. Now, of course, I am doing just that in a way I never anticipated. So, the answer to the lotto question is slightly different: I would keep nursing a little bit, but would devote myself to writing like crazy.

    *Lifts a glass* Here's to the dream!

  8. OOOOh! If I won the lottery! WEll, first I'd take a round-the-world trip with my family. There are so many things I want to see and that is one of my passions.

    But, yes, I would still keep writing. I can't NOT write. And I love the idea of having a book to hold in my hands and hearing feedback from readers. I had a taste of that in the online contests I was in and it was so nice to know others "got" my screwy sense of the absurd.

    But I don't think there's any amount of money that would make the voices in my head go away. :)

  9. I'd definitely keep writing. I'm a writer, that's who I am - but I'd write from the deck of my 100-foot sailboat off the coast of Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, Spain...

  10. Thought provoking post, Libby.

    I've done/been a bunch of things over the years and I've always done what I would have done whether I was paid or not--which might explain why I've never been rich! :-)

    On the other hand, I haven't missed any meals and I have the hips to prove it. The presence or lack of money just hasn't made a lot of difference in my life.

    I've been very, very fortunate.

  11. I don't think I'd change anything. I love my day job and my "after hours" writing job. I'd probably outsource the dreaded laundry chore, however.

  12. I started as a kid that wouldn't stop telling stories, the became a mathematician. Still working on becoming a writer/storyteller again... maybe one day. At least I have a computer to help with the spelling now.