Posted by Rachelle Gardner, literary agent, on Tuesday, September 22, 2009:

Chasing Your Dreams

Over the weekend when I was at the conference, my ten-year-old had a gymnastics meet which I was bummed to miss, but Brian texted me her scores on each event, and he took video so I could see her performances. (I put one on YouTube.)

Now, if you watch my daughter doing gymnastics, you might not think it looks like anything special, particularly if the only gymnastics you’ve ever seen is in the Olympics. (Just like Little League baseball doesn’t look like much when you’re used to watching the Colorado Rockies.) She’s been quite successful competing and has won 1st place in several competitions, but there’s a good chance she’s average for her age and competition level. Nevertheless, she has Olympic dreams. She’s as passionate about gymnastics as I’ve ever been about anything in my life. She loves it and she’s driven and I’m not about to discourage her.

Part of me wishes I could give her some perspective, encourage her to dream more realistically. I don’t want her to base her whole life on a dream that has little chance of coming true. Yet, aren’t we supposed to dream big?

I would never say anything to make her think I don’t believe in her. If the Olympics aren’t in the cards, that’s for her to discover, not for me to predict. And if my daughter eventually has to deal with disappointment, then who am I to deprive her of that crucial and character-building process? Only she can figure out how to handle it. Only she can decide what new dream will replace the old one.

She works very hard, practices diligently and has excellent coaching. But there’s an element to gymastics that can’t be taught, some magical inborn talent that you either have, or you don’t. It’s the magic fairy dust factor. I’m not sure whether my daughter has it or not; I suspect she has at least a little, but I don’t know how far it will carry her. No matter how hard she works, to some extent her success is at least partially determined by what she was born with.

So that’s the way I see writing. Lots of people can do it; many are passionate and driven. Many have big dreams. Some may not work hard enough; some may not have the magic fairy dust to carry them as far as they’d like. But I don’t want to discourage people. I want to keep encouraging, keep cheering people on in their writing dreams.

Regardless of whether all your dreams will come true, this is your process. It’s your life. Whether it brings you joy or pain or the more likely combination of both, still, it’s yours. If you go through disappointment, I hope you will grow from it. If you experience heartbreak, I pray you’ll heal and be stronger. If you have triumphs and success, I hope it brings you the satisfaction you crave.

Whatever happens, however this journey goes for you, be assured you’re not on the wrong path if you are pursuing a passion and willing to work hard. Go for it. It’s all yours.

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