I sent my first story to be considered for publication in a magazine when I was eight years old. It was a sweet little story about a family of bunnies. I painstakingly typed it on my mother’s manual typewriter and mailed it to a children’s magazine. I never received a response. Over the next ten years, I submitted many, many articles and stories to magazines. I think that, in all those years, I received one rejection letter. For the other submissions, I heard nothing.
In college, I studied writing – journalism. I wrote and wrote and wrote, receiving good grades on my articles and stories and papers. I thought that I would be a writer one day. Instead, I put writing on the back burner while I raised my children and then struggled to find a place for myself in the working world. I never submitted an article to a publication as an adult. Lack of time, lack of energy, fear of failure, fear of that facing the abyss of nonresponsiveness, and fear that I had nothing to offer all held me back.
My sister became a writer. With several published novels to her credit, she has overcome all of the obstacles I named above and has never let the rejection stop her from submitting articles, stories and novels for publication. Her reward for her persistence is a set of her own published novels on her bookshelf and a contract for another novel in her file.
I did not become a writer. I could never think of a way to begin. Then, one day, I somehow thought of beginning to write a blog. My first blog post contained only 164 words but those words were a step toward realizing my dream of being a writer. I quickly found that I could easily write 200 or 300 or even 500 words. I was surprised to find that people responded to my blog posts. I added “Wrie an article and submit it to a publication” to my List of 50 Things I wanted to accomplish. One day, thanks to a little push from a friend who introduced my blog to an editor, I submitted an article to Rochester Woman magazine. The editor, already familiar with my blog, responded that she loved the article and that it would be included in the December issue of the magazine.
The eight-year old girl inside me could finally rejoice. I could not even believe it, really, I kept going to the magazine’s website to see if the issue had been uploaded. Finally, there it was on page 26. My article was in the online edition of Rochester Woman magazine. Still, it did not seem quite real. The online version was nice and somewhat satisfying. When I held the actual magazine in my hands, though, that’s when I really felt like my dream had come true. I opened to my page and there it was – my name, my words, my photo, my little bio – in print.
My life was fine before this article was published, but every once in a while I would feel this gnawing sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning to pursue this unfulfilled dream. This experienced has helped me to realize how important it is for us to take steps to make our dreams come true. Reawakening this dream and seeing it come to life has given me the energy and motivation to see if I can make other dreams come true – for myself and my loved ones.
Forty years is a long time to wait for a dream to come true. Twenty years is a long time to put a dream on a shelf. Here is the good news. It is not too late for any of us to pick up an old, long-forgotten dream, dust it off and take one little step toward making it come true. Or, we can think up a new dream and begin to pursue it today. Dreams do come true.