As a child growing up in New York City in a community of artists, my dream was to be an artist as well. I studied classical voice at the FAME school in Manhattan and Mom was a classical pianist of note so I thought I would either pursue a career in music or writing since I loved to read and write. Dad was a visual artist and I saw the world through artist eyes.
But I also had another dream. To speak in front of large audiences. To inspire people young and old. I loved watching speakers and artist speak about their topics with passion. I want to not only be on the receiving end of the stage, but also on the performing end. When I sang, people would often fall in love with that voice.
Somehow, motherhood turns everything upside down and its up to you to find your path again.
I understand that changing a poopy diaper won’t get me closer to becoming a bestselling author and a valued speaker. But working on my dreams can. Every day I’m challenged to find time to work on my dreams. My mother was challenged too, but she knew she had to find a way if she wanted to make classical piano her first love. Many working mothers I know just have enough energy to do the day job and be a mother. That’s a lot, I know. When I talk about my dreams of becoming a speaker and bestselling author in my genre, many are astounded and surprised.
And when I talk about my dreams with other writers, many say they don’t have the time to write. Hmmmm…
So here’s a weekly recap of how I’ve been working on my dreams little by little to get me closer to where I want to be.
1. I retreat to the coffee shop to write my memoir, Silence: What the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Empowerment, Courage and Love. I write the truth of whose dream it was for me to leave New York City. Dad’s or Mine? After years, I’m revisiting this part of my life and when I write about myself as a 19 year old character, I feel the power of unspoken dreams that I’m now giving voice to.
2. I look for opportunities to spread my message about “Story Faith.” I’ve coined this term actually on Friday on the bus ride to my speaking gig (!) to reflect the mindset issues that get in the way when trying to express my deepest truth in writing. I spoke about my journey leaving Israel to Pittsburgh to discover my “story faith” to a bunch of sweet smart seniors of the College Club, at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, which is a landmark building.
As you can see, the venue was amazing and I brought copies of my book Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Time intending to gift them, and these sweet ladies wanted to buy all of them!
3. I reworked on some essays for a personal essay course that started yesterday, September 8th. I’m getting a hang of this personal essay writing thingie, really honing in on subjects that I live daily like the emotional whirlwinds of sending my son to a sleepaway camp for the first time or how to deal with the sibling roller coaster once my daughter was born last August. I’m studying the parenting market and realizing there are lots of possibilities.
4. I read. Read. Read. Reading to the authors in my genre connects me with my purpose. Reading the best authors make me a better writer.
5. I send queries – at least once a business day. I’m now at the point where editors are asking me for an outline and giving me the “green light” to write. Six months ago, I got my first real editorial assignment when ironically, I was on vacation in San-Diego. I pitched to the San Diego Family Magazine, and it was immediately accepted.
From that point, I started to believe in my success. On days when my faith tries me, I write a list of “evidence” in my journal to show that I am a real writer and I DO have what it takes to succeed.
You work your way out of your current circumstances. Just like I’m doing. That’s the first step. Take forward action daily. Of course visualizations and affirmations help. But 99% of the work is blood, sweat and sometimes, unhappy tears. There’s no other way around it unless you’ve got a rich benefactor, which most people don’t have.
What’s your dream? What steps are you taking towards making it come true?
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