Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dream Catcher - How to Keep Your Dreams Your Own

DreamCatcherYears ago I worked with an American Indian.  She made dream catchers.  I asked what they were.  It is a hoop with stings and beads to make a web.  You hang it by your bed and it catches the bad dreams and lets the good dreams come in.
I liked the idea and I had her make me one.  It has feathers and beads.  Very ornate, very nice.  I liked the idea of catching good dreams and funneling out the bad.

The dreams of the night are nice, but the day dreams where you pick what you want to do, what you want to accomplish are even better.

A few months ago I joined a MLM group.  They were all about dreams.  Talking about joining up with them and working with them you will be able to make those dreams come true.  I bit, and started.  However, as time went by I could see I was sending good money after bad.  Once I was on board, the help I was expecting wasn’t there, the support wasn’t there.
So I opted out.  My point isn’t if the MLM was good or bad, it wasn’t a good fit for me.   I went on line and started the exit work, and a screen popped up and said something to the affect that the dreams I wanted to fulfill would not happen if I left.  Did I want to let go of my dreams?

I cried, “Foul!”  As in the movie Hook, when Hook calls out, “Bad form!”  How dare they use my dreams and the things I shared with them as a leverage point to get me to do something they wanted.  My leaving meant they would be losing money.

Another point I want to make about one of my dreams.  Stay with me here, it looks like I am about to go off on a tangent, but I’ll bring it together, I promise.

As many of you know, I am an aspiring writer.  I spent a lot of time working on my best selling high fantasy novel.  A year or so ago I thought I was ready to publish.  I went looking for an agent.  Well, at least I thought it would be a bestselling high fantasy novel.  I have learned I still have a lot to learn and a lot of work to do on my manuscript before it is ready to be my debut novel, and hopefully a best seller.

I made several mistakes, I wrote alone.  I had close family and friends read my work and tell me how great my writing was.  So I was surprised at all the rejection letters I received.  However, I was (and am) very determined to publish my book.

I ran across a wonderful website Agent Query Connect.  This is a fantastic forum full of knowledgeable writers and other writing industry insiders. Here I learned my mistakes.

180,000 word book is way too long especially for a debut novel.  Next, my book was not a standalone story, I had written over 400,000 words in three books!  No one is going to touch that!

I got educated on this web site.  I’ve learned you need critique partners.  People who are honest about your work, unlike family who think you are the next best seller.  You also need some good beta readers who can pick out plot holes, or grammar errors.

I say that because I want to relate an experience I just had and give a word of caution to the aspiring writers reading this.

Finding an agent/publisher/editor to publish your work is a very tough job.  Once someone agrees to publish your work, there is more effort to go through and several years before you hold your book in your hands.
Another route is self publishing.  It has many advantages, but there are some hidden dangers there.

So a few months ago I saw an online ad about formatting for an e-reader.  I thought that would be great so I clicked on the ad, thinking I was going to get a program that would format my ms into something I could put onto my nook.

I have printed my entire ms and bound them to look just a published book, page numbers, chapters, front and back, etc.  I love seeing what the book would look like.   So I was excited about taking it to the e-book.

However, the ad was for a publishing outfit.  They called and wanted to sign me up to publish my work.  They were persistent and persuasive.  I know my writing isn’t ready for publication.  I am in the process of rewriting my first book to make it a stand alone book.  I am not sure how well that project is going, my critique partners have given me a lot to digest on my first two chapters, and I am writing a new chapter to send to them.  It is slow going.  The publishing company called again wanting me to sign up.  The Representative was so busy selling me my dream about seeing my work in print they were not listening to me explain the technical issues and writing problems my book(s) have.  They just heard trilogy and three books, with another one written!  Lets get it signed up now!

I almost had to get rude on the phone when I said, “My manuscript is not ready for publication.”
Sure, I could send it out.  It will bomb the way it stands now.  I know that, but only because I’ve been working with some very talented people at AQC.  If I had clicked on that link a few years ago I would be a published author, but I would have ruined my reputation before I had a chance to make a positive impact.
This company was set to use my dreams against me.  I want to have a published book, but they wanted it on their timetable, not allowing me to work it on mine.

There is a time to pull the trigger on your dreams, a time to take action.  But let that be on your terms, not someone else’s.  They are your dreams.  Do not let someone else take your dreams hostage and use them to control you.

So I clicked good by to the MLM group.  The parting web pages to get out left a sour taste in my mouth.  “You signed up to fulfill your dreams, if you leave you leave your dreams behind.”

So make your own daydream catcher, and filter out those who would prey upon your dreams for their own gain.

Have you had any experiences where someone tried to hijack your dreams?


Michelle 4 Laughs said...

We all get there at our own pace. I admire that you know what you have to do and continue to seek perfection. It's never easy.

And YES for high fantasy. The best genre around!

mooderino said...

A valauable cautionary tale. Thanks for sharing it.

Moody Writing