Is There a Place for Realism in Your Writing Dreams?

Saturday, July 20, 2013
by Anil Jadhav (
Is there a place for realism in your writing dreams? No matter what your dream is--to publish a novel, to secure an agent, to write a well-read blog--you have to understand the way the business side, the realistic side, of writing works.

All writing takes creativity and imagination, whether you are a poet or a business writer. Writers are often dreamers, dreamers who have a way with words and a way to make readers see their dreams. You have to have this as a writer. You also have to be a bit optimistic and dream of your success, or the rejections that you are most likely to receive (or the bad reviews or the poor sales) can crush your soul and your creativity.

All of this is important. BUT, and this is a capital letter BUT, if your goals include publication or readers or even monetary compensation, you need to understand how the business works. How do you send out query letters? How do you drive readers to your blog? How do you submit to literary magazines? And if you don't know, how do you figure this out?

You can do any number of things: go to a writing conference, join a writing group with writers of all experience levels, read a book, visit writing blogs, subscribe to a writing magazine, or join a professional writing organization. First, before you figure out what you need to do though, you need to figure out your goals. Those goals SHOULD (oh no, another capital letter word!) affect how you go about being realistic about your career.

For example, if you are a picture book writer, you probably have a lot of creativity pouring out of you--you see images in your mind; you figure out words to match those; you imagine children and parents reading your book at bedtime. But what do you need to know to reach the goal of publication? You need to figure out who publishes books like yours and how to submit books to those publishers. You need to work on your platform during this time, too.

So, how would you figure out how to do this? Read a lot of picture books, look up the companies that publish ones like yours, join SCBWI and read their free resources, go to a picture book workshop or take a class, and join a critique group. In the middle of all your creative work, you need time for these real-life experiences to reach your goals.

Don't ever stop dreaming. Don't ever stop writing. Don't ever stop picturing yourself as having writing success. But in the middle of your dreams, make some time for the reality you need to reach your goals.

What do you dream? How do you plan to reach your dreams? 

Margo Dill is a published children's author and trying to wait patiently for her two picture books to come out within the next year or so! She teaches online courses for WOW! and has one about starting your career as a children's writer coming up on August 8, 2013. For more information about WOW! and the classes that are coming up, please see 


Renee Roberson said...

Great topic, Margo. I've finally figured out what my problem is. I have so many projects I'm interested in that I'm sort of all over the place! I'm trying to finally settle down a bit and set some real, attainable goals in the next few years. My first order of business was to join a professional membership and attend a few conferences. I've also invested more in my fiction-writing projects. I've already learned so much about the industry in the past year. It's all about finding balance. Hopefully one day I'll get there:)

Margo Dill said...

Renee: Completely agree it's about balance. I am a lot like you, Renee, and I'm so thankful that I've learned a lot at writing conferences, joined SCBWI, have an awesome critique group, and answered the ad Angela put out for WOW! :)

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