Excuse me while I channel my inner Martin Luther King, Jr. Or perhaps my inner Claude Michel Schoenberg.
As I was pondering this month’s theme, I thought sure, I dream. I dream of being a fiction writer (face it, being a technical writer isn’t very dream-worthy). In my dream, I receive great accolades. I win awards. At one point, I dreamed of winning the Minotaur- MWA Best First Crime Novel contest for this year (that didn’t happen). And then I realized something very important.
Those were dreams. They were fantasies.
The standing accepting an Anthony, and Edgar, or an Agatha. Seeing my name on the NY Times Bestseller list. Getting that call from an agent, or editor, saying “I love this book!” Being able to say sayonara to getting up at 5:30 to go to a day job.
Those are fantasies. They are things that I hope happens. Or things like them. Because I’m not going to lie here. I want my fiction to be read. As widely as possible.
In my fantasy, I get up and send my kids off to school (in some versions, they are already gone or off to college). I make a cup of tea and some breakfast. I sit on my deck in the summer, or I kindle a fire in the winter. And I have all day to play in my imaginary world with my make-believe friends. I take a nice break for lunch. My husband is off at work or off doing whatever it is he’s doing. And around five o’clock, I call it quits and we have a nice dinner.
Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? Pretty fantastic, hey? Well, yeah. Because it’s fantasy.
The fact is, I’ve already realized the dream. I am a writer. A writer early in the stages of her publication journey, sure. I have some short fiction out there. I’ve self-published the middle-grade adventures. No bestseller lists – yet.
But I am a writer. For an hour a day – sometimes more – I get to shut out the world and put words on the page. I create stories and people. I do horribly mean things to them. I do nice things to them (eventually). I write.
A couple of weeks ago, I hand sold a book to a kid at my taekwondo school. He’s a rabid fan. Over the weekend, I got a Facebook message from an old college friend. She picked up my books for her son. He’s now a fan. And when I went to my local bookstore, the owner showed me my books, right there on the shelf by Rick Riordan.
I’m living my dream.
Yes. I still have a day job. I still have to write software manuals. Hey, it pays the bills. I know many writers who still juggle day jobs with fiction. I’m really no different (except some of them have contracts with publishers and I’m still working on that part).
So yeah. I have fantasies. I’m not quite at the point of buying that vacation home in Puerto Rico. Can’t quite get that rescue greyhound because I’m finally able to stay at home and write full-time. The fantasies are fun. Something to aspire to.
But that doesn’t mean I should forget that I am already living the dream. I am a writer.
Mary Sutton | @mary_sutton73