This week we welcome Writescape alumnus, Donna Judy Curtin as she shares her writing dreams and 5 ways to actualize them. You can find other writing-related blogs by Donna at Ascribe Writers blog.
Guest blogger: Donna Judy Curtin
In Grade Two, I declared I was going to become a veterinarian and even though my personality quizzes in high school suggested I would make a better florist, my heart was set on becoming an animal doctor.
I’m nothing if not determined.
And I’m great at dreaming.
Throughout my gruelling university undergraduate courses, I kept visualizing the moment I would receive my acceptance letter to the Ontario Veterinary College. I could hear the envelope ripping, smell the glue, feel the rasp of the paper between my fingers, see the welcoming words on the page and when I was exhausted and frustrated and about ready to give it all up… I imagined a victorious jump into the air with a viscous fist pump.
This wasn’t actually how this moment occurred. I called the College to check on something and a very kind receptionist informed me, when I wasn’t expecting it, that I was listed as a member of the OVC class of 2002. I think I fell off the phone (if that’s even possible). After picking up the receiver, I remember stuttering out, “What did you say?” as the tears rolled down my cheeks.
These precious moments never happen exactly how we imagine them, but regardless, we need to keep envisioning them.
Since I started writing seriously, I’ve been picturing small successes. At first I dreamed of completing my first novel, then it was editing that novel. When I needed a break from my first story, I started writing the sequel, which led me back to edit the first novel again and again and again. Then I began to dream of completing a trilogy and started to imagine getting all three books published as a series.
Now, my new adventure is QUERYING.
This is by far the scariest thing I have ever done. It is bold, fearless and requires stripping down to bear my heart for all to see… but I know it’s time to get out there and I’ve given myself a very specific goal for this year – to find an agent who loves my story as much as I do.
In order to stay motivated, I’m going to embrace the actualization that helped me to get into Veterinary School, because there is no better time than now to have something to motivate me through the hard work.
I’m going to reach for the moon and grasp onto the stars.
- What are your writing goals?
- Can you imagine how it will look and feel when you get there?
- Have you shared these goals?
- Here’s how to get started…. 5 Ways to Actualize Your Writing Dreams
ONE – WRITE IT DOWN
Even if it’s only in your private computer, write your dreams down. Make them real. Live them.
TWO – START SMALL
Pick a fun goal. Something you can completely achieve.
One of my goals is to make the front cover of the Cargill Area News. It started out as a joke about ten years ago, but now, I want this in earnest. The Cargill Area News, locally and lovingly called the CAN, is our village newspaper. The heart and soul of the paper is the editor, Brian, this imaginative and friendly man who still publishes poetry to his now deceased love and wife. Someday, I will make the cover of the CAN as a published novelist. I can see my smiling face in black and white, holding up my book.
THREE – UPDATE YOUR DREAMS
You need to revisit your dreams often – in order to be sure they are still relevant. It won’t do to still dream about sitting on Opera’s couch for a book discussion. She’s moved on and so must you.
My other goal was to see my book on display at our local bookstore. My veterinary practice is located in a pretty small town. We don’t have an Indigo or Chapters, but we have a quality local bookseller. I had this vision of popping into the store to pick up the latest edition of The Selection Series for my daughter or the next Maze Runner for my son, and stumbling upon a desk-top display of my book with a printed sign declaring ‘OUR VERY OWN LOCAL VETERINARIAN and AUTHOR, DR. CURTIN!’
The fact is though, we all need to update our dreams occasionally and create new ones. Sadly, my local bookstore is going out of business. The owner is retiring and our town is losing this quality business.
My new dream is to someday bump into a reader purchasing my book, and then to offer to sign it.
FOUR – SHOOT FOR THE STARS
You need to dream big. Think of the best possible outcome and have some fun.
My current big dream is make a surprise visit to a book club discussing my book. It would be so much fun to be invited as an unknown guest and then part way through the night to reveal my identity by contributing to the discussion, “So, when I wrote that chapter, I actually thought it would end up going like…” and then see what happens.
FIVE – DEVISE YOUR OWN PERSONAL REWARD
Maybe it’s something you want to do with a signing bonus. Perhaps you have a nay-sayer who teased you and you can’t wait to show off your success. Regardless, set a reward and imagine the moment when you will get it.
I’ve had this special evening planned from the moment my first beta reader completed reading my first novel, first draft. How do you reward the time and effort it takes for someone to read your work when it isn’t good? I’m planning a fabulous dinner party. Starting with my high school teacher who read through my very first draft, to the writing partner who read aloud chapters with me for over a year, and many more. When I finally get a signed contract with a publisher, I’m going to pick up everyone in a big-ass limo and we’re going to go for a fancy dinner. It will be an amazing evening of laughter and shared dreams. I better get there soon, because the longer this takes and the more people that help me, the bigger the limo gets… and soon I will need a bus!
When you complete these five steps, hold them dear to your heart and then… get back to writing. I wish you every success and hope all your dreams come true.
Donna Judy Curtin
Donna Curtin practices veterinary medicine in Bruce County, Ontario, close to her poultry and cash crop farm where she lives with her husband and two children. As a complement to her veterinary career, she aspires to become a published novelist. In Dr. Curtin’s writing, animals play important characters just as often as people.