One of my writing heroes, Erma Bombeck, understood how frightening it can be to take the first steps toward pursuing a dream:
"There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, 'Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams.' Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there.
"It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, 'How good or how bad am I?' That's where courage comes in. It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else."
While I agree with Bombeck, I believe it takes more than just courage. It takes a determination to invest in yourself, to make up your mind that this is what you want, and to recognize there are things you must learn in order to achieve it. You need to put yourself in the places writers go so you can learn from them, so you can network and schmooze to make the best connections, and so you can experience what it's like to be around others with the same compulsion for stories.
Bombeck had another quote that's long been in my top 10:
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"
That's what I want. To have nothing left.
It doesn't help to know there are likely some wisecrackers around who are thinking that if that was the case, I could've died long ago.
For more information about the West Virginia Writers Conference, visit www.wvwriters.org/conference.html.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com.