Dreams—Tips From The Greatest Showman

by Jeanne Takenaka, @jeannetakenaka

Who has seen The Greatest Showman? Can I just say it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while? One of my favorite aspects of this movie is how Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum dreams. He kept an optimistic spirit, even when “bleak” defined his life. He infused light into the dark times.

Barnum needed to earn money to support his family, but got fired from his job. His daughter’s words kindled the dream for what would one day become his circus. He worked for his dream. He didn’t know exactly what he needed to do, so he started somewhere. He tried things. Some plans failed. Others succeeded.

P. T. Barnum kept dreaming. In the process of bringing the “misfits” of life together, he created a safe place. A place of acceptance.

His dream was not without opposition. Protestors shouted outside his building, becoming increasingly dangerous.

The thing is, Barnum persevered. He kept working toward his dream to bring smiles to peoples’ faces. He purchased an amazing home for his family.

He chose to see the possible, rather than the impossible in his situation. Even when things were at their worst, he held tightly to what he hoped to achieve.

He worked hard. He didn’t give up after a mistake or a setback. He figured out how to make it better.

He discovered what was most important. The dream was amazing. But the people who came together as a result of the dream being realized? They were what made his dream worthwhile.

How does all of this apply to us? As writers, most of us have dreams. We want our words to touch hearts. Our books to be published.

But, this road? It ain’t easy. We can take a few notes from The Greatest Showman to help us walk our paths toward fulfilling our dreams.

1. Determine to keep a positive outlook. Even when the rejections come. The contest scores tank. Remember why we write.

2. We all make mistakes. Figure out what’s not working with our writing and learn how to make it better. Talk with a mentor. Research online. Read books. We never have to stay stuck where we are.

3. Don’t fear opposition. We have an enemy who wants to defeat us. People who want to discourage us. We need to remember that God gives us our dreams. He will enable us to fulfill them in His way and time.

4. Remember there’s more to a dream being fulfilled than our words being published. Choose gratitude for those who help us along the way.

God is the Dream-Giver. His vision for our dreams may look different from our vision. We need to seek Him first. Ask Him to guide us as we work on our stories. And then walk on the path He leads us to.

What about you? If you’ve seen this movie, what did you like best about it? How do you keep your dreams alive?

Tweet: How do you keep your #dreams alive? Dreams–Tips From The Greatest Showman by @JeanneTakenaka via @NovelAcademy #writing #encouragement https://ctt.ec/i67yo+

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Jeanne Takenaka writes contemporary fiction that touches the heart. She won My Book Therapy’s Frasier award in 2014 after finaling in the contest in 2013. She was a Genesis 2015 finalist in the romance category, and she finaled in the Launching a Star Contest and the Phoenix Rattler in 2012. An active member of ACFW and My Book Therapy, Jeanne blogs about life and relationships at http://jeannetakenaka.wordpress.com. A graduate with an M.A. in education, she resides in Colorado with her husband and two exuberant boys who hope to one day have a dog of their own.

Write Like an Olympian

by Kariss Lynch, @Kariss_Lynch

It’s time for the 2018 Olympics, and with the opening ceremonies, I will be retreating to my living room as I watch a few weeks of athletes chasing their dreams amidst massive adrenaline rushes. I literally count down to the Olympics every year. I’m drawn to the stories of these individuals, and I love watching our flag raised high and the national anthem play after each of their victories. But I think what I love most about the Olympics is that on some level I relate to these athletes, maybe not in skill set but I do in drive, and I think there is something we as writers can learn from them.

  1. Discipline

It is no small feat to stand on an international stage. Before these athletes get their one or two shots to compete, they are training tirelessly, often for years leading up to the big event. That training often entails injury, early mornings, long hours, lots of pain and sweat, and maybe even discouragement. But I imagine when they stand at the top of the mountain about to ski down or grip their partner’s hand before they glide onto the ice, all the time spent is worth it. We will never see our publishing dreams come to life without hours of discipline. These are the hours no one else will ever see, and these are the hours that will shape us the most.

  1. Dreaming

I am a dreamer by nature, and I imagine many of these athletes are, as well. Making our dreams a reality requires intentionality, something these athletes do not lack. It is clear to me that many of them don’t just show up to these games to compete. They show up because they love their sport. Likewise, I will need taste victory if I fail to dream with intention and get so caught up in the discipline and task that I forget why I started this journey in the first place – because I love story.

  1. Daring

It takes daring to lead in innovation, scores, and skill in a sport. It takes a willingness to try the things others won’t, to know your body and its possibilities and limitations and push until you see victory. It takes character that races forward in spite of fear, obstacles, and insecurity. Daring embraces the challenge and perseveres. I want to be like that with my writing. I want to be the innovator, the creator, the encourager, and the challenger of the status quo. I want to know the stories God has given me and write them without fear, and I want to encourage my readers to live boldly.

I am constantly inspired by these athletes, and I want to be that source of inspiration to readers. I want to watch these games, cheer for Team USA, and then grab my computer and write like an Olympian. Who’s with me? USA! USA!

Tweet: Write like an Olympian by @Kariss_Lynch via @NovelAcademy https://ctt.ec/6jaIH+ #writing

Tweet: 3 Tips For Writers to Write Like Olympians by @Kariss_Lynch via @NovelAcademy https://ctt.ec/P203z+ #writing

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Kariss Lynch writes contemporary romance about characters with big dreams, adventurous hearts, and enduring hope. She is the author of the Heart of a Warrior series and loves to encourage her readers to have courage. In her free time, she hangs out with her family and friends, explores the great outdoors, and tries not to plot five stories at once. Connect with her at karisslynch.com, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

 

5 Tips for Keeping Your Dreams Alive After Disappointments

by Jeanne Takenaka, @jeannetakenaka

We all have friends who share their dreams coming true online. Whether they’ve been signed with an agent or gotten a book contract, these are joyful steps forward toward the fulfilling of a dream.

But what about when we take those steps and meet with . . . disappointment?

The first time I received a pass for a book I’d spent hours on, disappointment hit harder than I ever expected. I questioned if I was even meant to be a writer. And all those old lies screamed doubt across my heart. My mind went everywhere from giving up writing altogether to submitting to a different agent, to “Why in the world did I think I could write and publish a book?”

I needed to address a number of heart-issues before moving forward on this journey.

These are a few steps I’ve taken to walk through disappointments:

  • Take time to feel the disappointment . . . but don’t stay there.
  • Look at the validity of the feedback, and remember to see the positive. It’s easy to focus on the negative things that were said about these “babies’ in word form. If you’re like me, you only see the negative things that were shared, and your eyes skim past the positives that may have also been conveyed. Stop. Find the positives and remember we’re all works in progress.
  • Talk with a friend if you need to regain perspective. When I got my “‘pass” on that manuscript, I needed the encouraging words of a friend who is further along on this journey. She helped me see the big picture perspective I had been missing.
  • Take a little time and then get back at it. When we determine to keep working out our dreams, fear loses a battle.
  • Remember that God has given each of us a calling to write. He never asked us to do it alone. We need to trust Him and move forward in fulfilling it.

Achieving a dream is never as easy as we think it will be. Timing often looks different on God’s calendar than it does on ours. We will face times of disappointment and discouragement.

When we yield our dreams into His care, He will bring His vision of the dream to pass in our lives, in His way and His timing.

I’m still moving toward seeing my dreams become reality. I will face more disappointments, but I won’t walk through them alone. And this truth gives me the needed courage to keep moving forward.

What about you? What tips have helped you face disappointment and come out on the other side? What keeps you moving forward on this writing journey?

Tweetables:

Tweet: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Dreams Alive After Disappointments by @jeannetakenaka via @NovelAcademy #writing https://ctt.ec/5a651+

Tweet: What keeps you moving forward on this writing journey? @jeannetakenaka shares tips via @NovelAcademy #writing https://ctt.ec/iVKfS+

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Jeanne Takenaka writes contemporary fiction that touches the heart. She won My Book Therapy’s Frasier award in 2014 after finaling in the contest in 2013. She was a Genesis 2015 finalist in the romance category, and she finaled in the Launching a Star Contest and the Phoenix Rattler in 2012. An active member of RWA, ACFW and My Book Therapy, Jeanne blogs about life and relationships at http://jeannetakenaka.wordpress.com. A graduate with an M.A. in education, she resides in Colorado with her husband and two exuberant teenage boys who hope to one day have a dog of their own.

Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Publishing

by Connilyn Cossette, @ConniCossette 

It’s been nearly six years since I began Googling things like “How to get published” and “How to get an agent” and pretty much freaking out over the sheer volume of information those searches provided. You too may be overwhelmed by all the (sometimes conflicting) advice out there and the myriad unknowns involved on the bumpy road known as publishing. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past few years that may encourage you to keep moving forward!

  1. Rejection gets way easier over time

I learned that with every negative contest judge comment came ten positive ones, and with every scathing 1-star review came twenty glowing 5-star ones. Yes, there will those that do not like your work and those that feel it necessary to post unkind opinions, but those readers are not your target audience. Your skin will toughen and the right editor/agent/reader will connect with your work when the time is right. Take heart, remember every single author gets bad reviews, and press on.

  1. Everything is slooooooooowwwww 

In my Pollyanna outlook, I thought as soon as I received manuscript requests it would be just a few weeks before I received a response. Instead, it took months before I heard anything, months before I was signed with my agent, months before I received a contract, and then another year and a half before my first book was published. And honestly, my experience was inordinately swift. If you are heading the traditional route you must be prepared to wait! Use that time to hone your craft, dig into another story or two, and do not be discouraged. With timing and perseverance, great things can happen!

  1. Successful authors are super cool and encouraging

I went to my first conference completely in awe of “real” authors, knees knocking if I even happened to stand next to one of these “rare unicorns.” I had put successful authors on a pedestal instead of realizing that they were just like me—people who adore words, likely sitting around in their pajamas paralyzed by fears and doubts when faced with the blank page. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an author, ask for advice, or just let them know you enjoyed their work, it’ll bless both of you!

  1. Social media doesn’t have to be stressful

Social media does not have to take over your life. Pick a platform or two that you enjoy, don’t mess with the ones you don’t, and just have fun connecting with people instead of focusing on sales. Instead, spend your valuable time writing the very best book you can.

  1. It’s hard but so worth it

Sometimes this business is tough, sometimes it’s discouraging, sometimes you’ll feel like knocking your head against a wall—but if you’ve been called to it and you love writing for the sake of writing then it’s so worth the ups and downs. I can’t imagine my life any other way now. Enjoy the journey, with all its twists and turns!

Tweetables: 
Tweet: Five Things I Wish I’d Known About #Publishing by @ConniCossette via @NovelAcademy https://ctt.ec/ub39k+ #writing

Tweet: “It’s hard but so worth it.” 5 Things I wish I’d Known About #Publishing by @ConniCossette via @NovelAcademy #writing https://ctt.ec/B6zf9+

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Connilyn Cossette is the CBA best-selling author of the Out from Egypt Series with Bethany House Publishing. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for both an INSPY Award and a Christian Retailing’s Best Award. There’s not much she likes better than digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible, uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives in a little town near Dallas, Texas with her husband of twenty years and two awesome kids, who fill her days with laughter, joy, and inspiration. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.