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.

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:

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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.

6 Productivity Thoughts for the Holidays

by Jeanne Takenaka, @JeanneTakenaka

A few years ago, my schedule and pace exhausted me. A traveling husband’s schedule, boys’ activities, Christmas concerts, preparing and mailing out our Christmas letters, wrapping gifts . . . all of it caused me to forget how to breathe deep and sleep hard. I was running on crazy/busy/empty/breathless. I literally only inhaled shallow breaths.

In writing life, I concentrated on my third story, blogged, and was trying to build a platform . . . on top of all the real-life stuff. God warned me—I was headed for health troubles.

There are times when we need a little grace. During those busy weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year? We need a lot of grace.

What should we do when we must step back from our normal writing pace, but we still want to be productive?

Never fear. There are smaller, less-time-intensive tasks we can do to move us forward during the busy holiday season and organize us for next year:

  1. Give ourselves permission to rest. Agents and editors usually take this time of year off to catch up and to focus on family and friends. Unless we’re on deadline, we should take a cue from them and give our bodies, minds, and spirits space to rejuvenate.
  2. For bloggers, it’s okay to take a break from active blogging. Most of our readers are also busy with Christmas schedules. They may not visit as often anyway. We should let our readers know what we’re doing so they don’t worry about (or forget!) us.
  3. Look at what is and isn’t working with our blogs and platforms. Is it time to update our themes? Which social media posts are drawing/not drawing attention? Check logistical things like gravatar and bios and see if they’re current.
  4. Be on the lookout for ideas to begin posting on our blogs and social media sites in January. If possible, find an idea/series that can pique your readers’ interests based on the themes you write about.
  5. For those who have tons of pictures, this can be a good time to pull out the laptop (or phone or wherever they’re stored). Delete duplicates, blurry photos, and other photos that no longer speak to us.
  6. Give ourselves permission to fully engage with family and friends. This is a special time of year. We should be intentional with our time. When we’re with loved ones, let’s love well.

Writing life should take a back seat to real life.

After that Christmas season, I made some changes—for my sanity and my family’s.

Our boys’ schedules still run us a little ragged, but taking a break from most things writing in December has lightened my spirit. Come January, I’m eager to get back to all things writing.

And, I’ve learned how to slow down and breathe more deeply.

What about you? What tips would you add for those who want to be productive but not stressed during the Christmas season?

TWEETABLES:
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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.

 

5 Tips to Defeat Fear—Avenger-Style

by Jeanne Takenaka, @jeannetakenaka

My boys are Avengers junkies. They love these movies of fearless heroes who fight crimes of global proportions and defeat overly powerful aliens. They dream of being that kind of fearless.

Sometimes I wish I was an Avenger in my writing life. Able to push through the fears I face, no matter how overwhelming they appear.

We’re regular humans who struggle with our individual fears. Maybe it’s fear of an agent’s rejection or a publishing house’s pass on our book. Or not being able to finish the book—to get that story of our hearts onto the page. Maybe it’s a fear of success.

Overcoming them demands hard work and a

5 Tips to Defeat Fear-Avenger Style

determination that we will not be defeated.

How do we work through our fears?

  1. Set our minds on the goal. The Avengers knew the stakes and the cost of failure. They determined to do the work. We must remember the vision God gave us for our writing journey. We need to make up our minds that we will push through the fear.
  2. Continue working toward the goal. Even with setbacks, the Avengers kept searching for answers and planning. For us, no matter where we are on our writing journey, we take one step forward at a time, no matter what our thoughts tell us.
  3. Gather our team. When the battle was fiercest, the Avengers teamed together and “had each others’ backs.” We need to surround ourselves with safe-place people who will encourage, speak truth to, and help us regain perspective.
  4. Set daily goals and work to meet them. The Avengers calculated the aspects of the threat and created a plan to conquer. We know the adage of how to eat an elephant. The same is true with our writing journey. We plan daily goals and work to accomplish them. Be realistic. Be determined.
  5. Above all, keep our hearts seeking after Jesus. As we are intentional in our relationship with Him, He strengthens us to face our fears.

Even the Avenger heroes faced their own fears. Each dealt with something from his or her past. Each had to answer the question: Would they allow their past fears to dictate their present actions?

We know the answer to the question for each Avenger was, “No.”

When aliens struck, they circled around and worked as a team. Their goal of saving the human race may have been a slightly higher-stake goal than most of ours.

Maybe God plans to use our words to save a heart, a relationship, or even a life. No one will ever read those words if we allow fear to have the final word.

As we walk forward on our writing paths, we answer the same question . . . will we allow our past, our fears rule our present? Let our answer be a resounding, “No.”

What about you? What tips would you add to my list about facing our fears? What’s a verse or quote that helps you face your fears?

TWEETABLES:
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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 boys who hope to one day have a dog of their own.